Ronald Acuna Jr. appeared to be the obvious favorite to win the National League MVP early in the season. Then Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts made things interesting with a scorching month of August. At one point, Betts even surpassed the Atlanta Braves star as the NL MVP favorite. Acuna Jr. recently became the fifth player in MLB history to record a 40-40 season though, likely cementing his status as the 2023 NL MVP. Betts recently discussed the NL MVP race as the season winds down.
“I don't know man,” Betts responded after being asked where he thinks he stands in the MVP race, per SportsNet LA. “MVP's cool, but it's kind of irrelevant. We play to win the World Series. The individual goals… they're really cool. Some people play for that. There's nothing wrong with that at all. But me, I just play because I want to win. I play good, cool, if I don't, obviously I would love to play well but as long as we win, that's all I care about.
“To answer your question, I don't know man. There are so many guys that have been really good. No argument for what Acuna's been doing.”
Dodgers: Mookie Betts focused on winning World Series
Ronald Acuna Jr. is having a spectacular season. His 40-40 effort is truly incredible. Betts' campaign cannot be overlooked, however.
The 2018 MVP is currently slashing .309/.410/.590 with a 1.000 OPS and 39 home runs. Betts would probably win the MVP in almost any other season. And there still is a chance he receives the award in 2023, but it doesn't appear to be likely with Acuna Jr.'s late-season surge.
Still, Mookie Betts has helped the Dodgers win the NL West once again. LA is confident heading into the postseason with Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Clayton Kershaw leading the charge. The Dodgers have their sights set on winning the World Series, but the Braves will present a major obstacle.
MVP or not, Betts may end up having a chance to face Acuna Jr. in the NLCS, if both teams get there of course.