Congratulations to Ronald Acuña Jr. and Shohei Ohtani on profitable the MVP Awards this 12 months, an achievement that can be connected to their names for the remainder of their lives. Each autograph they signal — heck, each examine they signal — they’ll put an “MVP” under their identify and nobody would blame them. That is Ohtani’s second MVP, nevertheless it’s Acuña’s first, assuring that the Braves outfielder, who has been talked about as being an MVP candidate since he was within the Minors, will finish his profession with a minimum of one. Although the best way he’s going, there are most likely going to be some extra.
Acuña’s win takes him off a powerful however nonetheless considerably ignominious checklist: one of the best gamers in baseball who’ve but to win an MVP. There are some nice gamers, Corridor of Famers, who by no means obtained one: Derek Jeter, Tony Gwynn, Ozzie Smith, Al Kaline, Eddie Murray, Mike Piazza. You will be an all-timer and never win one, however you’d nonetheless quite win one.
Within the wake of Acuña’s victory, right here’s a have a look at the eight finest energetic gamers who’ve but to win an MVP … however nonetheless have an opportunity to take action. Gamers are listed alphabetically by final identify.
Arenado took a step again defensively in 2023 — his Gold Glove streak lastly ended at 10 — however he obtained higher because the 12 months went alongside and his offensive numbers ultimately labored themselves nearer to their profession norms. The Cardinals can be gearing as much as contend once more in ’24 after a depressing ’23, and Arenado is central to the whole lot they’ll be making an attempt to do. If he has a famous person 12 months and the crew recovers, he’ll be extensively credited for serving to make it occur. You do surprise if he missed his alternative in ’22, although, when his teammate Paul Goldschmidt beat him out and received his first MVP.
In any regular 12 months, Vlad Jr. would have received in 2021. Don’t forget how supernova he went that 12 months. He hit 48 homers and led the league in runs, whole bases, on-base proportion and OPS. It was the type of 12 months we’d all been ready for from Vlad Jr., and it was simply his misfortune that he occurred to do it on the identical time Shohei Ohtani was having his first unbelievable season on the plate and on the mound (Corey Seager felt that ache this 12 months). The issue for Vlad Jr. is that his final two seasons haven’t fairly matched up with that ’21 breakthrough. The excellent news is that he is solely 24 years outdated, which implies he’s going to have lots extra possibilities … and that he’s solely going to get higher.
It’s not ridiculous to place Lindor right here. He was among the finest gamers in baseball by WAR this previous season and actually has been for some time. The explanation Lindor doesn’t really feel like a perpetual MVP candidate is partly due to how his profession began in New York. Lindor’s excellence can also be constructed on being glorious in all phases of the sport, versus being the type of prodigious slugger who MVP voters are inclined to gravitate towards. If the Mets have a comeback season this 12 months or subsequent, Lindor will certainly be in the midst of it — and deserve loads of credit score. Having turned 30 earlier this month, he’s nonetheless younger sufficient that he may very well be constructing a Corridor of Fame résumé earlier than you recognize it.
Machado’s unbelievable 2022 season, one of the best of his profession and the fruits of what we’ve all been hoping for since we first noticed him as a young person, obtained him all the best way to second place in voting, falling simply quick to Paul Goldschmidt. He took a step again in ’23, and his crew took a fair larger one. You may’t blame Machado for that, however you do go searching this crew and ponder whether Fernando Tatis Jr. is extra prone to win one earlier than Machado … and surprise the identical about Juan Soto — if Soto is nonetheless in San Diego, anyway.
At this level, it’s clichéd and apparent to level out that Ramírez is underrated and a little bit forgotten in Cleveland. It is the case yearly and apparently would be the case eternally shifting ahead (We nonetheless insist giving him a universally accepted nickname would do him a world of fine). However he retains placing collectively unbelievable 12 months after unbelievable 12 months. In hindsight, 2020 may need been his finest likelihood.
Seager bumped into the identical downside as Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: having a transcendent season on the identical time Shohei Ohtani was having an unprecedented one. Seager can take solace in the truth that he has received two World Sequence MVPs, which is a fairly unique membership, all advised.
He can take much more solace in the truth that he would possibly simply be the favourite to win the American League MVP heading into 2024. In any case, Ohtani received’t be pitching subsequent 12 months, that means Seager will solely must compete with Ohtani on the plate (and Ohtani would possibly find yourself taking part in within the NL, in addition). And if Seager can keep wholesome all 12 months and hit like he did all through ’23, he may be one of many few guys who can completely match Ohtani in that regard. Seager is a particular participant. We’ve seen it a number of Octobers now. An MVP positive seems prefer it’s one thing that’s coming quickly for him.
Marcus Semien, 2B, Rangers
Greatest end: third place, 2019, ’21, ’23
Semien, amazingly, simply pulled off his third third-place end in MVP voting; he’s mainly simply placing one up each different 12 months at this level. The important thing to Semien’s persistence is his consistency and sturdiness. He has performed practically day-after-day for a number of years now and is the type of man you plug into your lineup and know that he’s going to present you a terrific likelihood to win day-after-day. His profession numbers aren’t fairly as glowing as you would possibly suppose with these three top-three MVP finishes, however he’s obtained loads of time to get these larger, too. Does he have a consolidation 12 months when he’s at his finest begin to end, sufficient to win this award? It may be robust. However we’ll go forward and pencil him in for third place in 2025 simply in case.
Juan Soto, OF, Padres
Greatest end: 2nd place, 2021
First off, now we have to determine the place Soto’s going to be taking part in subsequent 12 months. (And in 2025, for that matter). However, for sure, Soto is the type of famous person who’s going to finish up profitable certainly one of these — or extra — earlier than his time in baseball is over. MVP voting is commonly about context, and that context could make it laborious to interrupt by means of if you’re on the identical crew as three different gamers who contemplate themselves MVP contenders similar to you. We’ll see the place he finally ends up, nevertheless it’s going to be tough to discover a place the place he’s not immediately one of the best participant on the crew.