The case of every 2022 MVP Award finalist

The case of every 2022 MVP Award finalist

Any player nominated for the Most Valuable Player award has obviously had a great season. But describe what this year’s MVP candidates have accomplished as a kind of “super” underselling their seasons.

In the American League, home run history unfolded in the east while last year’s MVP continued to make his own mark of history on the mound and at home plate in the west. Meanwhile, in the middle of the country, a left-handed slugger guided his team to the best record on the junior circuit.

In the National League, a player has flirted with a triple crown and is battling for his first MVP award against two of the greatest third basemen the sport has ever seen – one of whom is his teammate.

Here’s a look at each of the six MVP nominees’ cases before the winners are announced Thursday on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Trying to go up against a player who hit 62 home runs in Aaron Judge, setting an AL record and a dominant two-way player in Shohei Ohtani is tough, but Alvarez has his own impressive credentials. He finished third or fourth in the roster of a 106-win division champion, who finished seven games ahead of the Yankees and 33 games ahead of the Angels.

Alvarez batted .306 with 37 homers and 97 RBI, a 187 OPS+ and a 1.019 OPS in 135 games, ranking second to Judge in OPS in the AL. He also ranked second in the AL in hitting percentage (59.8%), second in on-base percentage (.406), second in slugging percentage (.613), third in homers, fourth in average batting, runs (95) and walks (78) and tied for fifth in RBI.

He was named the AL Player of the Month for June when he led the AL in batting average (.418), on-base percentage (.510), slugging (.835) and OPS (1.346). His 6.8 bWAR ranked fourth in the AL behind Judge, Ohtani and Andrés Giménez of the Guardians.

Also, Alvarez wasn’t limited to DH. He made a career-high 56 starts in left field and had seven assists to the outfield, which is tied for second among AL left fielders. The Astros were 25-6 in games in which Alvarez homered. — Brian McTaggart

Seeking to become the first Yankees outfielder to win an MVP award since Mickey Mantle in 1962, Judge kicked off a season marching for the ages after turning down an opening-day contract extension, setting a single-season record. of the American League with 62 home runs. .311/.425/.686 in 157 games.

The 30-year-old led the Majors in home runs, runs (133), RBIs (131), slugging percentage, on-base percentage, OPS+ (211) and total bases (391), finishing five runs averaging batting to catch the Twins’ Luis Arraez (.316) for a triple crown.

The judge’s pursuit to break Roger Maris’ 61-year-old AL record for single-season home runs has captivated the sports world for weeks, culminating in a 62nd blast in Game 2 of an Oct. 4 doubleheader in Texas. .

The fourth Major League player to hit 62 or more home runs in a single season, Judge led the Majors in home runs by 16 over the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber (46), the biggest gap since the Athletics’ Jimmie Foxx led the Majors by 17 home runs in 1932. .

Judge has previously received MVP votes in 2017, 18 and 21, finishing second to Jose Altuve of the Astros in 17 when he was the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year. — Bryan Hoch

As Judge continued the story with his home run total, Ohtani again made his own story in 2022.

The two-way superstar was incredibly even better than in 2021, when he unanimously won the American League MVP award. Ohtani, 28, hit .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers, 11 stolen bases and 95 RBIs in 157 games, while going 15-9 with 219 strikeouts in 166 innings on the mound . He became the first player in AL/NL history to qualify as a league leader as a pitcher and hitter in the same season.

Ohtani became the first player in AL or NL history with 10 mound wins and 30 home runs in the same season. Hall of Famer Babe Ruth is the only other player with 10 wins and 10 home runs in the same year, down from 13 wins and 11 home runs in 1918.

Ohtani also became the only player in AL or NL history with both an eight RBI game and a 13 strikeout game in a career and he accomplished the feat in days straight against the Royals on June 21 and 22.

As a pitcher, Ohtani led the American League in strikeouts by nine innings and led the league with 10 games with at least 10 strikeouts. Among the AL leaders, he was third in strikeouts, fourth in the ERA and tied for fourth in wins. And as a hitter, Ohtani ranked third in the AL in added hits, fourth in homers and fifth in OPS.

Add it all up and there’s no more valuable player in baseball than Ohtani, who is elite as a pitcher and hitter. — Rhett Bollinger

Arenado is arguably the best all-rounder in the game and potentially the best third baseman in history. That’s the opinion of Hall of Famer and 16-time Gold Glover Jim Kaat, who believes Arenado should be mentioned along with Mike Trout, Manny Machado and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the best all-around baseball players.

Determined to rebound from what he considered a down year in 2021 and prove that his past production wasn’t simply a product of thin Colorado air, Arenado put on arguably his best season overall. While teaming with MVP runner-up Paul Goldschmidt, Arenado led the Cardinals to the First Division title in his 10-year MLB career. He ranked first in the NL in WAR (7.9), second in slugging (.533), sixth in batting average (.293), 11th in homers (30), fourth in RBI (103), third in doubles (42) and fourth in OPS (.891). He won the Player of the Month award in April and August, the only two-time winner in the NL.

Defensively, Arenado was even better. The 31-year-old third baseman tied the mark set by Ichiro Suzuki by winning his 10th straight Golden Glove to start his career.

Arenado’s biggest obstacle to ultimately winning an MVP is, of course, Goldschmidt. The first baseman finished second to Arenado in the NL in WAR and didn’t get a gold glove. Like Goldschmidt, Arenado has never been an MVP, but he’s come close a number of times, finishing eighth (2015), fifth (’16), fourth (’17), third (’18) and sixth in (’19). ). — John Denton

It’s time for the superstar first baseman to take his rightful place among the game’s greats who also picked up MVP awards. He was second in NL MVP voting twice, third once and sixth twice. He lost to Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton in 2013 (NL beats 36 HRs, 125 RBIs) and 15 (33 HRs, 110 RBIs) despite monster numbers. This season – the one in which he has already won the NL Hank Aaron Award, the MLBPA Most Outstanding Player award and a Silver Slugger – seems like the best chance for the 35-year-old “Goldy” to finally be crowned MVP.

On Aug. 25 — when he beat the Cubs for three hits, two home runs and five RBIs — Goldschmidt led the NL in batting average and RBI and trailed Schwarber in home runs by one. Goldschmidt’s bid to become the first NL Triple Crown winner since Joe “Ducky” Medwick in 1937 would fail, but not before he had staged his best all-around season.

The NL leader in OPS (.981) and slugging (.578), Goldschmidt won the NL Player of the Month award in May and the NL Player of the Week three times. He also finished in the top five in the NL in WAR (7.8, second), on-base percentage (.404), batting average (.317), homers (35) and RBIs (115). In addition to helping the Cardinals win an NL Central crown, Goldschmidt was a Golden Glove finalist and a Roberto Clemente Franchise Award nominee. He is the overwhelming favorite to become the first Cardinal to win the MVP title since Albert Pujols in 2008 and 2009. – John Denton

Machado led the National League with 7.4 fWAR – marking the highest total for any Padres position player since Ken Caminiti in 1996. Fittingly, Caminiti was the last (and only) Padre to win an award MVP.

If Machado were to join him, it would take some sort of upset, with Goldschmidt being the presumed favorite. But Machado built a big business for himself by carrying the Padres to their first playoff spot in 16 years.

He cut .298/.366/.531 with 32 homers and his usual outstanding defense at third base. On top of that, Machado performed when the Padres needed him the most. For much of the start of the season, he has been the offense of the Padres. Fernando Tatis Jr. was absent and commercial reinforcements would not arrive until early August.

Through it all, Machado raked in – with a bang. At the end of June, he suffered a horrific ankle injury. The Padres feared he would be out for months. Instead, Machado only missed 10 days.

He played injured and his numbers took a hit, but the Padres desperately needed Machado on the court. Take out his .694 July OPS, and there’s a good chance he’ll be the MVP favorite.

Instead, he’s locked in a close competition with a pair of Cardinals – although for some the fact that he’s on trial alongside a pair of teammates is argument enough for Machado to be seen as the more valuable.

“I’m biased,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “But it depends on what your definition really is for MVP. … Goldschmidt, those numbers are fantastic, but he’s got Arenado behind him too. So listen, it’s gonna play out the way it does. But I don’t see a guy who is more valuable to his particular team in this league than Manny Machado is to us. AJ Cassavell

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