The winners of the AL and NL MVP Award are being announced today at 3pm PST. The finalists in the AL for the MVP award include Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani, and Yordan Alvarez.
As good of a season Alvarez had, this MVP debate is really between Judge and Ohtani.
Who really deserves the AL MVP?
To kick things off, I have to acknowledge the seasons both of these superstars had. They were both of the likes I have never seen before.
I never saw Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in a single season, I was too young. This Aaron Judge chase to 62 home runs was something I've never seen before.
Shohei Ohtani is a player nobody has ever seen before. Even Babe Ruth, the closest thing to Ohtani, wasn't this good. He didn't hit and pitch at the same time. What Ohtani is doing is unprecedented.
It's a shame both of these players are in the American League because both deserve to win the award and both would win easily in the National League.
Both arguments start with the players doing something we've never seen before. Judge hit 62 home runs, the most an American League player has ever hit. People also can make the argument that it should be known as the record because Judge did it without the assistance of PED's.
Ohtani put up all-star seasons on the mound and at the plate AT THE SAME TIME. It's still so hard to wrap my head around just how good this guy is.
Judge slashed .311/.425/.686 with 62 home runs and 131 RBI. He also added 16 stolen bases and played elite defense in both center field and right field. He had a 207 WRC+ and 11.4 fWAR. He was impossibly great.
Ohtani slashed .273/.356/.519 with 34 home runs and 95 RBI. He also went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts, striking out a league-leading 11.9 batters per nine. He qualified for the ERA title and finished fourth. He should have been a Cy Young finalist.
Ohtani had a 172 ERA+ and a 145 OPS+. He was elite at the plate and even better on the mound. He had 9.4 fWAR.
As much as it pains me to say, Aaron Judge should win the AL MVP award.
Both of these players had MVP-caliber seasons, but only one can win. Aaron Judge had a slightly better year.
He hit 62 home runs which set an American League record. He had 2 more fWAR than Ohtani did which is hard to believe. Judge was just five points shy of winning the Triple Crown. He stole bases and played elite defense. He was the best player in baseball this season.
I do believe the Yankees making it to the postseason helps his case as well. While the Angels certainly did not have the roster the Yankees had, we saw how badly the Yankees struggled when Judge didn't hit in October. He's the reason they were close to as good as they were, proving his value.
This is no knock on Ohtani. Shohei had in my opinion an even better year than he did last season when he won the MVP. Judge was just too much, unfortunately. Don't be surprised if you see Shohei come right back for the MVP in 2023.