Ronald Acuña is well on his way to a 40-70 season, not to mention just about any other counting stat he leads in the National League that should make him the favorite for NL MVP. Nonetheless, Acuña is pinned against Mookie Betters of the Dodgers for the award itself.
Acuña seems like the likely NL MVP winner, if only because his monumental achievements will go down in history -- no other player has recorded 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases in the same season. Writers don't like being on the wrong side of history.
Yet, there remains a decent argument against Acuña, and it speaks to what Betts has accomplished this season as well. In most years, he would be the runaway choice, as would the Braves star. But this isn't most years.
The 2023 NL MVP race is perhaps the best in quite some time. By most accounts, though, Acuña should have the edge because of how he's finished the season. Freeman, while on pace to reach his own benchmark in doubles, is no longer in the conversation. Betts has some leeway, as he spent some of this season playing in the infield by necessity, as well as the outfield. Defensively, he is more valuable than Acuña. Offensively, he's lagging behind a bit.
Who will win NL MVP, Ronald Acuña Jr. or Mookie Betts?
This award will go to Acuña, barring something unforeseen. Betts has had a great season and in just about any other year would win the award. Heck, he even has some wondering if the pair should split the award to avoid further conflict.
There has been a tie in previous seasons, such as 1979, when Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell split the award.
Considering it's been four decades since then, a draw seems unlikely. Acuña has maintained his ridiculous 40-70 pace throughout the league year. The old-school nature of some baseball journalists could put him over the top, though he can't afford to slow down, even for the final week of the season.