Following Historic Season, Acuña Joins Andruw Jones and Former Teammate Freddie Freeman as Braves to Win Award of Franchise Icon; Two-Way Superstar Ohtani Joins Former Teammate Mike Trout as Angels to Receive Prestigious Honor

December 17th, 2023

National League Most Valuable Player Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and American League Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani, who won the honor for a second time while playing with the Los Angeles Angels, have been named the recipients of the 2023 Hank Aaron Awards in their respective leagues, Major League Baseball announced today.  The winners were unveiled earlier this evening in Las Vegas, Nevada on MLB Network’s “All-MLB Team Show” presented by MGM Rewards during a presentation featuring Acuña Jr., Mrs. Billye Aaron and Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr.

The Hank Aaron Awards recognize the most outstanding offensive performers in each League.  Each Club nominates players to be considered for the Hank Aaron Award, and a panel of writers determined eight finalists for each league from the list of Club nominees.  A fan vote is added to the votes of a special panel of Hall of Fame players and former winners to determine the winners of the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball.  The panel includes Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Derek Jeter (two-time Aaron Award winner), Chipper Jones, Pedro Martínez, Eddie Murray, David Ortiz (two-time Aaron Award winner), John Smoltz and Robin Yount, as well as two-time Aaron Award recipient Albert Pujols.

Acuña, in his sixth Major League season, made history in 2023, becoming the first player in Baseball history to record at least 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases in a single season while setting modern-era franchise marks with 149 runs scored, 73 stolen bases and 383 total bases.  En route to his 40/70 season, he became only the fifth player in history to reach at least 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season.  The 25-year-old native of La Guaira, Venezuela established career-highs in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.337), on-base percentage (.416), OPS (1.012), runs, hits (217), doubles (35), RBI (106), stolen bases, walks (80) and total bases.  The four-time All-Star became one of seven players in Major League history to collect at least 200 hits, 100 RBI, 145 runs scored and 40 home runs in a single season, joining an impressive list comprised of Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Chuck Klein, Babe Ruth and Hack Wilson.  Acuña Jr. registered 12 contests with a home run and a stolen base, tying for the second-most in a single season behind only Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson (13 in 1986).  The 2018 Jackie Robinson NL Rookie of the Year Award winner, who led all NL players in fan voting for the All-Star Game for a third straight season, joined Hall of Famers Willie Mays (1957-58) and Henderson (1990) to lead their league in both stolen bases and OPS.

Ohtani, also in his sixth Major League season, slugged 44 home runs and registered 95 RBI en route to his second MVP award in three seasons, as well as his third consecutive Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.  The 29-year-old native of Oshu, Japan also hit .304 with 102 runs scored, 26 doubles, eight triples and 20 stolen bases while leading the AL in on-base percentage (.412), slugging percentage (.654) and OPS (1.066).  Ohtani also paced the AL in homers, total bases (325) and extra-base hits (78).  In June, Ohtani joined Babe Ruth (seven games in 1921) and Barry Bonds (six games in 1997) as the only players in Major League history to record an extra-base hit, walk and run scored in six straight games (June 12th-17th).  For a third straight season, the 2018 Jackie Robinson AL Rookie of the Year Award winner became the only player in the Majors to post at least six triples and 34 home runs.  In addition, Ohtani joined Troy Glaus (47 homers in 2000) as the only Angels players in history to finish a season as the AL home run leader.  The two-way star, who was selected to the All-Star Game as both a pitcher and position player for a third consecutive season after finishing as the AL’s leading vote-getter, hit .372 with three doubles, two triples, seven homers and 15 RBI in his 23 games as a starting pitcher.

Together, Acuña and Ohtani became the first duo to win their respective league’s MVP Award in the same season after also winning the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award in the same season (2018).  Overall, they were the seventh pair of MVP Award winners in a season to have previously won Rookie of the Year at any point.

Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include: Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt (2022); Vladmir Guerrero Jr. and Bryce Harper (2021); José Abreu and Freddie Freeman (2020); Mike Trout and Christian Yelich (2019); J.D. Martinez and Christian Yelich (2018); Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Altuve (2017); Kris Bryant and David Ortiz (2016); Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper (2015); Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout (2014); Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt (2013); Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012); José Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011); José Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols (2003); Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.