The Braves won another extra-inning thriller on Tuesday night against the Phillies. As a result, the magic number to clinch the NL East for the sixth straight season is down to two.
Even though the magic number is two, Atlanta could clinch tomorrow since the Phillies are the second-place team. Spencer Strider, the league leader in wins, will look to put the icing on the cake. Two is also the number of MVP candidates the Braves have in 2023.
We sound like a broken record at this point but Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson continue to make history. Deservingly, both of these superstars are a part of the National League MVP discussion. Acuna is currently the front-runner but Olson is making his case stronger. Let's take a deeper look at the numbers to see who should be crowned MVP.
1. Ronald Acuna Jr.
Ronald Acuna Jr. will most likely take the NL MVP award at the end of the season and rightfully so. What he has done this year is indescribable. Acuna became the first player ever to record a 30+ homer and 60+ stolen base season in the history of the game. He has decided that feat is not good enough.
Acuna continues to hit balls out of the park and swipe bags every chance he gets. He is well on his way to posting a 40+ homer, 100+ RBI, and 70+ stolen base season from the leadoff spot. After the Braves win on Tuesday, Acuna is now hitting .333 with 37 HR, 97 RBIs, and 65 stolen bases. These are numbers no one can argue with.
2. Matt Olson
After seeing Acuna's numbers, it may be surprising that anyone else is even in this conversation, especially a teammate. However, Matt Olson currently leads all of the MLB in home runs (51) and RBIs (128). The way the game of baseball is played today, power numbers like this are heavily valued. Maybe more so than they were even ten years ago.
Olson is now only one swing away from breaking the Atlanta Braves franchise record for home runs in a single season. He has increased his batting average to .281 as well. Had it not been for a lower average early in the season, we could be talking about a potential Triple Crown for Olson.