Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees (American League) and Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals (National League) were named this week as recipients of the Hank Aaron Award for their performances in the 2022 season.
Certainly, both were worthy of their selections following the offensive outputs the pair compiled this season.
But, between Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Judge, which of the two would you say was more valuable to his team?
Judge riveted the attention of baseball fans throughout the season in his well-documented journey to overtake Roger Maris for the American League single-season home run mark.
Judge’s 62 homers not only topped Maris’ total of 61 set in 1961 but the Yankees standout netted 16 more homers than anyone else in the Majors — a gap that hadn’t been seen since Jimmie Foxx of the Philadelphia Athletics enjoyed a 17-homer cushion in leading the Majors in 1932.
Judge, who joins Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez as Yankees who have earned the Hank Aaron Award, threatened to be MLB’s first Triple Crown winner since Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers in 2012.
Besides being at the top in home runs, the Yankees right fielder tacked on MLB bests this season for runs scored (131), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686), total bases (391) and OPS (1.111). Judge finished tied with Pete Alonso of the New York Mets in RBI with 131.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Goldschmidt had a banner year as well at the plate in winning his second Hank Aaron Award. He also claimed the honor in 2013 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The first baseman led the NL in slugging percentage (.578) and OPS (.981). He was also among the league leaders in runs scored (106), RBI (115), total bases (324) and on-base percentage (.404). Goldschmidt batted .317 while compiling a 25-game hitting streak in 2022. He also added 35 homers (not including a booming home run in this year’s All-Star Game).
So, which of the two, was more valuable to his team?
Judge helped the Yankees to a tremendous start (40-15) this season on the way to New York capturing the AL East Division crown with a 99-63 record. The Yankees then defeated Cleveland in the ALDS before falling to eventual World Series champion Houston in the ALCS in a four-game sweep, causing plenty of angst in New York.
Goldschmidt was a key performer in St. Louis carding a 93-69 ledger to win the NL Central crown by 7.0 games over Milwaukee (interestingly, the Yankees finished 7.0 games ahead of AL East Division runner-up Toronto).
The Cardinals then were swept in two games by eventual NL pennant winner Philadelphia in the Wild Card Series.
Individual accomplishments aside, teamwise, New York did go deeper into the playoffs before being eliminated. Ironically, both the Yankees and the Cardinals were eliminated by World Series participants in their respective leagues.
Judge and the Yankees achieved their season feats at venerable Yankee Stadium in the media mecca of the Big Apple; Goldschmidt and the Cardinals accomplished their results nearly 1,000 miles away in the shadows of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
Would the Yankees have finished as they did without Judge and, likewise, would the Cardinals have accomplished what they did without Goldschmidt?
This call is so close we might just have to go to MLB instant replay review for a final determination.