First-ever AL/NL unanimous MVP pairing? Ohtani is special, Acuña is great

First-ever AL/NL unanimous MVP pairing? Ohtani is special, Acuña is great

There have been 19 unanimous MVPs since 1931, when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) began selecting both leagues’ regular-season MVPs in the same way it does today: by a point system with voting by reporters representing affiliated cities. “Unanimous” means that a player received a first-place vote from all voting reporters.

Here’s a list of the unanimous MVPs 1935 Detroit Hank Greenberg, 1936 San Francisco Carl Hubbell, 1953 Cleveland Al Rosen, 1956 Yankees Mickey Mantle, 1966 Baltimore Frank Robinson, 1967 St. Louis Orlando Cepeda, 1968 Detroit Denny McClain, 1973 Oakland Reggie Jackson, 1980 Philadelphia Mike Schmidt, 1988 Oakland Jose Canseco, 1993 White Sox Frank Thomas, 1994 Houston Jeff Bagwell, 1996 San Diego Ken Caminiti, 1997 Seattle Ken Griffey Jr, 2002 San Francisco Barry Bonds, 2009 St. Louis Albert Pujols, 2014 Angels Mike Trout, 2015 Washington Bryce Harper, and 2021 Angels Shohei Ohtani.

Looking at this list, you’ll notice that there hasn’t been a single season where both leagues have had a unanimous MVP.

This season, however, both the AL and NL are poised to have an MVP who is the unanimous opinion of the voting journalists. The main contenders are Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels and Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves.

Ohtani celebrates his sixth-inning home run against the Houston Astros on April 14. USATODAYYonline

Acuña Jr. celebrates after hitting his 40th home run of the season in the first inning against Washington on March 23. USATODAYYonline
Ohtani was an early favorite for unanimous MVP from midway through the season. He was previously named unanimous MVP in 2021. His numbers this season are as good if not better than they were two years ago. In 135 games as a hitter, he batted .304 (151-for-497) with 44 home runs, 95 RBI, 102 runs scored, and a 1.066 OPS, and in 23 games as a pitcher, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA, 167 strikeouts, and a .182 batting average in 132 innings pitched.

As a hitter in 2021, he batted .257 (138-for-537) with 46 home runs, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and a .965 OPS, and as a pitcher, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130⅓ innings over 23 games.

In terms of bWAR, he posted 4.9 as a hitter, 4.1 as a pitcher, and 8.9 combined in 2021. That was first in both leagues combined. This year, he’s at 6.0 as a hitter, 4.1 as a pitcher, and 10.1 overall. His overall numbers are better than in 2021. However, there may be a “feeling” among reporters that he’s not as explosive and fresh as he was in 2021. However, the objective metrics don’t make the unanimous MVP look bad at all. First and foremost, there is no player in the AL who can match Ohtani’s performance despite having his season cut short by elbow surgery.

Ohtani had elbow surgery and will play only as a hitter next season. AFPYonhap
Oh, how I love Aquino Jr. He’s cemented his place in Major League Baseball history. He hit his 40th home run of the season against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, becoming the first player in history to hit 40 homers and drive in 60 runs (68 RBI).

Acuña was more emotional than any other home run after pulling a six-pitch, 80.5-mph body slider from Patrick Corbin over the left field fence in the first inning. He reached the 30-homer, 60-RBI mark (62 at the time) the previous day against the Los Angeles Dodgers, 토토사이트also a major league first. He added 10 more homers in 22 days to reach 40-60.

A 40-homer, 40-double season is also rare. He is the fifth player in history to do so, joining Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics in 1988 (42 homers, 40 doubles), Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 1996 (42 homers, 40 doubles), Alex Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners in 1998 (42 homers, 46 doubles) and Alfonso Soriano of the Washington Nationals in 2006 (46 homers, 41 doubles).

Acuña Jr. hits a two-run double in the third inning against Washington on Wednesday. AFP
Add to that two stolen bases, and you’ve got 40-70. As valuable as 40-60 is, Aquino’s offensive metrics are unrivaled. He leads both leagues in five categories: runs (143), hits (209), stolen bases, slugging percentage (0.415), and total bases (371). His OPS (1.013) leads the NL.

Acuña’s closest rival is Mookie Betts of the Dodgers. Betts is just behind Acuña in almost every category, but his bWAR of 8.1 is ahead of Acuña’s (8.0). MVP voting isn’t based on one or two records. It’s about the overall impression you make throughout the season. No journalist is going to take Aquino’s record lightly.

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