I am of far too pessimistic an outlook to declare the NL East race concluded, but I am pretty sure that if I had ever had a manicure, my nails would be pristine for treatment from watching the Braves down the stretch. When back-to-back series against the Mets and Yankees in August leave me stress-free, I am stress-free. I don’t need a pennant race to enjoy watching this team.

Then there’s the MVP race. With his 27th homer last night, Ronald Acuña Jr. is going boldly where no man has gone before. No player in MLB history has had 161 hits, 27 homers and 55 stolen bases in a single season. And it’s midway through August.

The closest was Rickey Henderson‘s 1990 MVP season in which he edged out Cecil Fielder. He had 159 hits, 28 homers and 65 stolen bases for the season. (And he played 14 more games that season than Ronald has so far.) He led the AL in runs scored with 119. (Ronald is currently at 109 and will clearly surpass every counting stat.) If Ronald were up against 1990 Rickey Henderson, he’d be unanimous.

But there’s still a very active race for 2023 NL MVP. Both his former teammate Freddie Freeman and current teammate Matt Olson could, without even accelerating their paces, pass Ronald if he stumbles.

Look at the numbers

Rickey still leads in a few counting stats, but those will be Ronald’s by the end of the season. Freddie leads in nothing, but is close in pretty much everything but stolen bases. Matt’s your guy if you prefer the traditional power/RBI standards, and Mookie, while clearly a step behind, is included for completeness if he has a great last 7 weeks.

As you all know, I don’t want my players to be All Stars. I have no problem with end-of-season recognition, though. Understanding that this is going to be a pro-Ronald crowd here in the bar, what would Matt have to do move past him? What about Freddie? Discuss in The Bar.