Early MVP Voting Revealed: Do You Agree With The Rankings??

With the second half of the 2023 Major League Baseball season set to begin, MLB.com conducted its third MVP Award poll, revealing the unanimous choices for the top contenders in each league.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels dominated the American League voting, while Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves emerged as the clear favorite in the National League.

This marks the first time in the history of AL/NL MVP awards that both leagues have unanimous winners in the same year.

The poll included the participation of 47 MLB.com reporters and analysts, who were tasked with ranking their top five AL and NL MVP candidates based on performances thus far and expectations for the remainder of the season.

The voters assigned vote points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale, with five points awarded for a first-place vote.

In the American League, Shohei Ohtani, the exceptional two-way player, secured all 47 first-place votes. Ohtani has continued to astound fans and analysts alike with his historic season.

As a hitter, he enters the second half leading the Majors with 32 home runs, a .663 slugging percentage, and a 1.050 OPS. Additionally, Ohtani has showcased his pitching prowess with a 7-4 record, a 3.32 ERA, and 132 strikeouts.

Luis Robert Jr. of the Chicago White Sox made a significant leap in the MVP poll, landing in the second spot. Robert’s power surge at the end of the first half propelled him into the top five. With 26 home runs, he sits second only to Ohtani in the AL.

The 23-year-old outfielder has already doubled his previous career high in home runs and has outperformed his combined total from the past two seasons.

Wander Franco, the 20-year-old shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays, claimed the third spot in the poll. As a key contributor to the AL’s top team, Franco has displayed remarkable skills on both sides of the field.

In the first half, he recorded 11 home runs, 28 stolen bases, and excelled as the best defensive shortstop in baseball, leading MLB in Statcast’s Outs Above Average.

Yandy Díaz, the breakout star for the Rays, garnered the fourth position in the MVP poll. His outstanding performance in the first half earned him his first career All-Star selection as the starting first baseman for the AL.

Díaz boasts an impressive .323 batting average, a .515 slugging percentage, and leads the AL with a .408 on-base percentage. Notably, he even hit a home run in the All-Star Game.

Completing the top five in the American League is Adolis García of the Texas Rangers. García, the All-Star right fielder, demonstrated his MVP-worthy contributions by belting 23 home runs and leading the Majors with 75 RBIs in the first half.

His inclusion narrowly edged out his teammate Corey Seager for the fifth spot.

In the National League, Ronald Acuña Jr., the electrifying outfielder for the Braves, commanded all 47 first-place votes. Acuña’s incredible power-speed combination has been the highlight of his season, with 21 home runs and a league-leading 41 stolen bases at the start of the second half.

His current pace projects a historic 30-home run and 70-stolen base season, which has never been achieved in MLB history.

Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers secured the second spot in the NL MVP poll. Betts closed out the first half on a high note, smashing nine home runs in his last 15 games.

He enters the second half with 26 home runs, tied for third in the Majors, behind Ohtani and Matt Olson. Betts also leads the NL with a stellar .586 slugging percentage.

Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks impressed voters and landed at number three in the MVP poll.

The 22-year-old outfielder showcased his power and speed by amassing 18 home runs and 26 stolen bases, complemented by a solid .289 batting average and a .915 OPS. Carroll, Betts, and Acuña formed the starting outfield for the NL in the All-Star Game.

Freddie Freeman, the consistent force for the Dodgers, claimed the fourth position in the NL poll.

The first baseman, who earned the starting nod in the All-Star Game, boasts a first-half performance highlighted by a .320 batting average, 17 home runs, and a Major League-leading 31 doubles, all contributing to his impressive .952 OPS.

Luis Arraez of the Miami Marlins rounded out the top five in the National League. The second baseman continues his quest to join the elite .400 club, leading the MLB batting race with an impressive .383 average at the All-Star break.

Arraez’s batting average is the highest by a qualified hitter since Nomar Garciaparra and Darin Erstad achieved similar feats in 2000. Additionally, Arraez recorded a perfect 2-for-2 performance in the All-Star Game.

The MVP poll also recognized other notable players who received votes in both leagues, including Matt Olson, Juan Soto, Sean Murphy, Fernando Tatis Jr., Pete Alonso, Elly De La Cruz, Francisco Lindor, Christian Yelich, Jorge Soler, and Nick Castellanos.

With the second half of the season underway, fans and analysts will eagerly monitor these standout performers as they vie for the prestigious MVP honors in their respective leagues.

Do you agree with the rankings?

What would you change?

 

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