There were no surprises during the Baseball Writers Association of America’s announcement of the 2023 American League and National League Most Valuable Player Award winners on Thursday.
As expected, Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, and Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. were both unanimously selected as the AL and NL MVP, respectively.
Even though none of their players took home MLB’s top individual prize, the Los Angeles Dodgers accomplished something that hasn’t been done in nearly 50 years.
Outfielder/infielder Mookie Betts and first baseman Freddie Freeman finished second and third in the NL MVP voting, giving the Dodgers two players in the top three for MVP for the first time since 1974.
Betts received all 30 second-place votes, and Freeman received 17 third-place votes and 13 fourth-place votes. Braves’ first baseman Matt Olson, who ironically was acquired to replace Freeman in Atlanta, received 13 third-place votes and 17 fourth-place votes.
Together, the Braves and Dodgers, the two teams with the two best records in the National League this season, accounted four all four of the top votes for MVP on the ballot.
In any other year, Betts likely would have taken home the award. The Dodgers’ slugger hit .307 with a career-high 39 home runs, 40 doubles, and 126 runs scored. He also led the majors with 107 RBI from the leadoff spot. Betts received a Silver Slugger Award earlier in the week.
Freeman led the majors in doubles with 59, shattering the Dodgers franchise record in the process. He hit .331 with 29 home runs, 23 stolen bases and 102 RBI, with 131 runs scored, also a franchise record. He also led the league in extra-base hits with 90.
If not for Acuña’s historic season that saw him record the first ever 40-plus homer, and 70-plus stolen bases season, Betts or Freeman would have likely won the award. Acuña Jr. also hit .337 with 106 RBI, and 149 runs scored.
Betts, who won the AL MVP Award in 2018, finished second in the voting for the third time in his career. He also finished second in 2016, and to his current teammate Freeman in 2020.
Freeman, who as we mentioned won the award in 2020, has finished in the top five before. In addition to finishing in third-place this season, he finished in fourth-place in 2018 and 2022, and in fifth place in 2013.
Below is the entirety of the voting results as released by the BBWAA.
Source: NBC Los Angeles