They both began the season as the favorites to win the MVP awards in their respective leagues, but both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Shohei Ohtani have made an even stronger claim to start the 2023 MLB season.
Ohtani, Acuña Are The Best In MLB So Far In 2023
Ohtani was always the obvious choice in the American League. He was named MVP in 2021, and came in second to Aaron Judge last season. So, due to his history and his incredible performance in the World Baseball Classic in March, Ohtani came in as the favorite in 2023.
Everything's bigger in Texas?
Great news for Ronald Acuña Jr. pic.twitter.com/cnRiCOyQVV
— MLB (@MLB) May 16, 2023
He hasn’t disappointed. Ohtani’s batting averages are up across the board, including his slugging and on base percentages. He is not blowing anyone away with his numbers at the dish, but they’re solid enough and should improve as the season progresses.
But what truly makes Ohtani an MVP threat is his ability to pitch as well. He finished 4th in AL Cy Young voting last season, and is pitching well again to start 2023. He has a 3.23 ERA and strikes out over 12 batters per 9 innings. But perhaps most importantly, the Los Angeles Angels are above .500 and just a couple of games back of the Houston Astros as it stands today.
Ohtani is currently listed as a -110 favorite to win MVP, with Aaron Judge and Vladmir Guerrero Jr. each trailing at a distant +900.
But on the other side of the MLB, Ronald Acuña Jr. may be an even bigger favorite. He is truly a five-tool player and it would be difficult for anyone to surpass him for MVP honors, barring an unfortunate injury.
Acuña (+130) is hitting for a .343 average and .433 on-base percentage, while leading the league in runs, hits, and stolen bases. He has also added 11 home runs and 27 RBIs to start the year. He leads the league in OPS and total bases as well.
Shohei Ohtani, breaking ties and breaking hearts. pic.twitter.com/ZpkDYs7QGV
— MLB (@MLB) May 15, 2023
But not only is the player impressing, but the success of the Atlanta Braves could have something to do with his favoritism for the MVP Award. They are currently 28-16, holding the best record in the National League. In fact, they are currently the odds-on favorite to win the MLB World Series (+500), barely edging out the Tampa Bay Rays (+600).
Pete Alonso and Mookie Betts are the players listed after Acuña, but they sit at a distant +1200 and +1400.
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