Ronald Acuña could be a dark horse to win the NL MVP in 2023. Which other Braves players could be dark horse candidates for the award?
Last season, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña recovered a lot faster than many people had initially thought. Acuña suffered a knee injury in 2021, but was still able to play in 119 games for the Braves in 2022.
Still, the three-time All-Star looked like a shadow of his former self, posting a .764 OPS with just 15 home runs. Before tearing his ACL in 2021, Acuña had already smacked 24 round trippers and owned an .990 OPS in just 82 games.
Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña could be a dark horse MVP candidate.
Bryce Harper, who won the NL MVP Award in 2021, will likely begin the 2023 season on the IL (elbow). But last year’s MVP Paul Goldschmidt, his teammate Nolan Arenado, and NL MVP runner-up Manny Machado will all garner favorable consideration for the award heading into the upcoming season.
This may take the spotlight off Acuña to begin the 2023 season, but if the 25-year-old has his way, it won’t be like that for very long. After enduring a season after recovering from a serious knee injury, Acuña will enter spring training healthy.
A healthy Acuña, batting atop the Atlanta Braves lineup, will be trouble for every opposing pitcher who toes the rubber. With the likes of Michael Harris, Matt Olson, and Ozzie Albies also in the Braves batting order, Acuña will have plenty of protection up and down the lineup.
Prior to last season, Ronald Acuña posted a slash line of .276/.380/.549 with 79 home runs and 182 RBIs from 2019-2021. Those numbers, combined with Acuña’s drive to return to the pinnacle of MLB stardom may see him make a run for the NL MVP in 2023.