Ronald Acuna Jr., having secured the prestigious title of first-half MVP, now faces a fierce challenge for the National League MVP award at the season’s close. The Braves outfielder finds himself in a heated competition with two formidable Dodgers players, both eager to claim their first career Most Valuable Player accolade.
As the baseball season unfolds, Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts are making a relentless push to close the gap in the National League MVP race, as reported by MLB.com. In a recent poll conducted by multiple MLB.com writers, Acuna emerged as the favored NL MVP choice. However, the writers acknowledge that the lead he holds over the two Dodgers contenders is gradually shrinking, intensifying the competition as each day passes.
Acuna’s current trajectory places him on the path to achieving an impressive 40 home run/40 stolen base season. Should he achieve this feat, he would join the exclusive ranks of players who have achieved a 40/40 season—a distinction only attained by a select few, the last being Alfonso Soriano in 2006, a season Soriano secured the MVP title.
Following an outstanding week that earned him the NL Player of the Week accolade, Freeman has surged into second place in the MVP race. The Dodgers’ first baseman boasts an impressive .500 batting average and two home runs in the past week, catapulting his season batting average to .339 and OPS to 1.013.
Freeman is not only excelling with his bat but also showcasing his speed on the basepaths. The 33-year-old has notched a career-high in stolen bases, reaching a commendable 16 steals.
Leading the NL in OPS, ranking third in RBI, and holding second place in batting average, Freeman’s performance has been consistently remarkable. Yet, Acuna maintains an edge in both home runs and on-base percentage, setting the stage for an intense MVP showdown.
While Freeman poses a significant threat to Acuna’s lead, he is not the sole Dodger in the MVP conversation. Mookie Betts is delivering one of the standout seasons of his career, reminiscent of his MVP-winning campaign in the American League in 2018.
Betts has already smashed 31 home runs this season, ranking third in the NL and achieving a personal career high. He currently secures fourth place in OPS and slugging percentage—a testament to his exceptional hitting prowess.
Beyond his remarkable batting performance, Betts has demonstrated his versatility in the field. Transitioning from right field to the middle infield this season, Betts has seamlessly embraced the roles of shortstop and second baseman. His impressive 43-game stint in the infield boasts a fielding percentage of .968, highlighting his adaptability and immense value to the Dodgers’ lineup.
While Acuna’s substantial lead may seem unassailable, the intense rivalry and skill demonstrated by the Dodgers’ Freeman and Betts hint at a potential upset in the MVP race, making the conclusion of this baseball season all the more exhilarating.