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MLB MVP race 2022: Aaron Judge, Nolan Arenado

Matt Johnson
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Who will win MLB MVP in 2022? Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani won AL MVP and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper took home his second NL MVP honor in 2021.

Major League Baseball is the only American professional sport that wards two MVP awards, one to each conference. It allows two players to take home a prestigious honor, joining some of the best players in MLB history with the coveted award on their trophy case.

Bookmark this page for updates on the MLB MVP race throughout the season, including the latest odds and analysis.

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AL MVP watch: Shohei Ohtani passes Yordan Alvarez

MLB: Home Run Derby
Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Here is Sportsnaut’s breakdown of the 2022 MLB MVP race so far. Each candidate is ranked based on a variety of factors. Those factors include stats, team performance, lineup factors and probability of the overall production being sustained.

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MLB stats as of Wednesday, August 10

AL MVP race

1.Aaron Judge.303/.393/.6751.06844982967.1
2.Shohei Ohtani.256/.348/.501.84925661366.2 (total)
3.Yordan Alvarez.297/.403/.6301.03330731894.8
4.Rafael Devers.310/.367/.586.95424601624.6

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

On pace to shatter the Roger Maris home run record (61), New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is really starting to run away with AL MVP honors. He cooled off a bit at the plate early this summer, but he currently leads the American League in wRC+ (303), SLG (.956) and home runs (11) since the second half. Really, the only question is how many votes Judge wins by.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani jumps ahead of Yordan Alvarez on our ballot this week, but the gap from Judge is still significant. There’s no denying that Ohtani is the most valuable player in all of baseball, he’s a Cy Young candidate who will also hit 30-plus homers. However, record and context matter. On a losing team under far less pressure to perform than Judge, that’s the difference here.

Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros

Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is enjoying a fantastic season. One of the best hitters in baseball, he is still hitting for power despite playing through a wrist issue right now. With that said, a .254/.395/.525 line since the All-Star Break is pushing Alvarez a lot further behind Judge in the MLB MVP race.

Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox

As the Boston Red Sox dip below .500, the odds for Rafael Devers even appearing in the top-three on AL MVP ballots diminishes. He’s enjoying a phenomenal season and he might be receiving a little more buzz if the players around him could deliver. Ultimately, this should just be remembered as the year Devers became a superstar.

NL MVP race: Austin Riley makes case for MVP honors

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

MLB stats as of Wednesday, August 10

1.Nolan Arenado.300/.369/.550.91922691575.8
2.Paul Goldschmidt.329/.413/.6091.02226841865.3
3.Austin Riley.298/.359/.594.95430741604.7
4.Freddie Freeman.323/.400/.524.92315711575.0

Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals

Nolan Arenado surges past his teammate in the NL MVP race. The All-Star third baseman was already one of the best defenders in baseball, maintaining that historic level of greatness even into his 30s. Since the All-Star Break, though, Arenado is slashing .347/.429/.714 with a 214 wRC+ and that pushes him past Paul Goldschmidt.

Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

The battle for MVP honors could really come down to the wire between two teammates. Offensively, Goldschmidt’s numbers are superior to his fellow Cardinal this season. It’s also not like he is struggling at the dish, boasting a .319/.411/.745 slash since the ASB. Ultimately, the nod goes to Arenado because of the value he adds defensively.

Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves

Austin Riley recently tied Hank Aaron’s franchise record for the fastest player to reach 30 doubles and 30 home runs in a season. It’s a credit to Riley, who is once again transforming himself into a perennial MLB MVP candidate. Since June 1, the Atlanta Braves star holds a .333/.385/.671 slash line with 18 home runs, 49 RBI and a 186 wRC+

Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers

There’s a strong case to be made for several players on the ballot. Freddie Freeman is leading the best team in baseball and that’s certainly going to earn him a few more MVP votes. In addition, the 2020 NL MVP ranks third in FanGraphs WAR. Ultimately, this comes down to those above him just performing at a higher level as of late.

Related: Top MLB free agents of 2023 – Aaron Judge, Nolan Arenado surge as MVP candidates

Check below for our evaluation of the MLB MVP predictions and race heading into the season.

MLB MVP odds 2022: Who will win Most Valuable Player?

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Washington Nationals
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Who will win MLB MVP in 2022? We look at the latest odds from BetMGM, looking at the top candidates who could win the AL and NL MVP awards this season. While he’s not quite as elite in that spot defensively, he still earned a 3.2 Defensive rating from FanGraphs with three Defensive Runs Saved in 211 innings. On top of the defensive value, Edman is the best base runner in MLB and he’s outstanding atop the lineup. Combine the defense, versatility, base-running impact and offensive production together, it gives you an MVP candidate.

Related: 2022 MLB predictions

2022 American League MVP odds

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels+350
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels+400
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays+500
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox+1800
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees+2000
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox+2000
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays+2000
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins+2000
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians+2500
Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros+2500
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros+2500
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros+3000
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays+3000
Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins+4000
  • Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels – It’s understandable why Ohtani is the favorite to win AL MVP. It’s not even because he is the reigning award recipient. Ohtani can be among the MLB leaders in home runs and OPS, all while posting a stellar ERA with a high strikeout rate. With that said, we haven’t seen a back-to-back MLB MVP since 2012-’13 (Miguel Cabrera) and Ohtani comes with injury risks. However, he is the best player in baseball and it comes as no surprise he is favorite for MLB MVP.
  • Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels – Turning 31 in August, Mike Trout last played 140-plus games in 2018. That’s not to say he can’t win AL MVP, this is still the best position player in MLB. However, Ohtani’s presence could lead to the teammates splitting votes. So, Trout won’t be the AL MVP candidate we’re betting on right now.
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays –Among the favorites to win AL MVP, Guerrero Jr. would be our pick. The expanded MLB playoffs mean missing the postseason, a negative for some voters, won’t be an issue. So, you have a slugger capable of winning the AL batting title and leading the league in home runs. Frankly, Vladito is a legitimate threat for the Triple Crown. Ranked third in AL MVP odds, Guerrero Jr. is our favorite to win the award.
  • Aaron Judge, New York Yankees – It all comes down to durability for Aaron Judge. He played 155 games in 2017 and finished with 55 homers and 128 RBIs. Ever since, IL stints have become a yearly problem. The odds make him a reasonable bet, but the likelihood he stays healthy is low.
  • Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox – Devers will certainly make a case for AL MVP if he maintains his production from 2021 (38 home runs, 214 runs produced, .538 SLG), but he needs the Red Sox to win the AL East. Otherwise, the division winner will likely have a player more deserving.
  • Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays – There’s a very strong possibility Franco wins an AL MVP in his career. However, a 21-year-old without great power (right now) and who won’t be competing for a batting crown this year, probably doesn’t finish top-10 in AL MVP voting.
  • Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox – No one should be expecting the version of Robert we saw in the second half of the 2021 season. The .350/.389/.622 slash line simply isn’t achievable for a player with a high strikeout rate. However, Robert is fully capable of hitting 30 home runs with 20 steals and 160 runs produced. If the White Sox finish near the top of the AL, Robert could take home MVP. Bet on him now while the odds are still great.
  • Darkhorse: Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros (+3500) – The Astros will be strong favorites to win the AL West and Tucker proved for a large stretch of the season he can be the best player in the lineup. Capable of hitting 30-plus home runs with 20 steals, 100 RBIs and a high OPS, Tucker’s odds make him a great bet for MLB MVP.

2022 National League MVP odds

Juan Soto, Washington Nationals+300
Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves+700
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals+900
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers+1000
Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers+1200
Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers+1600
Francisco Lindor, New York Mets+2000
Fernando Tatís Jr., San Diego Padres+2500
Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves+2500
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves+3000
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals+3000
Pete Alonso, New York Mets+3000
Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers+3300
  • Juan Soto, Washington Nationals – Soto is the best hitter in baseball and it’s not really a debate. The Nationals won’t win their division, but Soto can post an OBP near .500 with 30-plus home runs and carry this team to a Wild Card spot. If he does that, he’ll meet the very definition of MVP.
  • Fernando Tatís Jr., San Diego Padres – Similar to Ohtani and Judge, durability is the most important factor for Tatís Jr. Sadly, the point is already proven. Sidelined until June with a fractured wrist, Tatis Jr’s odds to win MLB MVP take a massive shot. Bet on someone else.
  • Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves – Acuña should be fully recovered from his torn ACL on Opening Day, but there is always the possibility that he isn’t quite the same level of athlete in his first year back. More time spent at DH with fewer steals could hurt his chances, but a 30-30 season also might win NL MVP.
  • Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies – Voter fatigue is real. As a two-time NL MVP, Harper has history working against him. Few believe the Phillies are the team to beat in their division and that will also work against Harper. We’re not willing to bet on him winning it this year, but not because he won’t be deserving.
  • Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers –After signing with the Dodgers, there’s a strong case to be made for Freeman to win MVP outside the current favorites. He’s going to be in a phenomenal lineup and playing for the best team in MLB. If the Dodgers get 30-plus home runs and a .950 OPS out of him, voters might choose him over a repeat (Harper) and a player on a non-contender (Soto).
  • Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – Playing for the best team in baseball in a big market, Betts already boasts two huge factors working in his favor. We haven’t seen the best version of him as of late, but the talent to hit 30 home runs with a .280-plus average for the No.1 team in the NL could sway voters.
  • Francisco Lindor, New York Mets – It seems Mets fans are putting money on the line to get those NL MVP odds up for Lindor. It’s a bad bet. We haven’t seen that 30-homer and 20-steal player since 2019 and nothing suggests it’s returning. Spend those dollars betting on other darkhorse MLB MVP candidates.
  • Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves – Moving from Oakland to Atlanta is a huge boost for Olson’s shot at an MLB MVP award. He’s a great bet to hit 40-plus home runs and drive in 100-plus RBI. If you combine that with Gold Glove defense at first for a division champ, that will earn a lot of MVP votes.
  • Darkhorse: Max Scherzer, New York Mets (+4000) – The new face of the Mets’ rotation, Scherzer will be asked to do even more for the reasons mentioned above. He’s in the big market, will post numbers worthy of a Cy Young award and the extra attention for a potential division champ might earn him MVP.

When is MLB MVP announced?

MLB: American League at National League
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MLB announced the 2021 AL and NL MVP recipients on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2021. An official announcement date for the 2022 MLB awards isn’t determined as of March, but the expectation is both MLB MVP awards will be handed out in November.

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Recent MLB MVP winners

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani won AL MVP in 2021, taking home all 30 first=place votes. Bryce Harper won his second MVP award, receiving 17 first-place votes.

Here are some of the past MLB MVP winners.

  • 2021 – AL MVP – Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
  • 2021 – NL MVP – Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
  • 2020 – AL MVP – José Abreu, Chicago White Sox
  • 2020 – NL MVP – Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
  • 2019 – AL MVP – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
  • 2019 – NL MVP – Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 2018 – AL MVP – Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
  • 2018 – NL MVP – Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
  • 2017 – AL MVP – Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
  • 2017 – NL MVP – Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

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