MLB REPORT: Why Acuña and Snitker should earn BBWAA Awards…

Why Acuña, Snitker should earn BBWAA Awards.

Ronald Acuna Jr. and Brian Snitker named award finalists

Baseball’s major awards will be announced on a nightly basis this week. In other words, you have to wait just a few more days to learn whether Brian Snitker and Ronald Acuña Jr. are among this year’s winners.

Snitker, Skip Schumaker and Craig Counsell are the three finalists for the National League Manager of the Year Award, which will be announced Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.

Acuña, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are the finalists for the NL MVP Award, which will be announced Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. All award winners will be revealed on MLB Network.

Here are the cases for Acuña and Snitker:

Acuña’s case for NL MVP

Acuña led the NL in runs, hits, stolen bases, on-base percentage and OPS. He ranked second in slugging percentage and batting average. His home run and RBI totals ranked among the top eight in the league. And, oh yeah, he did the previously unthinkable by becoming the first player to hit 40 homers and tally 70 steals in a season. Nobody had previously notched more than 46 steals during a 40-homer season. This was also the first time anybody had tallied more than 52 steals during a 30-homer season.

Ronald Acuña Jr. is closing in on baseball immortality -

With this record-setting production, Acuña was the catalyst for a Braves team that won an MLB-best 104 games with the strength of an offense that became the first AL/NL club to produce a .500 slugging percentage. Critics have said too much value is being placed on his stolen-base total, especially with the rule changes implemented this year that benefits baserunners. But no other NL player tallied more than 54 steals, and with these stolen bases, the Braves outfielder positioned himself to score 18 more runs than any other Major Leaguer.

The Venezuelan native finished his MVP-caliber season hitting .337 with 41 home runs, 217 hits, 80 extra-base hits, 106 RBIs, 149 runs, a 1.012 OPS and 84 strikeouts. He joined Lou Gehrig (1927), Chuck Klein (‘30) and Joe DiMaggio (‘37) as the only players who have hit at least .335 with 40 home runs, 215 hits, 80 extra-base hits, 100 RBIs, 145 runs and a 1.000 OPS with fewer than 90 strikeouts.

Doing something the game hasn’t seen since 1937 is MVP-worthy. And that doesn’t even account for any of Acuña’s franchise-record 73 steals.

Sntiker’s case for NL Manager of the Year

ESPN on X: "The Braves signed manager Brian Snitker to a contract extension through the 2025 season, the team announced." / X

Max Fried finished second in balloting for the 2022 NL Cy Young Award, and Kyle Wright was MLB’s only 20-game winner in 2022. Despite this duo combining for just 21 starts in ‘23, the Braves won 104 games and sat in first place in the NL East at the end of every day beyond April 2. Closer Raisel Iglesias, veteran catcher Travis d’Arnaud and reigning NL Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II also missed all or most of April.

Snitker’s even-keeled approach helped the Braves persevere and march toward a sixth consecutive division title in convincing fashion. Atlanta soared beyond 100 wins the help of an incredible offense that matched a MLB single-season home run record and produced a .501 slugging percentage. The offense took off in the middle of June, when Snitker moved Matt Olson from the second spot to the middle of the lineup.

Olson hit .324 with 36 homers, 94 RBIs and a 1.113 OPS in the 94 games played after the switch was made on June 15. The Braves scored 592 runs during this span, and the Dodgers ranked second with 530 runs.

Even with two of his top starters out, Snitker had the pleasure of telling Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder they had both earned their first All-Star selections. Strider lived up to the expectations he created during his great rookie season. Elder began this year as Triple-A Gwinnett’s Opening Day starter and then benefited from the confidence Snitker gave him after he came up April 4 to fill a rotation void.

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