Atlanta Braves 2023 season review: Ronald Acuna Jr's historic campaign

Ronald Acuna Jr. had a season for the ages in 2023. Let’s take a look back at his incredible performance. 

Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Three
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Three / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Going into the 2023 season, Ronald Acuna Jr. was undoubtedly one of the best players in Major League Baseball. Many had picked him to win the National League Most Valuable Player and lead the Braves to a World Series title. A championship didn't find its way back to Atlanta but the National League Most Valuable Player trophy was. 

Even the people who chose Ronald Acuna Jr. to win NL MVP didn't expect the level of performance he showcased in 2023. Acuna put together a season we have never seen before and may never see again.

Ronald became the first player in MLB history to hit 40+ home runs and steal 70+ bases in a single season. To hit .337 with 41 home runs and 106 runs batted in from the leadoff spot is insanely impressive but to also have 73 stolen bases is just unbelievable.

He also was the first player to ever have 30 home runs and 60 RBI in a season. He reached that milestone during an exciting series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. At that point, he and Mookie Betts were equals in the MVP race.

Betts put up an impressive season but wasn't able to keep up his impressive pace at the end of the year to stay close in the MVP race. Acuna ran away with it and earned the MVP unanimously. His AL counterpart, Shohei Ohtani, was also voted unanimously as MVP. That marked the first time in MLB history that both leagues featured unanimous MVPs.

He will be entering his 7th MLB season in 2024 and still only be 26 years of age. In his first 6 seasons with Atlanta, he has been named an All-Star 4 times, won NL Rookie of the Year, three Silver Slugger Awards, MLB Player of the Year, and now National League MVP.  

These accolades are impressive for someone who has been in the league for 10+ years and Acuna has done it all before age 26. Following an ACL injury in 2021, Acuna finally seemed to be fully recovered from his devastating setback and made a big statement. He reminded all of baseball that he is one of the best if not the best in the game. 

Alex Anthopoulos and the Atlanta Braves are fortunate to have Acuna under contract for a while and will continue to build the team around the superstar center fielder. Ronald Acuna Jr. seems to have earned the title of “face of the franchise.” 

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