Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. have accomplished a remarkable feat in the world of baseball. They have both been named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of their respective leagues in unanimous fashion, a first in the history of the award. Ohtani, with his captivating two-way skills, has now won the award unanimously on two occasions, also achieving this feat in 2021. On the other hand, Acuna, with his dynamic performances, claims his first MVP title in the National League.
Shohei Ohtani’s extraordinary abilities as both a pitcher and a hitter have solidified his place in baseball history. In the 2023 season, Ohtani led the major leagues with a FanGraphs wins above replacement (WAR) of 9.0. As a hitter, he boasted an impressive slash line of .304/.412/.654 with 44 home runs and a Major League Baseball-leading OPS of 1.066. Additionally, Ohtani showcased his speed on the basepaths with 20 stolen bases. On the pitching mound, he posted a 10-5 record, a 3.14 ERA, and struck out 167 batters in 132 innings. Despite missing most of the last two months of the season due to injury, Ohtani received all 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. This recognition is a testament to his remarkable contributions to the Los Angeles Angels.
Ronald Acuna Jr. has established himself as one of the most exciting players in the game. As the Atlanta Braves’ dynamic right fielder, Acuna displayed his power and speed with 41 home runs and an NL-leading 73 stolen bases. He also led the National League in on-base percentage, OPS, hits, and runs scored. Acuna’s impressive .337 batting average trailed only Luis Arraez for the major league lead. The 25-year-old’s incredible performance at the plate solidified his first MVP win in the National League, surpassing notable contenders Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Shohei Ohtani’s journey to becoming a two-way star in Major League Baseball has been filled with challenges. Since arriving in the United States in 2017, Ohtani has battled various injuries, including Tommy John surgery and knee surgery. These setbacks limited his playing time, and he primarily served as a designated hitter. However, in 2021, Ohtani made history by excelling as both a pitcher and a hitter. His performances mirrored Babe Ruth’s legendary dual role a century ago. Ohtani’s resilience and determination have not gone unnoticed, as he now adds another MVP title to his growing list of accolades.
Ronald Acuna Jr. faced adversity in the form of a torn ACL in the middle of the 2021 season. While his Braves teammates went on to win a championship, Acuna had to watch from the dugout. The following year, he struggled to find his usual explosiveness and timing. However, Acuna dedicated himself to improving his conditioning and worked on refining his swing mechanics with the help of Fernando Tatis Sr. These efforts paid off, and Acuna returned as a more discerning hitter, consistently maintaining an OPS above .900 throughout the regular season.
Despite their individual accomplishments, both Ohtani and Acuna have encountered setbacks in their careers. Ohtani recently underwent another Tommy John surgery but remains optimistic about his recovery and plans to resume a two-way role in the future. On the other hand, Acuna has already proven himself as a force to be reckoned with, and his dedication to improvement suggests even greater success ahead. With their extraordinary talents, Ohtani and Acuna continue to redefine what is possible on the baseball field.
The unanimous selection of Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. as the Most Valuable Players of their leagues in 2023 will forever be remembered as a historic moment. Their accomplishments serve as inspiration to future generations of athletes, highlighting the extraordinary impact that one individual can have on the game of baseball. Ohtani’s dominance as a two-way player and Acuna’s redemption story make them deserving recipients of this prestigious honor. The future looks bright for these two exceptional players as they continue to leave a lasting legacy in the sport.