The Baseball Writers Association of America didn’t have a hard time selecting the American League and National League Most Valuable Players for the 2023 Major League Baseball season. After all was said and done, they chose both Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. as unanimous MVPs.

Ohtani won his second AL MVP award in three years. He could have been the second Major League player to win three straight MVPs if he didn’t miss out last year. It’s tough to argue against his numbers because he has been a threat to opponents in both hitting and pitching.

The Japanese sensation finished the 2023 MLB regular season with a .304 batting average and an AL-leading 44 home runs. He also led the majors in slugging percentage (.654) and OPS (1.066). His 325 total bases lead all American League players.

Meanwhile, Ohtani had a 3.14 earned run average in 132 innings pitched. He posted a 10-5 record with 167 strikeouts and a shutout in 23 games. These numbers led to his third MLB All-Star nod and second Silver Slugger Award.

Shohei Ohtani’s victory marks the seventh time an Angels player won the AL MVP award. Mike Trout did it thrice (2014,2016, 2019), Vladimir Guerrero earned the honor in 2004, and Don Baylor was the league’s best player in 1979.

After Ohtani’s 420 points, the Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager is a distant second in the AL MVP voting with 264 points. His teammate, Marcus Semien, finished third with 216 points, while the Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez came in fourth with 197 points.

With Ohtani capping off another marvelous season, his next baseball destination will be the burning question during the ongoing free agency.

Conversely, Ronald Acuña Jr. became the third Venezuelan-born player to win an MLB MVP award, following Miguel Cabrera and Jose Altuve. He has been a sensational talent for the Atlanta Braves this season, leading the majors in runs (149), hits (217), and stolen bases (73).

The Braves outfielder outclassed all players in on-base percentage (.416) and total bases (383). He also led the National League in plate appearances (735), at-bats (643), and OPS (1.012). Like Ohtani, Acuña is also an All-Star and a Silver Slugger winner.

Aside from those feats, he became the first player in MLB history to have at least 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases in a season. He is in a league of his own because the 13 other players who had at least 35 home runs this year went past 21 stolen bases.

Acuña has been included in the NL MVP voting four times in his six-year career. He finished 12th in 2018 and 2020, and fifth in 2019. His victory is the eighth time a Braves player became MVP. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman finished second and third in the NL MVP voting, respectively.

-Lance Fernandez