Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The inevitable became reality on Thursday as Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. officially took home the American and National League MVP awards, respectively.
Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports
THIS IS THE FIRST SEASON WHERE BOTH MVPS WERE UNANIMOUS
Ohtani won his second AL MVP award in three seasons after earning the unanimous honor. He became the only player in MLB history to win an MVP award unanimously twice. Ohtani beat out finalists Corey Seager and Marcus Semien of the Texas Rangers.
Ryan Divish @RyanDivish
Julio Rodriguez finished fourth in the AL MVP voting. He finished seventh as a rookie in 2022.
JP Crawford was on multiple ballots while Cal Raleigh was also ballot. pic.twitter.com/vyLZDQ7O1n
FOX Sports: MLB @MLBONFOX
Shohei Ohtani received all 30 first place votes for his second MVP award 🙌 pic.twitter.com/1l80pEmsM0
The prolific two-way player led all of baseball with a 1.066 OPS while pacing the AL with 44 home runs and a .412 OBP. He also added 95 RBI, 20 stolen bases and a .304 batting average for the Los Angeles Angels.
On the mound, the 29-year-old went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA (1.06 WHIP) in 23 starts. He also struck out 167 batters in 132.0 innings.
Ohtani ended up finishing with an MLB-high 10.0 WAR (wins above replacement), per Baseball-Reference. Ohtani also led MLB in WAR during his last MVP season in 2021.
In between his MVP seasons, Ohtani finished second in the AL MVP voting behind New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge and fourth in the AL Cy Young race in 2022.
For much of the season, Ohtani appeared to be the clear MVP winner, although Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager had a great year in his own right en route to leading his team to its first-ever World Series crown. Seager led the American League with 42 doubles despite missing 43 games (hamstring, right thumb injuries). He also finished with 33 home runs, 96 RBI and a 1.013 OPS.
But Ohtani was the AL’s clear superstar this year.
Unanimous MVP awards on a sub-.500 team, all-time:
Shohei Ohtani: 2
All other MLB/NBA/NFL/NHL players combined: 0 pic.twitter.com/cg4FmH3OWP
Ben Verlander @BenVerlander
SHOHEI OHTANI IS THE GREATEST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL!!
Absolutely insane how Shohei Ohtani would’ve won AL MVP even if he didn’t pitch pic.twitter.com/BPwne0s68Y
your annual reminder that shohei ohtani should’ve three-peated for MVP
Jared Carrabis @Jared_Carrabis
This Shohei Ohtani guy might actually be something.
The only question is where he’ll play moving forward given his newfound status as a free agent.
Like Ohtani, Acuña was a unanimous winner of the award.
FOX Sports: MLB @MLBONFOX
Ronald Acuña Jr. unanimously wins the NL MVP award after receiving all 30 first place votes pic.twitter.com/y8uF8ZYgiW
In his sixth season with the Atlanta Braves, Acuña became just the fifth-ever player to hit 40 home runs and swipe 40 bases in one season. However, he also became the lone member of the 40-50, 40-60 and then 40-70 clubs as well when he finished the year with 71 stolen bases alongside his 41 home runs (106 RBI).
Acuña led MLB with 149 runs, 217 hits, 73 stolen bases, a .416 OBP and 383 total bases. His 1.012 OPS paced the NL. Acuña also earned his fourth All-Star appearance and third Silver Slugger award.
Thanks in part to his efforts, the Braves finished with an MLB-high 104 regular-season victories.
This is Acuña’s first-ever MVP award. He previously finished top 12 in 2018, 2019 and 2020, including a fifth-place result in 2019.
For much of the 2023 campaign, this appeared to be a two-player race for MVP between Acuña and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, who led the NL with an 8.3 WAR. Betts was tremendous for the 100-win Dodgers, smacking 39 home runs (107 RBI) to go with 126 runs, a .307 batting average and .987 OPS.
Betts would be the unquestioned NL MVP in other years, but Acuña’s historic season ultimately gave him the nod. Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman was the other MVP finalist.
Underdog MLB @Underdog__MLB
Ronald Acuña voted 2023 National League MVP.
Acuña created the following single-season HR/SB clubs this year:
Jeff Schultz @JeffSchultzATL
OFFICIAL: Ronald Acuña Jr. is 2023 NL MVP.
Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman worthy candidates but Acuña’s numbers were absurd: .337, 1.012 OPS, 41 HR, 106 RBI, 73 stolen bases.
He’s eighth MVP in franchise history, joining Evers, Elliott, Aaron, Murphy, Pendleton, Chipper, Freeman
Brent Maguire @bmags94
Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. are the first pair of players to unanimously win their respective league’s MVP awards in the same season
Justin Toscano @JustinCToscano
Breaking: Ronald Acuña Jr. is the 2023 National League MVP. The vote was unanimous.
This is Acuña’s first such award, but with his talent, it might not be his last. A fitting end to a historic season.
Acuña has also enjoyed a tremendous comeback after suffering a torn ACL in 2021 that ended his campaign. Acuña was on fire that season with 24 home runs in just 82 games. Two years later, he’s gotten back to that peak form and then some.