Who should be this year’s National League MVP.
It’s a two-horse race between Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The experts are split. However, recent performances have favored Aquino.
On Nov. 11 (ET), Aquino hit a game-winning RBI single in a 5-2 home win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Truiste Park.안전놀이터
With the two-game sweep of the three-game series against Pittsburgh, Atlanta improved to 93-49 (.655) and clinched the first postseason berth, meaning the third NL wild card, regardless of the rest of the season’s results. They have a 19.5-game lead over the fourth wild card, the Miami Marlins (74-69).
Trailing 1-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Acuña singled up the middle with runners on first and second to bring home both runners and make it a 3-2 game. He took a 96.4-mph two-seam sinker from Pittsburgh right-hander Colin Selby and smashed it over the center field fence at 110.1 mph, hitting the bottom of the fence.
The pitch was so fast and the replay was so quick, Acuña had to run all the way to second base and back to first. The throw to second was short, but both runners crossed the plate with time to spare.
At this point, Truiste Park was filled with Atlanta fans chanting “MVP” all around. The fans were chanting that Acuña was the NL MVP. After the game, Acuña said, “Every time I hear a chant like that, I get goosebumps. Luckily, I had a good at-bat when I heard it.”
After going 1-for-3 with a double, two RBIs, one run scored and one walk, Aquino is batting .336 (193-for-575) with 35 home runs, 93 RBIs, 129 runs scored, 64 doubles, a .417 on-base percentage, a .584 slugging percentage and a 1.001 OPS. He leads both leagues in hits, runs scored, slugging percentage, and stolen bases, and is second in the NL in batting average, tied for fifth in home runs, sixth in RBI, third in on-base percentage, and second in OPS.
To top it all off, he became the first player in major league history to reach 30 home runs and 60 steals, and with 20 games left in the season, 40 home runs and 70 steals are possible. Considering both his individual accomplishments and team performance, Acuña is the clear MPV favorite.
Betts is batting .312 (162-for-520) with 38 home runs, 99 RBI, 118 runs scored, 11 doubles, a .410 slugging percentage, a .604 on-base percentage, and a 1.014 OPS. He leads Aquino in batting average, OPS, home runs, and RBIs. His team contributions are just as good as Acuña Jr.’s.
Specifically, Betts has a bWAR of 8.0 and an fWAR of 7.9, both of which are ahead of Acuña (7.1-7.2). At home at Dodger Stadium, there are chants of “MVP!” for Betts, but he recently took two days off with a foot injury that slowed him down. He returned to the lineup at first base against the Kansas City Royals and went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
Betts recently told the Orange County Register, “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have MVP aspirations. It’s an honor that’s always in the back of my mind. But I’m not thinking about it. “But I want to go to the World Series with my teammates and help us win one more championship,” Betts told the Orange County Register.
In MLB.com’s MVP mock poll released on Sept. 9, Acuña received 28 first-place votes out of 54 participants, while Betts received 26. It’s a close race.
Meanwhile, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said, “Congratulations to our players. We finally have a seat at the table (postseason),” said Atlanta head coach Brian Snitker, “but this is not the ultimate goal we set when we left training camp. We need to bring home a division title.” Snitker has led Atlanta to fall ball for six straight years since taking over in 2018.