The Yankees‘ Aaron Judge is on pace to have one of the most powerful seasons we’ve seen in a long time. He’s timed this performance perfectly, especially after turning down a $213.5 million extension from New York this past spring training. One can assume the asking price might experience a little bump if he walks away with the 2022 American League MVP Award.
Judge’s statistics certainly merit some end-of-season hardware. Through 606 plate appearances, the towering outfielder has slugged 55 home runs with 121 RBI and 113 runs scored. This includes a triple slash of .307/.410/.679, a 202 wRC+, and 9.3 fWAR.
But, of course, there’s this Shohei Ohtani guy who pitches and hits at an elite level. For anyone to overtake the two-way star and reigning AL MVP, that player needs to put up some monumental numbers. That’s what Judge has done, and he’s on track to finish his year with a flourish:
AL stat leaders in the 2nd half:
HR — Judge (22)
RBI — Judge (51)
R — Judge (39)
BB% — Judge (19.8)
ISO — Judge (.449)
OBP — Judge (.493)
SLG — Judge (.802)
OPS — Judge (1.295)
wOBA — Judge (.524)
wRC+ — Judge (255)
fWAR — Judge (4.7)@YankeesMuse pic.twitter.com/oWxAlVMXfg
— StatMuse (@statmuse) September 12, 2022
Well… this is quite eye-popping, don’t you think? Based on his season-long stats, it’s not like Judge’s first half was all that bad, either. He led the league with 33 home runs at the All-Star break, which is among the most all-time.
But since Ohtani is Ohtani, this kind of performance is needed to give the Yankees outfielder any kind of legitimate shot at taking home the hardware. Seeing the eventual voting results will be intriguing because we’ll get another look at how voters view the meaning of being valuable.
Does it pertain simply to how much value they bring to the field, or should impact on their team be considered, too? I think it should be a little bit of both, and this is probably why Mike Trout “only” has three AL MVP Awards to his name.
The Angels haven’t put any kind of competitive team on the field with baseball’s best players on their roster. As of September 12th, Los Angeles is 61-79 and already eliminated from postseason contention. While nobody can argue exactly how valuable Ohtani’s 34 homers and 12 victories on the mound are, the Angels would still be a losing squad eliminated from the playoffs if he wasn’t on the roster.
As for Judge? Who knows where the Yankees would be today if he wasn’t leading the offense. New York’s bats came alive in a crucial series win over the Rays this past weekend, but for a while, Judge was the only one pushing runs across the plate. Plus, as the Yankees watched their AL East lead dwindle, Judge has put up all these numbers in the midst of a legit playoff race.
Whether that helps him get over the hump and win the MVP or not remains to be seen. It’s crazy that it takes a record-breaking season at the plate to compete with Ohtani for the award, but he’s that special of a player. The stars have appeared to align for Judge to finish strong and give himself a chance at winning, so we’ll see if he ends up being successful or not.
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