There are just two months left in the 2023 MLB regular season. The playoff race is set to heat up, and the list of potential candidates for the 2023 NL MVP has narrowed. So, which players should be considered the favorites for the award? Let’s take a look at our top five.
5. Luis Arraez
While Luis Arraez‘s average has slipped to just .366 — still 22 points ahead of the player who’s second in the NL in batting average — the Marlins second baseman has proved to be highly valuable to Miami in his first season with the team. Arraez is in the top ten of the National League in bWAR (4.3) and OBP (.411).
4. Mookie Betts
A dual threat that can impact the game with his glove or his bat, Mookie Betts is fourth in the NL in total bases (249), third in in total bWAR (5.5), and third in home runs (31). The star infielder/outfielder is primed for at least a top-ten finish in the NL MVP voting for the third time in four seasons.
3. Matt Olson
Do you know how good Matt Olson has been since June 1? From June 1-August 11, the Braves first baseman hit .299/.394/.665 with 23 home runs — the most in the NL over that span — and a league-leading 59 RBI. Olson may not have a shot at the Triple Crown, but it’s highly possible that he ends 2023 with the league lead in home runs and runs batted in.
2. Freddie Freeman
Three seasons after Freddie Freeman won the NL MVP, the Dodgers first baseman has played at an MVP-caliber level and put himself in the conversation to win a second. The star infielder entered the day on August 12 tied for the league leads in hits (158) with Arraez, the highest on-base percentage in the Majors (.420), and the highest OPS (1.017). It’s going to be hard to pry the award from the man in the top slot, but Freeman’s making a strong push.
1. Ronald Acuña Jr.
Ronald Acuña Jr. might not get to the 40-40 plateau, the 25-year-old is primed to be the first to get at least 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in a single season. Acuña Jr.’s been an force at the plate and on the base paths. As of August 12, the star outfielder was second in the NL in OPS (1.000), offensive bWAR (5.9), and first in stolen bases (53).
Freeman and fellow Brave Matt Olson have made this race interesting in recent weeks. Nonetheless, Acuña Jr. is the clear favorite to win the NL MVP.
Note: This list is as of August 12. It will be updated throughout the year.