One of my favorite things to say is that Ronald Acuna Jr. is your favorite player’s favorite player.
All of the kids running around Little League this spring won’t be imitating Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, or Shohei Ohtani. They’ll be pounding their chest, euro stepping around third base, and mimicking Ronald Acuna Jr. because he’s the most exciting player in baseball.
He hits bombs, steals bases, and has a cannon for an arm. What’s not to love? He’s royalty in South America, especially in Venezuela, and is arguably the face of baseball right now after winning his first MVP.
I say arguably because we’ve never seen something like Ohtani, who also has an entire country behind him. He’s probably the most popular player in the world and will only grow in popularity now that he’ll be playing for the Dodgers on the biggest stage the sport has to offer.
Regardless of who you prefer, the Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. is one of the three most recognizable faces in the sport, but MLB Network doesn’t see it that way. In a list of the top 5 faces in baseball, the reigning MVP came in fifth behind Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, and Shohei Ohtani.
5. Ronald Acuña Jr.
4. Bryce Harper
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 27, 2023
I love Bryce Harper. He’s my favorite player outside the city of Atlanta, but Ronald Acuna Jr. was the top vote-getter of the NL All-Stars this year and last year. Moreover, nobody’s jersey is sold more than Acuna’s. That right there tells you he’s more popular than Harper. Moreover, Acuna just won the Players Choice Award, so his own peers feel the same way.
As for Mike Trout, as great of a player as he is, he’s been the least marketed superstar in sports… maybe ever. Causal NFL, NBA, and NHL fans have no idea who Mike Trout is. It’s a crime that Major League Baseball hasn’t done a better job of making him a household name; it doesn’t help that he’s played with the Angels.
I won’t argue with Judge or Ohtani because the former is the most popular player on the sport’s most popular team. Pinstripes are iconic, and Judge is 7 feet tall. He’s pretty recognizable.
We talk more about this atrocious list on the latest episode of SportsTalkATL. Check out the YouTube video below!
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire