The 2023 Players Choice awards were last night, and Ronald Acuña Jr. now has some new hardware for his trophy case, winning Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player in the National League.
In a couple of weeks, Acuña will also be able to add NL MVP to his resumé.
There was some unexpected controversy in the NL MVP race heading into September after Mookie Betts went on a torrid stretch for the Dodgers out west. However, Acuña put the race to rest with a historic September in which he recorded a 1.111 OPS with 11 homers and 11 steals, becoming the first ever player to hit 40+ homers with 70+ steals.
Bigger bases or not, it is one of the most impressive feats in MLB history. No player prior to Acuña had even reached the 40/50 mark.
However, what’s equally as impressive was Acuña’s remarkable consistency throughout the season. He lowered his strikeout rate from 23.6% in 2022 all the way to 11.8% this year. That’s almost unheard of. From April 10th to the end of the season, Acuña never had a batting average below .320 and he never had an OPS below .950. He’s deserving of all the recognition and the first of what most expect to be many MVP awards.
Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire