Acuña wins Baseball Digest player of the year; Cole and Bautista also honored


NEW YORK (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. was selected major league player of the year by Baseball Digest and eBay after hitting 41 home runs and stealing 73 bases for the Atlanta Braves.

The outfielder beat out two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, who didn't play after Sept. 3 because of injuries.

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was chosen pitcher of the year and Baltimore Orioles closer Félix Bautista was the top reliever in awards announced Tuesday.

Acuña received 13 first-place votes in balloting by a 23-member panel of baseball writers and broadcasters that included several former players, managers and executives.

Ohtani got nine first-place votes, and the other one went to Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts, who finished third.

Acuña batted .337 with a National League-best 1.012 OPS and led the majors in hits (217), runs (149), on-base percentage (.416), total bases (383) and steals. He helped the NL East champion Braves finish with the best record in the majors at 104-58.

The 25-year-old Acuña not only became the first big league player with 40 homers and 70 stolen bases in a season, he's the only member of the 30-60 club.

Cole went 15-4 with an AL-low 2.63 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 209 innings. He was chosen first on 19 ballots and became the first Yankees pitcher to win the award.

Blake Snell came in second after going 14-9 with a major league-best 2.25 ERA and 234 strikeouts in 180 innings for the San Diego Padres.

Bautista got 13 first-place votes. He was 8-2 with a 1.48 ERA and 33 saves in 39 chances, striking out 110 of 237 batters for AL East champion Baltimore. But the 6-foot-8 right-hander nicknamed The Mountain will miss the playoffs and probably the entire 2024 season following Tommy John surgery to repair an elbow injury that sidelined him in late August.

Milwaukee Brewers closer Devin Williams received six first-place votes and finished second to Bautista.