MLB and the sport of baseball may not boast the popularity it once did, but the big leagues still have its fair share of superstars and that rang true in the first half of the 2023 season in the form of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Shohei Ohtani.
Acuna and Ohtani were the top vote-getters for the MLB All-Star game after their incredible first halves, and they also contributed greatly to MLB's bottom line thanks to their jersey sales.
Ohtani, the pitching and hitting icon for the Los Angeles Angels is a global superstar, but surprisingly, according to info from MLBShop.com (h/t USA Today), Acuna—the star outfielder for the Atlanta Braves—actually beat Ohtani in first-half jersey sales.
Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros check in at three, four and five on the list, respectively.
Acuna Jr. is having a phenomenal season for the National League East-leading Braves (60-29). The 25-year-old is hitting .331 (second-best in MLB behind only Luis Arraez's .383 for the Miami Marlins) with 21 home runs, 55 RBI and an OPS of .990.
For as good as Acuna has been, though, Ohtani has been even better. His batting numbers alone have been otherworldly. He leads MLB with 32 home runs. Ohtani also has 71 RBI, a batting average of .302 and an OPS of 1.050. This is on top of his 7-4 record as a starting pitcher which includes a 3.32 ERA and a WHIP of 1.10.
Acuna Jr. may be more popular right now jersey-wise, but nobody can do what Ohtani has been doing for the Angels.