Yankees target Aaron Judge nabs huge award for 1st time

21 days ago NJ.com

NEW YORK — Aaron Judge heard chants of “M-V-P” from fans nearly every game in the second half at Yankee Stadium.

Their wishes were fulfilled.

On Thursday night, it was announced that Judge had won his first American League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting a league-record 62 home runs.

Judge, now a free agent, earned nearly all of the first-place marks from Baseball Writers Association of America voters. Angels star Shohei Ohtani, who won the award last year, finished runner-up with two first-place votes. The Astros’ Yordan Alvarez finished third with no first-place votes.

The Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt won in the National League.

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The 30-year-old finished in second place for MVP in 2017, falling to the Astros’ Jose Altuve despite clubbing 52 home runs, a then-rookie record. He was 12th in the vote in 2018 and fourth in 2021.

Judge’s victory was no surprise. In addition to breaking the home run record that Roger Maris set in 1961, Judge was an all-around offensive force.

Judge also led the majors in runs scored (133), OBP (.425), slugging (.686), OPS (1.111) and extra-base hits, while tying for first with 131 RBI. He led the majors by 16 home runs, the largest gap at the top of the home run leader board since Jimmie Foxx outpaced the pack by 17 in 1932.

Judge’s MLB-leading 391 total bases were the most by an AL player since Alex Rodriguez recorded 393 for the Texas Rangers in 2001.

“On behalf of the entire Yankees organization, I want to congratulate Aaron on winning the American League MVP Award,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement released by the team “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.”

The hardware will only bolster Judge’s case to be the highest-paid player in the game.

A high-stakes bidding war is expected to erupt between the Yankees and potentially Judge’s hometown San Francisco Giants. The Los Angeles Dodgers have also been connected to Judge. Judge grew up about 90 minutes from San Francisco in Linden, Calif., and his family still lives there.

Judge has been mostly mum on his free agency intentions, though he’s said he’d like tor return to the Bronx. Owner Hal Steinbrenner said Tuesday that he’s had several meetings with Judge, including one in-person meeting between just the two of them, and that money won’t stand in the way between the Yankees re-signing their homegrown star.

“I do believe he wants to be a Yankee,” Steinbrenner said. “I think we’ve got a good thing going here.”

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Brendan Kuty may be reached at [email protected]


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