clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dodgers notes: Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, NL MVP race

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Mookie Betts had a ridiculous week at the plate, hitting .615 (16-for-26) with a 1.540 OPS while also returning to Fenway Park for the first time since getting traded by the Red Sox to the Dodgers. Dating back to late June, Betts is on one of the great hot streaks in Dodgers franchise history.

Freddie Freeman was also great last week, hitting .500 (13-for-26) with a 1.228 OPS. On Sunday he set the LA Dodgers record with 50 doubles, all before the calendar has reached September.

On the season, Betts and Freeman have been great, so much so that they’ve made the National League MVP an actual race, along with long-time favorite Ronald Acuña, Jr. and his Braves teammate Matt Olson.

Betts leads the National League in WAR (both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference versions), slugging percentage, OPS, and wRC+. He’s added above-average defense at second base to his Gold Glove-caliber play in right field, making him perhaps the best utility man in history.

Acuña leads the NL in runs scored, on-base percentage, and stolen bases. With 28 home runs and 59 stolen bases, he’s very close to being the first 30-60 player in major league history.

Freeman leads in hits, doubles, total bases, and on-base percentage on pace for 63 doubles.

Olson leads in home runs and RBI, and is on pace for 54. home runs.

All four all in the top six in the league in both versions of WAR.

2023 National League MVP race

Statistic Mookie Betts Freddie Freeman Ronald Acuña Jr. Matt Olson
Statistic Mookie Betts Freddie Freeman Ronald Acuña Jr. Matt Olson
bWAR 7.4 (1st) 5.9 (4th) 6.3 (2nd) 5.2 (6th)
fWAR 7.3 (1st) 6.6 (2nd) 6.2 (3rd) 4.7 (6th)
HR 35 (t-4th) 23 (17th) 28 (t-9th) 43 (1st)
SB 10 (t-42nd) 17 (t-20th) 59 (1st) 1 (t-159th)
Runs 110 (2nd) 108 (3rd) 115 (1st) 101 (4th)
RBI 93 (3rd) 86 (7th) 74 (17th) 112 (1st)
Hits 152 (4th) 175 (1st) 171 (t-2nd) 132 (15th)
2B 36 (3rd) 50 (1st) 30 (t-9th) 24 (t-32nd)
Total bases 295 (2nd) 298 (1st) 291 (3rd) 289 (4th)
Walks 73 (5th) 59 (16th) 68 (8th) 84 (3rd)
BA .315 (5th) .341 (2nd) .330 (3rd) .272 (25th)
OBP .407 (3rd) .417 (1st) .413 (2nd) .380 (7th)
SLG .611 (1st) .581 (3rd) .562 (4th) .596 (2nd)
OPS 1.018 (1st) .998 (2nd) .975 (4th) .976 *3rd)
wRC+ 173 (1st) 168 (2nd) 162 (3rd) 155 (4th)
Through August 27

David O’Brien at The Athletic talked to some players about the NL MVP race, with the four favorites coming from the best two teams in the league:

“They’re very similar players,” veteran Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, a fourth-place MVP finisher in 2021, said of Acuña and Betts. “Acuña with the power and speed obviously does a lot for them. Mookie does the same thing. And then Freddie and Olson are a little bit different hitters but obviously very good at what they do.”

I also talked about the NL MVP race on this week’s Three-Inning Save podcast.


An MRI confirmed that Tony Gonsolin’s elbow injury will keep him out for the remainder of the 2023 season, manager Dave Roberts told reporters Sunday morning in Boston. But he didn’t reveal much more than that. From Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register: “Roberts was unable to share “the exact diagnosis or plan.” But he did say that Gonsolin would definitely not be back this season and could “potentially” have surgery that would impact his availability in 2024.”

In a 2018 game at Dodger Stadium, Linda Goldbloom was hit in the head by a foul ball and died a few days later from bleeding in her brain. Bill Plaschke at the Los Angeles Times talked to Linda’s husband Erwin, now 90 years old:

“People needed to know what happened to Linda, and the dangers of sitting in the stands, yet it was ignored, and I couldn’t understand it,” Erwin says. “Why didn’t the Dodgers just say a woman died at a game last night? Isn’t that something they should do?”

RJ Peete has been a Dodger Stadium clubhouse attendant since 2016, and was diagnosed with autism at three years old. Steve Henson at the LA Times wrote about Peete becoming an integral part of the Dodgers clubhouse. Says Dodgers clubhouse manager Alex Torres, “He has this infectious personality. Every time he shows up to work, he has a smile on his face and is eager to start the day.”