AP evaluation: Acuña vs. Betts showdown for NL MVP highlights MLB’s award races because the season winds down

MLB

David Brandt of the Related Press analyzes each participant award race this season, one in all which has a Crimson Sox participant “within the combine.”

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr.
Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. is without doubt one of the favorites to win this 12 months’s MVP award. Matt Slocum/AP Photograph

Ronald Acuña Jr. has the type of numbers that make the younger Atlanta Braves star a no-doubter for the Nationwide League MVP award.

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Then once more, so does Dodgers standout Mookie Betts and his teammate, Freddie Freeman.

It’s getting near the postseason for Main League Baseball, which additionally means it’s near award season. A few of the races are tighter than others, and it seems the NL MVP race is a very epic chase.

Acuña has been the favourite for months. He’s the catalyst for a strong Braves offense that leads the large leagues by scoring almost six runs per recreation. The 25-year-old outfielder even created his very personal membership this season, changing into the one and solely participant in MLB historical past with at the least 30 homers and 60 stolen bases.

Who may beat that?

Nicely, Betts is actually attempting. The 2018 AL MVP has in some way put himself into the dialogue with a stellar second half that has propelled the Dodgers to the highest of the NL West. He’s batting .311 with 37 doubles, 39 homers, 103 RBIs and 11 stolen bases — all whereas transferring between proper area, second base and even shortstop.

If superior metrics are your factor, Betts has a 7.9 Wins Above Alternative whereas Acuña is at 7.3, in keeping with FanGraphs.

Then there’s Freeman, the 2020 NL MVP, who’s batting .339 with 55 doubles, 26 homers, 93 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.

NL MVP

The favourite: Acuña Jr.

Within the combine: Betts, Freeman, Matt Olson (Braves).

The race: It nonetheless seems like Acuña is a large favourite due to a mix of velocity and energy that’s by no means been seen within the massive leagues. Betts and Freeman are additionally poised to obtain loads of love from voters. And let’s take a minute to understand Olson, a 51-homer first baseman who has been a pressure all season.

AL MVP

The favourite: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels.

Within the combine: Corey Seager (Rangers), Marcus Semien (Rangers), Kyle Tucker (Astros).

The race: Ohtani’s probably obtained this one wrapped up. His two-way prowess was derailed by a torn elbow ligament in August, however for 5 months, he handled baseball followers to one of the vital spectacular performances in MLB historical past. Seager and Semien have been implausible for a Rangers staff that’s vastly improved however backsliding in September. Tucker has emerged as an under-the-radar star for the defending World Sequence champ.

NL Cy Younger

The favourite: Blake Snell, San Diego Padres.

Within the combine: Zac Gallen (Diamondbacks), Justin Steele (Cubs), Spencer Strider (Braves).

The race: This one remains to be up for grabs within the season’s last weeks. Snell in all probability has one of the best general numbers, however he’ll be harm by the truth that the Padres have underachieved this season. Gallen lately pitched a shutout in opposition to the Cubs, serving to his case, however he was knocked round by the Mets on Wednesday. Talking of the Cubs, Steele has come out of nowhere to be the ace for the shocking playoff contenders. Strider’s ERA has creeped upward over the previous month, however it’s laborious to disregard these 250 strikeouts.

AL Cy Younger

The favourite: Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees.

Within the combine: Luis Castillo (Mariners), Sonny Grey (Twins).

The race: The Yankees have been an enormous disappointment this season, however it’s not Cole’s fault. The veteran right-hander has a 13-4 report, 2.79 ERA and 204 strikeouts. Castillo has been a key cog for the Mariners, who’ve made an unlikely cost up the standings since they have been sellers on the commerce deadline.

NL Rookie of the Yr

The favourite: Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks.

Within the combine: Spencer Steer (Reds), Kodai Senga (Mets), Matt McLain (Reds).

The race: Carroll has slowed somewhat within the second half, however he’s nonetheless hit 24 homers and stole 47 bases, serving to the Diamondbacks keep within the playoff race all 12 months. Steer, McClain and Elly De La Cruz are amongst a number of younger Reds who’ve made an instantaneous impression within the massive leagues. At 30 years outdated, Senga isn’t a basic rookie, however has been among the many vibrant spots in a tricky season for the Mets.

AL Rookie of the Yr

The favourite: Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles.

Within the combine: Josh Jung (Rangers), Triston Casas (Crimson Sox), Tanner Bibee (Guardians).

The race: Henderson’s clearly the favourite, significantly after Jung was sidelined with an harm in August. The Orioles shortstop has helped flip the franchise right into a powerhouse. He’s hit 25 homers, all whereas offering stellar protection at shortstop and third base.


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