We are four days away from Opening Day, and the countdown continues as I highlight four potential MVP candidates for the Braves. If you missed any of the previous editions of this series, follow the links below.
- 7 things I’m most looking forward to in 2023
- 6 NL East foes I’m least excited to face
- 5 biggest questions that must be answered
Ronald Acuña Jr. (+1000)
Acuña has the best odds of any Braves player to win the MVP, and that’s how it should be. The only thing that has held the 25-year-old back is injuries. When healthy, he’s the best player in the National League. Now that Acuña is over a year removed from the ACL injury he suffered, everyone expects to see the best version of him. He showed a glimpse of what that entails yesterday with an electrifying triple and moonshot home run.
Austin Riley (+1600)
Riley’s announced himself to the league as a perennial MVP candidate, finishing inside the top seven of the NL MVP race in each of the last two seasons. I don’t think anything will change for him offensively. Riley is one of the best bats in baseball, capable of hitting over 40 homers with a .300 batting average. That will always put him in the conversation, but if he wants to finally win the award, he will have to make some substantial strides defensively.
Matt Olson (+2400)
Olson had a down 2022 for his standards, but he still recorded an OPS north of .800, mashing 34 homers and 44 doubles. It’s almost crazy to call that a down year, but that’s how much potential Olson has to be better this season. He’s a Gold Glove first baseman that boasts the ability to hit 50 homers. With the shift ban in place moving forward, Olson also stands to benefit tremendously. It wouldn’t surprise me if he hit closer to .280 after hitting just .240 a year ago. If Spring Training is indicative of anything, Olson is a dark horse candidate to win the award. He leads all major-leaguers with seven homers. Hopefully, that success carries over into April and beyond.
Michael Harris II (+4500)
If you follow the site, you know Michael Harris is my favorite bet on the board for the NL MVP. I don’t think he has the best shot of anyone to win it, but at 45/1, those are odds are too juicy. I’ve already placed a few hundred dollars on it. Some are expecting Harris to experience regression in year two, but I don’t see it. There are few weaknesses in his game, and he will constantly rack up WAR because of his ability on defense. Harris is a legit 40/40 threat that should be considered the favorite to win the Gold Glove. I love his chances of being in the conversation at the end of the season.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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