Shohei Ohtani

Judge vs Ohtani: Who deserves to win the 2022 AL MVP race?

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The AL MVP race in 2022 looks like it could come down to the last couple of weeks of the regular season.

The current AL MVP odds in 2022 say that this is a two-horse race between Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Shohei Ohtani of the Angels. Currently, Judge is the betting favorite but Ohtani should not be counted out just yet.

AL MVP race 2022: Judge vs Ohtani

Both have a compelling argument, but will it be Aaron Judge or Shohei Ohtani who wins the AL MVP race in 2022? Since it’s bound to be one or the other, we figured this was a good time to take a closer look at Aaron Judge vs Shohei Ohtani to see if we can figure out what player has had the better season and who is more deserving of AL MVP honors in 2022.

The case for Judge

The case for Judge to be the MVP in 2022 is rather straightforward, which is why he’s the frontrunner heading down the stretch. He’s been by far the best player on one of the best teams in baseball. When the Yankees sprinted out ahead of the pack during the first half of the season, they did it on Judge’s back. Even when the Yankees have cooled off and endured some slumps during the second half of the season, Judge is the one who has carried the Yankees at times and kept them atop the AL East.

Some have compared Judge’s season to some of the best individual seasons in Yankees history, which is a comparison that isn’t taken lightly. But the comparisons have been unavoidable and completely warranted, Therefore, if Judge’s season is comparable to those put together by Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, and other Yankee legends, shouldn’t he at least be worthy of winning the AL MVP race? 


In all likelihood, Judge will finish the 2022 season with over 60 home runs and better than 130 RBIs while also hitting over .300. His slugging percentage is hovering around .700, roughly 70 points ahead of Yordan Alvarez, who is second in the AL in slugging, and more than 150 points ahead of the third-best slugging percentage in the AL, which belongs to Ohtani. Judge also has a wide margin over Alvarez for the best on-base percentage and OPS in the American League.

There is also a strong chance that Judge will end up winning the Triple Crown. No player is within striking distance of beating him in home runs or RBIs. Meanwhile, Judge is neck-and-neck with both Luis Arraez and Xander Bogaerts for the batting title. If Judge can beat out both players for the best average in the American League, he will win the Triple Crown, making it that much more difficult to imagine MVP honors going to anyone else.

The case for Ohtani

But while Judge is having a historic season, Ohtani continues to prove that he is a historic figure. His argument in the AL MVP race in 2022 revolves around the fact that he is both an elite hitter and an elite pitcher. There is no other player in the game who is anywhere close to comparable to Ohtani, which is why it seems obvious that he deserves MVP honors for the second straight year.

As a hitter, Ohtani is a virtual lock to finish in the top five among American League hitters in home runs, slugging percentage, and OPS. He also ranks among the top 10 in RBIs. As a pitcher, Ohtani is surpassing what he accomplished last year when he won the MVP. He’s already made more starts than he did last year while increasing his win total, increasing his strikeout percentage, and lowering his ERA considerably. Among American League pitchers, Ohtani is likely to finish top-five in ERA and strikeouts with a chance to also be top-five in WHIP. He’s also won 13 of his 25 starts on a team that’s nearly 20 games under .500.

Of course, Ohtani’s biggest problem is that he plays on a bad team. He’s put together an unprecedented season on a team that’s completely wasted it. Even with Ohtani’s efforts, the Angels aren’t going to be anywhere close to making the playoffs. In that sense, all he’s proven is that he’s an extraordinary player on a bad team, which makes Ohtani special but not necessarily valuable. 


After all, how can he be valuable if Ohtani hasn’t done enough to save his team or make an impact in the pennant race? On the other hand, his teammate Mike Trout has won MVP honors in years that the Angels have been similarly bad. Ohtani also won MVP last year when the Halos finished eight games under .500. But will he be able to overcome similar circumstances this year?

The verdict

In the end, will it be Aaron Judge or Shohei Ohtani who wins the American League MVP in 2022? The argument is strong on both sides, but the answer has to be Judge.

While Ohtani is a special player, Judge is having a special year that goes beyond anything that an above-average hitter and an above-average pitcher could hope to accomplish. Whether he wins the Triple Crown or not, Judge is having a season that will long be remembered as one of the best single seasons a player has put together in baseball history.

On top of that, he’s been an invaluable part of his team, which is a legitimate championship contender. Judge fits the textbook definition of a valuable player and has produced far more than any hitter in the American League this year, making him the only choice as the MVP.

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