Shohei Ohtani follows MVP season with a great year, but he’s no judge of Aaron

Posted on: September 18, 2022, 04:58h.

Last update on: September 18, 2022, 04:58h.

Aaron Judge threw homers No. 58 and 59 of the season Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee, further cementing the New York Yankees slugger’s case to be the American League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) this year. However, Shohei Ohtani, the reigning MVP, isn’t ready to give up his crown just yet.

Shohei Ohtani (17) circles the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals June 21 at Angel Stadium. Despite his brilliance at home plate and on the mound this season, he remains far from repeating as the AL MVP this season, thanks to Aaron Judge’s historic season. (Image: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Angels two-way star shone at home plate and the mound in the Halos’ 2-1 playoff win over Seattle. Ohtani threw seven shutout innings, limiting the Mariners to three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He also went 1-2 with an RBI brace, a walk and a run scored.

No one has ever done what Ohtani did at the major league level. Last year he hit 46 homers with a .965 OPS (percent on base plus slugging) while posting a 9-2 record as a pitcher with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130 innings. launched.

This year, his 34 home runs rank fourth in the AL, and his 2.43 ERA is good for fifth. He also struck out 196 batters, good for third place in the AL. It’s an impressive sequel to the MVP campaign.

Angels interim manager Phil Nevin, a former Yankees coach, told reporters after the game Saturday night that Ohtani’s unique abilities as a hitter and pitcher make him baseball’s most valuable player, and even Ohtani seems impressed with what he has put together this season.

I don’t like to criticize myself at all,” Ohtani told reporters through an interpreter after the game. “One thing I could say is that overall, in terms of balance, I’ve had a better season this year than last year.”

Normally, what Ohtani does would be good enough to become the 14th player in MLB history — and the first since Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and 2013 — to win back-to-back MVP trophies.


Ohtani’s head judge season

But Judge is producing its own landmark season this year. His two homers Sunday, in a 4-on-5 game, put him on the pace to hit 65 and break the AL and Yankee team record of 61 set by Roger Maris 61 years ago.

He also came in Sunday leading the AL in several other major offensive categories, including on-base percentage (.415), slugging percentage (.687), OPS (1.102), runs scored 119 and RBI (123). His .312 batting average is also third in the league, giving him outside shooting in a rare triple crown season. Cabrera had the last in 2012, and the last before that in 1967.

Perhaps more importantly, Judge entered Sunday with a 9.2 win rating above replacement (WAR) this season according to Baseball Reference. Ohtani’s WAR, which factors in both his throwing and striking, is 8.7. At FanGraphs, it’s a wider gap between the two, with Judge at 9.9 and Ohtani at 8.6. Both are exceptional and are easily the top two of the majors this season. However, it also shows how valuable Judge has been to the Yankees this season.

Another factor in favor of the judge is the success of the team. He is the best player on the team leading the AL East, while Ohtani’s Angels played 19 games under the .500 mark on Sunday.

The odds are squarely in the judge’s favor

In most sportsbooks, Judge is the heavy favorite to win the AL MVP title. At FanDuel, the Yanks star is currently available at -6000, meaning a $100 bet would return $1.67. BetMGM and PointsBet are offering Judge at -5000 which would produce a return of $2 on a $100 bet.

For the value bettor, Caesars offers Judge at -2500.

Last week, PointsBet announced that it would pay punters who held bets placed on Judge.

Of course, the MVP is not determined by statistics. It’s decided by voters at the end of the regular season. So Ohtani still has a few more weeks to sway voters, even if the odds, literally, seem against it.

But for those who think Ohtani has a chance, he’s available at +1500 at FanDuel and BetMGM.