Our Esquina’s MLB Player of the Year: Ronald Acuña Jr
Ronald Acuña Jr. edges Juan Soto and Julio Rodriguez
Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. had one of the best seasons a Major League Baseball player could aspire to have.
He made history as the first player in baseball history to post 160 career home runs and 160 stolen bases at the age of 25 or younger. He also established a new statistical club, the 40-70 club, with at least 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases in a single season.
Now Ronald Acuña Jr. has another award to add to his 2023 National League MVP Award and his 2023 National League Hank Aaron Award. The kid from La Guaira, Venezuela, is Our Esquina’s 2023 MLB Player of the Year.
He edged out the Padres’ Juan Soto and the Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez for the award from Our Esquina, which amplifies Latino voices and stories in sports.
The four-time All-Star batted .337/.416/.596 with 41 home runs, 106 RBIs and a 1.012 OPS. Ronald Acuña Jr. also finished with a 8.2 bWAR. Acuña Jr. also led MLB in runs (149), hits (217), stolen bases (73), on-base percentage (.416) and total bases (383).
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Ronald Acuña Jr. won his third Silver Slugger. He was also unanimously selected as the 2023 NL MVP by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, edging out Mookie Betts. He also received All-MLB First-Team honors.
It will be difficult for La Bestia to top off his 2023 campaign. If there’s one person who could do it, though, it’s Acuna Jr.
Runner-up Juan Soto
All eyes will be on Juan Soto and the New York Yankees next year as he shuffles his way to The Bronx.
In 2023, the native of Santo Domingo batted .275/.410/.519 with 156 hits, 32 doubles, 35 home runs, 109 RBIs and a 158 OPS+.
Soto played all 162 games and led the NL with 132 walks. Moreover, he collected his fourth Silver Slugger and finished sixth in the NL MVP voting.
Look out for Soto Pacheco as he tries to make his mark in the American League.
Runner-up Julio Rodriguez
Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez has already established himself as a superstar. In his sophomore year, Rodriguez finished with 32 home runs, 103 RBIs, 37 stolen bases and a 5.3 WAR, while batting .275/.333/.485.
The Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic, native became the fourth player in MLB history to join the 30-30 club at age 22 or younger. He was also the second player in Mariners franchise history in the 30-30 club. He joined Alex Rodriguez (42 homers/46 stolen bases in 1998) on Seattle’s 30-30 club.
Julio Rodriguez will celebrate his 23rd birthday on Dec. 29. The J-Rod show will continue to live on in 2024.
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