Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuña unanimously wins NL MVP Award

Courtesy Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves

Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Braves unanimously won the NL MVP Award, marking the first time in BBWAA voting for Most Valuable Player dating to 1931 that the winners in both leagues were unanimous selections.

Acuna is the eighth unanimous winner in the NL, joining Orlando Cepeda (1967), Mike Schmidt (1980), Jeff Bagwell (1994), Ken Caminiti (1996), Barry Bonds (2002), Albert Pujols (2009) and Bryce Harper (2015). There have been 12 unanimous winners in the American League, including this year’s MVP, Shohei Ohtani, the first player to win unanimously twice (also in 2021).

Acuna is the 19th former NL Rookie of the Year winner (2018 ) to go on to win an MVP Award. There have been 12 American League Rookie of the Year winners who also were MVPs, including Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Fred Lynn (1975), the only players to win both awards in the same season. Included in those lists are two players who won the awards in alternate leagues: Frank Robinson (NL Rookie of the Year in 1956, AL MVP in 1966 in addition to NL MVP in 1961) and Dick Allen (NL Rookie of the Year in 1964, AL MVP in 1972).

Others to win both awards in the NL: Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Andre Dawson, Jeff Bagwell, Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Ryan Braun, Buster Posey, Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant and Cody Bellinger. In addition to Suzuki and Lynn, winners of both awards in the AL were Thurman Munson, Rod Carew, Cal Ripken Jr.,Jose Canseco, Dustin Pedroia, Justin Verlander, Mike Trout, Jose Abreu, Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge.

This marks the eighth time a Braves player has been honored. The others were two-time winner Dale Murphy (1982-83), Bob Elliott (1947), Henry Aaron (1957), Terry Pendleton (1991), Chipper Jones (1999) and Freddie Freeman (2020).

Acuna’s election increases to 14 the amount of times a right fielder has won the NL award. The others were Stan Musial and Bryce Harper twice apiece, Chuck Klein, Frank Robinson, Henry Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Dave Parker, Andre Dawson, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa and Giancarlo Stanton. A right fielder has won in the AL 11 times. 

Acuna is the first player born in Venezuela to win the NL award. Two other Venezuelan-born players were winners in the AL, Miguel Cabrera (2012-13) and Jose Altuve (2017).

This is the first time in MVP voting in either league that the winner received all the first-place votes and the runner-up got all the second-place votes. Betts, who was the AL MVP in 2018, finished second in MVP voting for the third time, matching Mickey Mantle (1960-61, 1964) for the second most runner-up finishes. Mantle also won three times. Betts ran second in the AL in 2016 and in the NL in 2020. He is the only player to win an MVP in one league and finish second in the other, which he has now done twice. The record for second-place MVP finishes is four shared by Stan Musial (1949-51, 1957), Ted Williams (1941-42, 1947, 1957), Albert Pujols (2002-03, 2006, 2010) and Mike Trout (2012-13, 2015, 2018). Musial, Pujols and Trout also won the award three times each and Williams twice.

Acuna, Betts, Freeman, Olson and Carroll were listed on each ballot.

Ballots, submitted before the start of the postseason, were cast by two writers in each league city. They are tabulated on a system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th.

2023 NL MVP

Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves30420
Mookie Betts, Dodgers30270
Freddie Freeman, Dodgers1713227
Matt Olson, Braves1317223
Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks20631165
Juan Soto, Padres4104161106
Austin Riley, Braves23453468
Luis Arraez, Marlins16226567
Francisco Lindor, Mets1662152
Cody Bellinger, Cubs12423549
William Contreras, Brewers11333139
Bryce Harper, Phillies36336
Blake Snell, Padres11216
Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres15
Ha-Seong Kim, Padres55
Ozzie Albies, Braves24
Logan Webb, Giants13
Pete Alonso, Mets13
Marcell Ozuna, Braves12
Devin Williams, Brewers12
Dansby Swanson, Cubs22
Kyle Schwarber, Phillies22
Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks11
Christian Walker, Diamondbacks11
TJ Friedl, Reds11
Nick Castellanos, Phillies11

View individual ballots on separate page