It was over before it began, with the Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuña Jr. being crowned the unanimous 2023 National League MVP on Thursday evening.
Even though it's tough for Philadelphia Phillies fans to see a bitter division rival receive the highest honor a position player can attain, especially after the way the Phillies so unceremoniously booted Acuña Jr. and the Braves out of the playoffs, you have to give Acuña Jr. his due after his historic season.
Lost amidst the celebration of the MVP winner was the fact that three Phillies players received NL MVP votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America members.
Harper, Schwarber, Castellanos all receive NL MVP votes
Two-time MVP Bryce Harper finished 12th out of the 26 players who received votes this year. He finished with 36 points from three seventh-place, six eighth-place, and three ninth-place votes. For a comparison, Acuña Jr.'s 30 first-place votes netted him 420 total points.
After getting off to a late start with a May 2 season debut, the Phillies' new first baseman finished 2023 hitting .293 with a .900 OPS, 21 home runs, 72 RBI, 11 steals, and a 142 wRC+. Previously, Harper has received votes in four other years: when he won the honor in 2015 and 2021, as well as in his rookie year and in 2017 when he finished 12th.
Leadoff slugger Kyle Schwarber, who finished 16th in last year's MVP voting, received two 10th-place votes to finish 22nd. He slugged a career-high 47 home runs in 2023 despite striking out a career- and Major League-high 215 times.
Right fielder Nick Castellanos received a single 10th-place vote, tying for last place with Zac Gallen and Christian Walker of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and TJ Friedl of the Cincinnati Reds. Castellanos was an All-Star this season and finished with a .272/.311/.476 slash line, 29 home runs, and a career-high 106 RBI. He previously finished 12th in NL MVP voting in 2021 with the Reds.