Now that the 2022 MLB season is over, it is time to pass out some hardware.
Yes, the awards will not be handed out until the postseason has come to an end. It is the final rite of passage for each season, one last moment before we turn the page and look ahead. Until that happens, let us take a look back and predict who will take home the hardware for the year that was.
Handing out the hardware for the 2022 MLB season
American League MVP – Aaron Judge
It speaks volumes about the competition that the winner of the AL MVP is debated.
Judge just missed out on the Triple Crown, leading the majors with 62 homers and 131 RBI while finishing second with a .311 batting average. He became one of six players, and one of only three that have not been tainted with PED rumors, to hit 60 or more homers. There were times when he was the Yankees’ entire offense, refusing to let the team collapse and fall out of first in the division.
And he needs every one of those homers to win the award. Shohei Ohtani had another stellar year as he became the first player in MLB history to qualify for both the batting and ERA titles. One could argue he had an even better year than his MVP winning performance in 2021. It truly took a historic year by Judge, and a mark that seemed impossible to reach, for Ohtani to fall short.
*apologies to Ohtani
National League MVP – Paul Goldschmidt
The St. Louis Cardinals had three viable MVP candidates. In the end, Goldschmidt comes out on top.
Goldschmidt had also flirted with a Triple Crown, although he was not nearly as close in batting average. In the end, he finished with an NL leading 180 OPS+ over his 651 plate appearances, hitting 35 homers and 41 doubles while driving in 115 runs. His steady bat made a difference for a Cardinals team that came on strong in the second half to take the NL Central with relative ease.
It would also be a long time coming for Goldschmidt. He was the runner-up for the NL MVP twice and has five top ten finished in the vote. It will not be an easy road as there are plenty of stellar candidates, but this may finally be the year that Goldschmidt takes home the hardware.
*apologies to Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado