The Yankees’ Aaron Judge capped a historic season with the AL MVP award

Aaron Judge He etched a permanent place in the memories of baseball fans when he established the American League single-season home run record and chased the Triple Crown. Now, he has the ultimate accolade to top his historic 2022.

The New York Yankees slugger was crowned the AL Most Valuable Player Thursday night, beating Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels and Yordan Alvarez Houston Astros. He was the first Yankees outfielder to win the award since Mickey Mandel in 1962.

Judge received 28 first-place votes and 410 points, while Ohtani (280) won by 130 points. Ohtani is the only two other players to take the top spot. Alvarez had 232 points to finish third.

Judge led the AL in several offensive categories, including home runs (62), RBIs (131), slugging percentage (.686), on-base percentage (.425), OPS+ (211) and total bases (391). He previously finished as AL MVP runner-up in 2017, when he was the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year.

He became the fourth major league player to hit more than 62 homers in a single season, joining Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998, 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 63 in 1999). . He fell just five points shy of the Minnesota Twins infielder (.311). Luis Ares For the batting title, this would have completed the triple crown.

A season the MVP honor caps, as he enters the final year of his contract, began with chaos in contract negotiations with the Yankees. The judge set a self-imposed deadline of the opening day to negotiate a possible extension, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman then took the unusual step of publicly revealing the terms of the contract a team judge had awarded — an eight-year, $230.5 million extension. Judge declined the offer, expecting big things if he hits the free agent market after this season.

The season got off to a relatively slow start for Judge, hitting six homers in 75 at-bats in April. But when the calendar turned to May, the judge departed. The Yankees outfielder hit 12 homers that month, 11 in June, 13 in July, nine in August and 10 in September, tied for 62nd on the final day of the October regular season. Judge’s 157 games played in 2022 were his best since his rookie season, the previous best year of his career by bWAR (8.1).

Judge’s consistency month after month has served as the backbone of the New York offense. At the end of the season, they were second in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers with 807 runs scored.

As Judge approached Roger Morris’ AL record of 61 homers, each of his games became an event. In both games at Yankee Stadium and on the road, fans rose to their feet every time he stepped into the batter’s box and stood for every pitch. Members of the Yankees sought seats on the top step of the dugout to get a spot to watch their teammate make history.

Judge hit a record 61st home run. On September 28, the Toronto Blue Jays picked up the reliever. Team Maisa Deep into the seventh inning game no. Yankees at 155. The history-making homer ended a seven-game home run drought.

No. 62 didn’t arrive until Oct. 4, the Yankees’ second-to-last game of the season. The Texas Rangers have a record at pitcher Jesus TinocoA leadoff shot to left field.

While Judge put together a regular-season record for the record book, he came up short in the postseason, a season-worst stretch as the Yankees played the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Division Series and the Astros in the AL Championship Series. In nine games, Judge hit .139/.184/.306 with two homers in five hits in nine games. The eventual World Series champion Astros ended the Yankees’ season with a four-game sweep in the ALCS.

Judge is now hitting the free agent market poised to land one of the biggest contracts of the offseason. Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said publicly that Judge wanted to stay in pinstripes for the rest of his life.

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