While Ronald Acuña Jr, Sean Murphy, and Spencer Strider are no-brainer choices, Ozzie Albies and Matt Olson are each a deserving All-Star choice in 2023, as well. All this dynamic duo has done is lead the Braves to the most home runs before the Break in MLB history, and the Braves to the best record in baseball.
Albies is having the kind of season that should have him in the MVP conversation. He has a slash line of .262/.316/.510/.826 and a 117 OPS+. In addition, the 26 year-old second baseman has 22 home runs (5th in NL), 63 RBI (2nd in NL) and 49 runs scored. I believe Ozzie is the Comeback Player of the Year in the MLB, if there is still such an award. Maybe there’s an ESPY for that, if anyone still works at ESPN?
Albies has always dominated left-handed pitching, and 2023 is no different. He is hitting .390/.405/.683 against lefties and has 5 HRs and 18 RBI in 82 AB. The diminutive switch hitter has an amazing 189 OPS+ from the right side. The impressive numbers, for me, though, are his 17 HRs and 45 RBI against RHP, which yields a 103 OPS+. At the very least, at the season’s mind-point, he is a deserving All-Star choice.
Olson a deserving All-Star choice
I often say it isn’t so important that I learn something new as it is that I am reminded of what’s true. And one thing that’s true is chicks dig the long ball!
Don’t believe me? I didn’t say it…Braves legends Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine did.
Like his infield partner, Olson is having the kind of season that should have him in the MVP conversation. His “problem,” if you will, is he’s on the same team as Acuña and Murphy. Acuna and Murphy are the NL frontrunners in the MVP discussion.
Olson is killing it in his second season with the Braves, hammering the long ball. He is hitting .254/.358/.560/.926 with a 143 OPS+. Matt’s 29 homers and 72 RBI lead the NL and are second only to Shohei Ohtani. Again, Olson is a deserving All-Star choice, and a top-5 NL MVP candidate.
Olson was acquired before the 2022 season when folk-hero Freddie Freeman was misled by his agent. While still on the plane from Oakland to Atlanta, he signed an 8-yr, $168 million extension. He had a good first year in Atlanta, but this year, Olson has carried the team from a power perspective. His 10 homers and 27 RBI in the first are ridiculous. He is a vital cog and another reason opponents are on their heels every night.
Tomorrow we will take a look at three players who may be surprise selections for some. We will dive into the numbers and realize that Orlando Arcia, Bryce Elder, and Austin Riley – while surprising to some – are deserving selections, as well.