Unbelievable: Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. made his decision of resigning from the team followin the events of……..

Unbelievable: Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. made his decision of resigning from the team followin the events of……..

Dodgers Star Favored Over Ronald Acuña Jr for 2024 NL Most Valuable Player?

The Atlanta Braves should be even better in 2024, but MLB thinks there should be a different MVP favorite for the National League either way

The Atlanta Braves are hoping for more of the same from their stars this upcoming season.

The offense was one of the greatest in baseball history last season, leading the league in multiple different run-scoring scenarios and finishing both tied for the single season home run record and with the highest team slugging percentage of all time. Matt Olson led the league in home runs, with 54, and Ronald Acuña Jr won the NL MVP on the heels of only the 5th 40/40 season in MLB history.

But even if the players “run it back” and repeat those same performances in 2024, MLB.com doesn’t think Acuña should be favored for the NL MVP award, instead naming Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers as this season’s favorite.

Despite projection systems forecasting Ronald to lead the league in homers, being poised to make MLB history if he can put up yet another 30/50 season, and doing all this despite actually being unlucky last season, Betts is their choice to be the favorite for NL MVP entering the season because he’s moving to second base.

Writing MLB.com’s “MVP Candidates in 2024” article, the nod as MVP favorite is given to Betts because of his “elite” offense and how it profiles from a middle infield spot as compared to an outfield spot.

And sure enough, the bar is lower at second base than right field for offense, with second basemen putting up a combined .256/.323/.402 line last season, with 527 homers and 505 stolen bases. By comparison, right fielders had a similar .250/.322/.432 slashline but with significantly more power production, hitting 734 homers with 513 stolen bases.

And so WAR calculations will give more credit to the offense of a second baseman than a right fielder, which works against Ronald and for Mookie. Betts was worth 8.3 WAR per Baseball Reference for 2023, while Ronald was in second place with 8.2, with Mookie dividing his time between right field (107 games), second base (70 games), and shortstop (16 games).

(These totals don’t add up to 162 games because Mookie commonly wasn’t allowed to stay at either shortstop or second base late in games, with Betts finishing only 6 games at shortstop and 56 at second base. He was either defensively switched back to the outfield or even pinch-hit for entirely.)

The good news is, if playing second base ends up actually mattering to the MVP race in 2024, Ronald’s prepared.

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