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MLB MVP race 2022: Aaron Judge jumps ahead in MVP hunt

Matt Johnson

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.

MLB MVP watch: Rafael Devers, Paul Goldschmidt join the race

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox
Brian Fluharty-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.

MLB stats as of Sunday, May 22

AL MVP race

Pos:PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGOPSHome RunsRBIwRC+oWAR
1.Aaron Judge.307/.384/.6571.04114302012.3
2.Mike Trout.310/.422/.6671.08911242132.5
3.Jose Ramirez.287/.380/.588.9689371812.0
4.Rafael Devers.385/.500/.7471.2478221772.2

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Aaron Judge moves to No. 1 in the MLB MVP race thanks a phenomenal May and the Yankees sitting atop the MLB standings. Entering the final week this month, Stanton held a stellar 1.131 OPS with a 223 wRC+, eight home runs and 17 RBIs. Paired with his defensive work, pushing him just ahead of teammate Giancarlo Stanton, Judge becomes the favorite for AL MVP.

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout is deserving of AL MVP right now, but Judge is having the better month and the Angels are fluctuating in the standings. A 1.039 OPS and 197 wRC+ in May is still stellar, but Trout will have to take a backseat in the MLB MVP watch for now. We’re looking ahead to May 29 – June when, when Judge and Trout square off at Yankee Stadium.

Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians

Jose Ramirez is devoted to Cleveland, turning down a trade and more money elsewhere to stay with the Guardians. Unfortunately, it might also cost him the 2022 AL MVP award. The 28-year-old is delivering elite production at the plate, but Cleveland is further down the standings and there is less help around JoRam this season than other MVP favorites. If Cleveland keeps sliding, Ramirez will lose even more ground in the race.

Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are starting to find their way back into the postseason picture and Rafael Devers is the biggest reason why. Heading into May 22, the star third baseman led MLB in wRC+ (246) and OPS (1.201) in May. He was already one of the best third basemen in baseball and now he’s in the hunt for MVP honors.

NL MVP race

Pos:PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGOPSHome RunsRBIwRC+oWAR
1.Manny Machado.358/.430/.5761.0068251862.6
2.Paul Goldschmidt.342/.409/.566.9756291792.0
3.Jazz Chisholm Jr.290/.336/.581.9167271571.5
4.Mookie Betts.273/.360/.513.8749231501.4

Manny Machado, San Diego Padres

Few expected Manny Machado to be an MLB MVP candidate in 2022, let alone the favorite to win. Without Fernando TatΔ«s Jr, the San Diego Padres are being carried by the co-star who often was viewed last year as a supporting actor. That belief is changing and Machado will see even better pitches once Tatis rejoins the lineup.

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

Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

Nolan Arenado slips out of the MLB MVP watch, but Paul Goldschmidt takes his place as representation for the St. Louis Cardinals. Even without league-leading power output, Goldschmidt is creating plenty of runs and getting on base at an absurdly high rate. Of course, he is facing competition for NL MVP votes from Arenado and Tommy Edman.

Jazz Chisholm Jr, Miami Marlins

Jazz Chisholm certainly won’t win the honors this year, but he deserves some appreciation in the MLV MVP race. The 24-year-old is thriving this season, despite not having a great lineup around him. He’s earned a reputation as a clutch hitter and the stats warrant some NL MVP votes through the first two months of the season.

Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers

On the surface, the 2022 stats for Mookie Betts don’t look like they belong in the MVP discussion. However, the former AL MVP overcame a cold start and posted a 184 wRC+ and .316/.369/.645 slash line in May, the player Los Angeles expected when it acquired him. Paired with his defensive value, Betts is now an MLB MVP candidate.

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.

Related: 2022 MLB predictions

2022 American League MVP odds

PlayerOdds:
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

PlayerOdds:
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 TatΓ­s 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 TatΓ­s Jr., San Diego Padres – Similar to Ohtani and Judge, durability is the most important factor for TatΓ­s 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 AcuΓ±a Jr., Atlanta Braves – AcuΓ±a 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.

Related: MLB games today – MLB schedule, TV info, scores and key dates

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 – JosΓ© 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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