Who will win MLB MVP in 2023? New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt took home the honors last year. Now, we look ahead to the 2023 season with an outlook analyzing the National League and American League candidates for the MLB MVP race.
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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Let’s evaluate the field of 2023 MLB MVP candidates through the first month of the season. All MLB stats for the AL and NL MVP candidates are as of June 1.
NL MVP: Freddie Freeman overtakes Ronald Acuña Jr
|2||Ronald Acuña Jr||.324/.406/.554||.960||22||31||157||2.7||2.9|
- Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers – Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman is the front-runner for NL MVP. In May, he posted a 1.184 OPS with a .400/.462/.722 slash line, 26 RBI and Los Angeles went 18-10 with him in the lineup. Freeman already has an MLB MVP award on his mantle and should be neck-and-neck with Acuña all year.
- Ronald Acuña Jr, Atlanta Braves – After leading the NL MVP race through the first two months of the season, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. loses the pole position. he was still excellent in May – .298/.372/.561 with a 147 wRC+ – but that falls well short of Freeman’s numbers. With that said Acuña can get hot at any time and reclaim his position in the NL MVP hunt.
- Sean Murphy, Atlanta Braves – There’s a valid debate in the National League centered on Sean Murphy vs Will Smith. The Los Angeles Dodgers catcher is playing at an All-Star level thus far – 2.0 fWAR, .957 IOS and 160 wRC+ – but Murphy (2.8 fWAR), .951 OPS) has been just as good at the plate and even better defensively (4 Catcher Framing Runs). It gives him the edge on our NL MVP ballot.
- Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks – The Arizona Diamondbacks have one of the best records in baseball and that warrants their best player getting NL MVP consideration. As a rookie, Corbin Carroll consistently produces at the plate and boasts one of the best slash lines in baseball. We’re not seeing a rookie win MLB MVP this year, but Carroll’s impact on Arizona warrants recognition.
- Juan Soto, San Diego Padres – While the San Diego Padres are struggling, Juan Soto is erupting at the plate. He posted the second-highest wRC+ (202) in May, tacking on a 1.114 OPS with a .482 OBP. The remarkable thing about Soto is that even in the instances where he isn’t hitting for a ton of power, he still walks (21.8% walk rate) more than anyone.
AL MVP: Aaron Judge leads Wander Franco, Marcus Semien
- Aaron Judge, New York Yankees – Aaron Judge is the favorite to win AL MVP right now. Since his return from a brief stint on the injured list, the New York Yankees are 14-7 with him in the lineup. Unsurprisingly, Judge posted a 1.356 OPS with 12 home runs, 25 RBI and 20 walks in May alone. In 2022, Judge entered June with a 1.029 OPS, 18 home runs, 38 RBI and a .303/.371/.657 slash line heading into June. Incredibly the reigning AL MVP is on that pace again.
- Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays – Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco went through a cold stretch in early May, posting a .257/.312/.386 slash with a 98 wRC+ in the first 77 plate appearances. He quickly dug himself out of that slump, posting a 163 wRC+ with a .368/.444/.474 slash to close out the month. Franco won’t have the counting stats to match Judge, but defense and a better record could make a difference for some voters.
- Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers – Marcus Semien loses some ground in the MLB MVP race thanks to a two-week stretch that delivered a .279/.319/.488 slash line. The 32-year-old infielder seems to be regressing back to the norm, but he still boasts the overall line and defense to be the starting second baseman in the MLB All-Star Game.
- Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels – When Shohei Ohtani is at his best, he’s the leader for AL MVP. He hit eight home runs in May, but it came with a .243/.333/.534 slash line. Those are still sufficient numbers, but his impact as a two-way player also isn’t as great when he posts a 4.06 ERA with a 1.74 HR/9 in his last five starts. Ohtani can turn it around on any given day, so we’re betting on him being an MVP candidate through September.
- Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays – Judge got all the attention for a blistering May, but Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette was also outstanding. He posted a .342/.378/.533 slash line in the last month and has easily overtaken Matt Chapman on the Blue Jays’ leaderboard for AL MVP.
Who is leading the MLB MVP race?
Freddie Freeman and Aaron Judge are leading the MLB MVP race through the first two months of the season. Judge is the reigning NL MVP and Freeman won NL MVP in 2020.
Who is favored to win AL MVP?
Shohei Ohtani (-130) is currently favored to win AL MVP in 2023, per BetMGM. Right behind Ohtani in the AL MVP odds is Aaron Judge (+500) followed by Mike Trout (+2000).
MLB MVP odds 2023:Who will win Most Valuable Player?
Unsurprisingly, the MLB MVP race this year will feature a lot of familiar names including perennial All-Star selections, All-MLB First Team nominees and former MVP winners. While there is a heavy favorite in the American League, the National League is more of a wide-open race with World Series contenders boasting the early front-runners.
The latest 2023 MLB MVP odds are via BetMGM.
NL MVP odds 2023: Evaluating the National League MVP candidates
|Ronald Acuña Jr||+900|
|Fernando Tatīs Jr||+1000|
- Juan Soto, San Diego Padres – An NL MVP favorite last year, Juan Soto didn’t quite meet expectations. However, he still boasted a league-high 20.3% walk rate with 27 home runs, a 145 wRC+ and a .401 OBP. Parked in the heart of one of the best lineups in MLB, Soto is an easy bet for 30-plus homers and a return to a .280 batting average and 160 wRC+ can win him MVP on a playoff team.
- Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – Mookie Betts hasn’t posted a batting average over a full season since 2019, which slightly diminishes his chances of taking home MVP. However, he is a lock for 100-plus runs scored, 90-plus RBIs and could hit 30 homers with a 140 wRC+ and may finish as a Gold Glove Award finalist. If he’s the best player on the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, that might be good enough to take home the honor.
- Fernando Tatīs Jr., San Diego Padres – Fernando Tatis Jr. is eligible to return from suspension on April 20, so his stats should keep him in line with other NL MVP candidates. He last hit 42 home runs with a 157 wRC+ and 25 steals in 2021, which if replicated might earn him MVP this upcoming season. However, the PED suspension might swing enough voters to give the honor to an equally-deserving player.
- Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals – We haven’t seen a player win consecutive MLB MVP awards since Miguel Cabrera (2012-’13). Considering Paul Goldschmidt is now 35 years old, history suggests the odds of him repeating are extremely low. Projected for a regression in OPS and home runs, Goldschmidt likely won’t be an MVP finalist.
- Ronald Acuña Jr, Atlanta Braves – Ronald Acuña Jr. battled some issues in his first season back from a torn ACL, with a lack of power output becoming the biggest problem. A full offseason to get healthy and make adjustments should allow him to return to the caliber of player who can deliver a 30-30 season. Acuña Jr. is one of the most talented players in MLB and if he returns to his peak with the Atlanta Braves winning the division, he deserves MVP.
AL MVP odds 2023: Best American League MVP candidates
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||+1500|
- Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels – It took a season for the ages and the Los Angeles Angels finishing under .500 for Shohei Ohtani to not win AL MVP in 2022. While predicting the Angels to make the playoffs is risky, it’s safe to assume there won’t be another Judge-like season. If that’s the case, the player who hits 35-plus home runs with a 150 wRC+ and strikes out 200 batters with a sub-3.0 ERA is the Most Valuable Player in baseball.
- Aaron Judge, New York Yankees – Aaron Judge had a season for the ages and his return to the New York Yankees is the best move for both his career and stats. However, Judge just delivered one of the best single-season performances in MLB history and his career numbers prior to 2022 (..276/.386/.554, 6.4% HR rate) suggest regression is coming for the 31-year-old. Based on that and the lack of back-to-back MLB MVP winners in recent years, it’s best to bet on someone else.
- Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels – Mike Trout could become just the second player in MLB history to win four MVP awards. However, the 31-year-old is stuck on a fringe playoff team and he hasn’t played in 120-plus games since 2019. If you could guarantee Trout plays 120-plus games this year and the Angels are a Wild Card team, Trout would be our runner-up.
- Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners – The reigning AL Rookie of the Year, Julio Rodriguez looked like a perennial MLB MVP candidate in his first season with the Seattle Mariners. While plate discipline will always be a concern, he’s a 30-30 threat right now who can combine for 200 runs produced. Seattle’s lineup is improved and the budding star should be among the sleepers to win AL MVP in 2023.
- Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros – Before suffering a hand injury that impacted him in the second half; of the season, Yordan Alvarez slashed .306/.405/.653 with a 196 wRC+ and 26 home runs, neck-and-neck with Judge in our AL MVP race. However, the 2022 season showed that even if Alvarez is healthy for a full season, voters hold his status as a designated hitter against him and that has to be remembered when looking at the field this year.
MLB MVP 2022 results
Who is the AL MVP?
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge won AL MVP in 2022, becoming the first Yankees’ player since Alex Rodriguez (2007) to win MVP honors.
Here’s a breakdown on how I would’ve voted in the MLB MVP races 2022, starting with AL MVP followed by NL MVP.
AL MVP race
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is the AL MVP. While Shohei Ohtani put up a phenomenal fight this season, Judge delivered a caliber of historical greatness that will rightfully go down as one of the best seasons in MLB history.
Related: Aaron Judge home run tracker
Use whatever stats you want. Judge is the first player in MLB history with 60-plus home runs, 90-plus walks and 15-plus steals in a season. He entered Saturday with the ninth-highest FanGraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (10.7) since 1950.
There is also so much more to consider from the star who is on the verge of becoming just the fifth Triple Crown winner in the last 75 years. Judge hit 60 home runs in a season when no other player sniffed 50. All of this in a contract year, betting on himself and delivering in historic fashion. If all of that isn’t enough, a 266 wRC+ in the second half (no other player above 185), 20.3% walk rate and 27 home runs in the second half solidify Judge as MLB MVP.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani wins AL MVP in any other season. The two-way phenom delivered a season like we’ve never seen before. He is the first player since 1900 to face 600 batters and have 600-plus plate appearances (Sarah Langs). He struck out 200-plus batters this season and was part of the 30-homer club, something no other player in MLB history has ever come close to approaching.
Incredibly, Ohtani saved his best stuff for the second half. Entering September 24, Ohtani boasted a .291/.374/.612 slash line with 15 home runs and a 170 wRC+ since the All-Star Break. On the mound, Ohtani sports a 2.59 ERA with a 10.91 K/9, 29.6% strikeout rate and .229 batting average allowed in the second half.
AL MVP ballots should be relatively close, Judge shouldn’t be a unanimous selection. Ohtani’s exceptional play both on the mound and in the batter’s box makes him the best player in MLB. Ultimately, it just isn’t enough to win a second consecutive AL MVP award in a year like this.
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NL MVP race: Nolan Arenado vs Paul Goldschmidt
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
The NL MVP vote makes for a great debate, with voters asked to weigh if they prefer defense or offense more. There is no wrong choice, it’s a matter of preference, but the choice here is awarding NL MVP to Nolan Arenado.
Look at what the 31-year-old accomplished this season. He is ranks third in Fielding Bibles’ Defensive Runs Saved (18) among players with 1,000-plus innings played. In addition, Arenado boasts the sixth-highest Outs Above Average (14), all while playing one of the most important defensive positions in baseball.
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All of that is incredibly valuable for a team that is so dependent on its pitching and defense. Arenado makes life so much easier for his teammate on the mound, saving runs and routinely creating outs or erasing extra-base hits.
On top of this, Arenado has the third-highest wRC+ (151), the fourth-best slugging percentage (.535) and is on pace for a 30-homer and 100-RBI season. When you combine all of that with his fielding, Arenado is our NL MVP.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
It won’t be surprising if Paul Goldschmidt wins NL MVP. Entering the weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman leads the National League in slugging (.591), fWAR (7.1), wRC+ (181) and ranks second in RBI (112) and isolated power (.271)
Here’s the argument against Goldschmidt. He is slashing .235/.342/.412 in September with a 119 wRC+ and seven RBIs in his last 79 plate appearances. All of this has come at a time when the Cardinals’ lineup desperately needs a spark.
Defensively, he ranks 10th among first basemen (500-plus innings) in Defensive Runs Saved (two) and is 33rd in Outs Above Average (-7). That’s enough to give Arenado the nod over Goldschmidt.
Check below for our evaluation of the MLB MVP predictions and race heading into the season.
MLB MVP history and FAQ
Here’s everything you need to know about the MLB MVP awards, including its history and when it is announced by Major League Baseball.
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Why does baseball have 2 MVPs?
There are two MLB MVP awards because Major League Baseball provides awards for both the American League and the National League. Just like with MVP, there are AL & NL honors for the Cy Young Award, Comeback Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and Reliever of the Year.
MLB MVP winners: Who is the 2022 MLB MVP?
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge won MLB MVP honors in 2022. Goldschmidt beat teammate Nolan Arenado, the runner-up for NL MVP, while Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani finished as the AL MVP runner-up.
- 2022 – AL MVP – Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
- 2022 – NL MVP – Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
- 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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Who has the most MVPs in MLB?
Barry Bonds won seven MLB MVP awards during his career. The San Francisco Giants icon holds the MLB record for most MVPs, winning them in 1990, ’92, ’92 and 2001-’04.
Who is the youngest MLB MVP winner?
Johnny Bench is the youngest player to win MLB MVP. The former Cincinnati Reds catcher won MVP in 1970 at the age of 22 years and 26 days old, just surpassing Vida Blue (22 years, 3 months and 30 days in 1971). During that 1970 season, Bench hit 45 home runs with 148 RBIs a .293 batting average and a .932 OPS.
Who votes for MLB MVP?
The Baseball Writers Association of America votes for MLB MVP. There are 60 total voters for MVP honors, with 30 voting for the National League MVP and another 30 voting for the American League MVP.
Who has 3 MLB MVPs?
There have been 11 players in baseball history to win three MVPs. Most recently, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout became the latest player to win his third AL MVP. Before that, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez became the first players to do it since Barry Bonds.
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MLB players with three MVPs
- Barry Bonds – 7 – 1990, ’92, ’92, 2001-’04
- Mike Trout – 3 – 2014, ’16, ’19
- Alex Rodriguez – 3 – 2003, ’05, ’07
- Albert Pujols – 3 – 2005, ’08, ’09
- Mike Schmidt – 3 – 1980, ’81, ’86
- Yogi Berra – 3 – 1951, ’54, ’55
- Stan Musial – 3 – 1943, ’46, ’48
- Mickey Mantle – 3 – 1956, ’57, ’62
- Roy Campanella – 3 – 1951, ’53, ’55
- Joe Dimaggio – 3 – 1939, ’41, ’47
- Jimmie Foxx – 1932, ’33, ’38