The 2023 National League MVP race is shaping up to be historic, and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) is presented with yet another challenge on who to eventually name as this season’s NL MVP. 

In the 2022 MLB season, fans witnessed New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge break the single-season American League home run record with 62 home runs. With the first half of the 2023 season not over with, fans have already witnessed history from Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., who is the first MLB player with 20 home runs, 40 stolen bases and 50 RBIs before the All-Star break. 

The last time MLB fans have seen a performance like this was in 1986 from Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who also had 40 stolen bases and 50 RBIs before the All-Star break.  

Acuña Jr. is on pace for 47 home runs and 77 stolen bases by the end of the season. He also has the chance to have his second 30 home run – 30 stolen base season, becoming the second Atlanta Brave to have multiple 30-30 seasons after Ron Gant (1990 & 1991).  

Former Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman, is continuing to be one of the top MLB players in his 14th season. Freeman is one of the most consistent players for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Earlier this season, Freeman had a 20-game hitting streak. Currently, Freeman is hitting .314 with 14 home runs, 54 RBIs, a .925 OPS, and leads the NL in doubles with 28, after leading the NL with 47 in 2022. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks lead the NL West with a 50-35 record thanks to their Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate, Corbin Carroll. Carroll is speeding through the NL with 24 stolen bases; the second most in the NL. In 80 games, he is hitting .289 with a .365 OBP, .557 SLG, and .923 OPS.

While Carroll is not in a great position to win NL MVP, he is in a great position to win NL Rookie of the Year.  

Finishing an entire MLB season with a .400 batting average is nothing simple. Ted Williams was the last player in MLB history to do so with a .406 batting average in 1941. However, three Negro leaguers had .400 batting average seasons after Williams. Tetelo Vargas hit .471 with the New York Cubans in 1943, Josh Gibson hit .466 with the Homestead Grays in 1943, and Artie Wilson hit .435 with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948. 

Miami Marlins infielder Luis Arráez may accomplish having a .400 batting average this season which has not been done in 75 years. If Arráez can finish the season with a .400 batting average the BBWAA may have to consider the historic significance behind the statistic when they vote for NL MVP. 

Many have hit .400 and many have come close. Surprisingly, among those who have come close are Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn who hit .394 in 1994, Hall of Famer George Brett who hit .390 in 1980, and Hall of Famer Rod Carew who hit .388 in 1977. 

In 81 games, Arráez is batting .388. He reached the .400 mark June 1o and reached it again June 14. 

The difficulty of reaching a stat that has not been reached since 1948, not even by some of the greatest hitters of all time, holds a lot of significance. Fans will have to wait and see how the BBWAA will make their decision for the NL MVP if Arráez can complete the milestone.