It’s a race that could be worth as much as $258 million.
This year, the Major League Baseball stolen base race is definitely “up” compared to previous years. Pitch clocks, bigger bases, and a ban on excessive defensive shifts have created a more favourable environment for stealing bases. Major League Baseball’s stolen base leader, Esteemed Ruiz (Oakland Athletics), has stolen 31 bases in the first two months of the season.
The National League is dominated by Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves, 28), followed by Bae Ji-Hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Corbin Carroll (Arizona Diamondbacks, 19+). While it’s true that the gap has widened considerably, it’s also true that neither Bae nor Carroll are at the point of giving up.
It’s interesting to note that Akuna and Carroll, who are one or two spots behind Bae, are also the frontrunners in this year’s National League MVP race. Bae does have a slightly lower hit volume than Akuna and Carroll. However, the fact that he will be competing against them will be a good experience for his development as a major leaguer.
On the 13th, MLB.com released the results of its MVP mock poll, which was voted on by 47 experts. Like the Cy Young voting, this is done once a month. In the American League, Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) is the top vote-getter, and in the National League, Akuna is the top vote-getter.
Akuna received a whopping 42 first-place votes. That’s a lot of first-place votes for a player with 23 first-place votes in the American League. In the American League, he has a challenger in Aaron Judge (New York Yankees). He received 12 first-place votes. But in the National League, there’s not even a contender for Akuna. Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers) received four first-place votes.
Carroll is third, with zero first-place votes. In fourth place is Luis Ararez (Miami Marlins), who has been touted as a candidate to break the .400 mark. He received one first-place vote. In fifth place is Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers). He received no first-place votes. Acuna’s performance is overwhelming.
In 66 games, Acuna has a .328 batting average (3rd), 13 home runs (11th), 40 RBI (12th), 56 runs scored (2nd), 28 doubles (1st), a .560 on-base percentage (4th), and a .399 slugging percentage (5th). Those are the top 10 in every major category except home runs and RBIs. “With a WAR of 3.3 per Baseball-Reference, it’s not hard to see why he received near-unanimous support from voters,” said MLB.com.
Carroll isn’t far behind. He’s in the Rookie of the Year race, but he’s also in the MVP race. He’s “on pace to become the first rookie since Mike Trout to produce 30 homers and 40 steals,” according to MLB.com. In 63 games, he’s batting .308 with 13 home runs, 33 RBI, 47 runs scored, 19 doubles, a .579 on-base percentage and a .391 slugging percentage.
Acuna is under contract with Atlanta for 8+2 years and up to $124 million, while Carroll is under contract with Arizona for 8+1 years and $134 million. Their combined cap hit is a whopping $258 million. Even before they were eligible for free agency, they were locked up to big, long-term contracts, proving their value, and it shows on the field. It’s exciting for him and for baseball fans to see him compete with such explosive athletes. 메이저놀이터