Offensively, he performed similarly to Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but his excellent numbers as a pitcher made it a cakewalk for voters.
This time, however, Ohtani is once again putting up huge numbers as both a pitcher and a hitter, but New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge has been a superior offensive force.
This time, at the very least, there won’t be a unanimous winner.
Whoever takes home the award will have to sweat for it.
We wouldn’t say there is a huge favorite several steps ahead of the other: Judge and Ohtani both have a very good chance to win.
What does Ohtani think about the 2022 AL MVP race?
He talked about it with The Athletic’s Sam Blum.
“Shohei Ohtani on MVP race with Aaron Judge: ‘It definitely leads to motivation for me to do better — trying to go for that hardware. It’s something I think about. But for the most part, I take it game-by-game, at-bat, by at-bat. At the end of the day, we’ll count it all up,'” he stated, per Blum.
Shohei Ohtani on MVP race with Aaron Judge:
"It definitely leads to motivation for me to do better — trying to go for that hardware. It's something I think about. But for the most part, I take it game-by-game, at-bat, by at-bat. At the end of the day, we'll count it all up."
— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) September 1, 2022
Ohtani Is Performing Like An MVP Candidate
He talked about his part of the job exclusively, and not about Judge.
Ohtani can only control his performance, which has been stellar.
As a hitter, he is slashing .269/.359/.529 with 30 home runs, 75 runs, 82 RBI, and 11 steals; plus 3.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
If we also consider his 2.67 ERA in 128 frames as a pitcher, and his 4.0 fWAR, we have a 7.2-WAR player.
Judge is slashing .296/.399/.664 with 51 round-trippers, 104 runs, 113 RBI, and 15 thefts.
His WAR is a league-leading 8.3.
However, Ohtani has done it while occupying just one roster spot and while giving his team a bonafide ace.
It’s definitely one of the toughest races in recent seasons.