MLB Awards: AL and NL MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year rankings after All-Star Game

Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (7) swings during the eighth inning against the PIrates during a game at Chase Field in Phoenix on July 8, 2023.
Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (7) swings during the eighth inning against the PIrates during a game at Chase Field in Phoenix on July 8, 2023. /
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Atlanta Braves
May 17, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) high fives manager Brian Snitker (43) following a game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports /

National League MVP

1. Ronald Acuña Jr.
2023 stats: 89 G, .331/.408/.582 (164 wRC+), 4 DRS, -4 OAA, 5.4 BsR, 4.8 fWAR

Ronald Acuña Jr.’s 2023 is off to a video game-like start. Acuña is batting .331 (second in MLB) while on pace to potentially hit 40 homers and maybe, just maybe, steal 80 bases. What Acuña is doing shouldn’t humanly be possible.

If not for tearing his ACL in the middle of the 2021 season, Acuña could be well on his way to winning his second MVP. The only flaw in Acunã’s game has been his outfield play, but with the fifth-best arm in baseball by FanGraphs’ ARM metric, he makes up for his inability to effectively get to the ball.

As long as he stays healthy, Acuña should be a lock to win the NL MVP.

2. Sean Murphy
2023 stats: 67 G, .306/.400/.599 (166 wRC+), 6 DRS, 5.1 FRM, -3.8 BsR, 3.9 fWAR

Because of how great Acuña and the Atlanta Braves have been as a team, Sean Murphy might be the most overlooked player in the majors. While Acuña is having an unbelievable season, it’s actually Sean Murphy that leads the NL in wRC+ (minimum 250 PAs) with a 166 wRC+.

While Murphy has proved to be one of the best offensive catchers in MLB in his time in Oakland, he’s taken his game to a new level in Atlanta. Murphy (along with Will Smith) is on pace to be the first catcher in the Statcast Era to have at least a 140 wRC+ in a single season (minimum 400 PAs). If he keeps up his current pace, Murphy will dominate this leaderboard.

What has made Murphy elite throughout his career, though, is his defense (specifically framing) behind the plate. Murphy’s 5.1 FRM is tied for the second-most while his 5 CFR (Baseball Savant’s catching metric) is the fifth-most among qualified catchers.

When taking into consideration that Murphy is one of the best offensive and defensive players in the league as a catcher, it skyrockets him to a new level of valuable. Barring another trip to the Injured List, Murphy could put his 2023 into elite company.

3. Mookie Betts
2023 stats: 86 G, .276/.379/.586 (157 wRC+), ) DRS, 0 OAA, 2.6 BsR, 4.2 fWAR

At 30 years old, Mookie Betts is having the most powerful season of his career. With 26 home runs, Betts is on track for his first 40+ home run season, and his .309 ISO (third-highest in the NL) is the best of his career.

Among qualified players, Betts’ 157 wRC+ is the second-best in the NL and it’s individually the second-best of his career behind his MVP 2018 campaign.

Although Betts has regressed to league average defensively in the outfield, he’s spelled in at second base and shortstop, helping the Dodgers put out their best nine players on a given day.

While peak Betts’ elite defense would probably propel him into a tight race with Acuña for MVP, he’s on pace to finish top-five in MVP voting for the third time in his four-year Dodger career.

Honorable mentions: Corbin Carroll, Freddie Freeman