Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was named American League MVP on Thursday night, beating out Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani and Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez. Judge is the 14th different Yankee to be given the honor and it marks the first time since Alex Rodriguez won in 2007 that a Bronx Bomber has won the award.
Judge captured 28 0f the 30 first-place votes in a near-unanimous decision by the Baseball Writers Association of America, which votes on the award.
“Congratulations to Aaron on one of the greatest seasons in the history of our sport,” manager Aaron Boone said in a prepared statement. “I’m grateful that I got to witness it first-hand and share in his magical year, especially given how much respect I have for him as a player and as a person. I hope he can reflect on his extraordinary individual accomplishments and the impact he had on his teammates every single day and use them as fuel for continued excellence in the years to come.”
It caps off what had been a historic season for the 30-year-old, who set a new American League home run record in October when he hit his 62nd round-tripper of the year in Texas and nearly completed MLB’s first Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera in 2012. The Yankees superstar carried his team’s offense for sizable stretches of the regular season, cementing his spot in the pantheon of New York athletes.
The MVP honors are the first of his career and come amid a period of time where he is deciding whether or not he will remain in the Bronx or take his talents elsewhere. Judge is a free agent after playing out the final year of his contract in a season that is expected to see him rewarded with a “pot of gold,” as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman put it, in his next contract.
“On behalf of the entire Yankees organization, I want to congratulate Aaron on winning the American League MVP Award,” Cashman said in a statement after Judge was named AL MVP. “He was incredible in every facet of the game in 2022 and put up a season that ranks with the very best of all time. Aaron’s success was especially meaningful for our organization as we’ve been able to watch him grow throughout his professional career into the player and leader he has become —an offensive force in the batter’s box, a run preventer wherever we’ve put him in the field and someone who sets the tone in the clubhouse with his relentless commitment to winning.
“He has been our MVP for quite some time now, and this honor couldn’t be more deserved.”
Judge’s MVP season played out with the contract situation looming over the entire year, yet he never appeared to let it get to him while he was out on the diamond. Judge batted .311 in 2022 with 177 hits and 131 RBI.
The AL MVP also had an OBP of .425 and a slugging percentage of .686. Additionally, he walked 111 times.
He led the majors in RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs (133), total bases (391), OPS (1.111), and WAR (10.6). Alvarez came in third with 37 home runs and Ohtani finished fourth in the AL with 34 homers.
Judge finished as the runner-up in 2017 for the American League MVP honors, but did take home American League Rookie of the Year.