Judge wins AL MVP overwhelmingly.

Over the past few weeks, I was getting a bit ticked at people saying that Shohei Ohtani deserved the MVP over Aaron Judge. For one thing, Ohtani’s Angels finished 33 games behind Houston. It reminded me of what happened when Ralph Kiner went into Branch Rickey’s office asking for a raise. Rickey replied to the future Hall-of-Famer, “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you!”

Taking nothing away from Ohtani or Kiner, but Ohtani didn’t play a meaningful game since what, mid-June? Meanwhile Judge carried his team, keeping them afloat as a 15 1/2 game lead shrunk to 3 1/2. I read something that from the All-Star Game until the end of the season, Judge, who was hitting a respectable .284 at the All-Star break, hit .349 the rest of the way. The rest of the Yankees hit .223. Now THAT is valuable. THAT is carrying a team. Without that, the Yankees may have suffered the worst collapse ever.

To those who say that what Ohtani does hasn’t been done since Babe Ruth, I get it. And I get that he does it so well. But just because he is a unicorn, doing what no one else does, is that alone reason to give him the award? For if that is the case, just retire the award from now on. I mean, if he hit .235 with 10 HR and went 5-6 with an ERA of 4.75, he’s still doing what no one else does, right? I like Ohtani. He’s a great player. But if he and Mike Trout (who finished 8th for the MVP this year) could not lift the Angels to sniffing distance of Houston, then how valuable were they? And Ohtani did have Trout. No other Yankee besides Judge got even so much as a tenth place vote this year.

The voters got it right. Judge got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, easily beating out Ohtani for the award., with the other two first place votes going to Ohtani. Judge led the majors in 8 different categories, and the AL in another, many by wide margins. He hit 16 more HR than the next best guy. His total bases were some 80 or so above the next best guy. His OPS+ of 211, well, it’s rare when someone is over 200. And as for those who think Judge was all HR, he almost won the Triple Crown, hitting .311. He stole 16 bases in 19 attempts, a ratio better than Ohtani’s, who was only 11 for 20. He made ZERO errors despite switching back and forth between CF (78 games) and RF (73 games). That switching back and forth may have cost Judge a deserved Gold Glove but may have made him more valuable. Ohtani may be a good fielder. But we don’t really know because when he isn’t pitching, Ohtani doesn’t play the field. He DH’s, a luxury the Babe never had.

With his MVP award joining his 2017 Rookie of the Year Award, Judge becomes only the second Yankee to win both awards, the other being Thurman Munson (1970 ROY and 1976 MVP). The ROY was first given out in 1947, which explains why Joe DiMaggio isn’t on that list.

Ohtani is a great player. But 2022 was Judge’s year, and the voters got it right.

The Yankees have made a new offer to Judge. There are no details. We can only imagine what it is. But hopefully a deal is done soon, and the newest Yankees’ MVP remains in the Bronx. Many years from now, we hope #99 joins numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (twice), 9, 10, 15, 16, 20, 21, 23, 32, 37, 42, 44, 46, 49 and 51 in Monument Park.

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