Regardless of what happens between now and the end of the year, history will remember the 2022 season as the year of Aaron Judge. Much was said about the extension offer, the Yankees’ superstar declined before the season, and the gamble he was placing on himself. That type of pressure could’ve derailed a lot of players’ seasons.
Now, with a couple of weeks left in the regular season, Aaron Judge is very close to establishing the single-season home run record for an American League player, surpassing Roger Maris’ 61 mark.
However, that’s not the only notable achievement that Judge is in line for in 2022, as he’s currently leading the race for the first Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Judge has home runs and RBI locked up but finds himself in a fierce battle for the batting average lead in the AL that should go down to the wire, against Xander Bogaerts, and Luis Arraez.
Judge’s season is truly remarkable, and whatever final records he ends up setting after game 162 is over, this campaign will be remembered for quite a while.
The Triple Crown remains firmly up in the air for Judge, because Bogaerts and Arraez are neck-and-neck with the Yankees’ outfielder in the leaderboards for batting average in the American League.
However, according to the majority of Yankee fans, 60 percent to be exact, to reach 62 home runs — which at this point feels like a very likely outcome for Aaron Judge — would represent a more impressive achievement than to win the triple crown.
The spirit of this poll is probably to compare Judge’s record-setting season with a more standard Triple Crown campaign. It’s all the more impressive that whether Judge wins the Triple Crown or not, at this point he’s going to come very close to it, one way or another, and likely with those 62 home runs.
Aaron Judge’s 10.7 fWAR is the biggest mark in the American League and a remarkable number that you often won’t see on any given season, and to give some perspective, Paul Goldschmidt, right now the favorite for the NL MVP has a 7.1 fWAR. Judge’s gap to Goldy is over 50 percent of his total.
The mere thought of bringing up a poll about who should win the AL MVP would legitimately feel insane, if not for the workings of the biggest unicorn the baseball world has ever seen.
Shohei Ohtani is showing that last year was far from a fluke and continues to put up bona fide All-Star numbers as both a starter and a designated hitter. In spite of Ohtani’s marvelous campaign, Judge at least according to our national poll is the likely MVP winner of the AL with 77 percent of the voters saying they think he’ll take home the award, his first, as he finished runner-up to José Altuve in 2017.
With the season coming down the stretch, it’s a good time to look at the major awards, and what are the expectations from the fans as far as potential winners.
The 2022 season has seen a lot of remarkable campaigns, but with still roughly 20 or so games left to be played, there isn’t a lot of intrigue about who will take home the individual trophies, at least not as far as the fans are concerned.
Both Paul Goldschmidt and Justin Verlander received 64 percent of the votes, believing they’ll win the NL MVP and AL Cy Young, respectively. While Sandy Alcantara will win the NL Cy Young according to 53 percent of voters, there’s no clear No. 2 like Dylan Cease is in the AL (with 29 percent of votes), as Max Fried has 18 percent and Julio Urías 14 percent of votes.
Adley Rutschman is giving the Orioles everything they’ve dreamed of, and probably some more, but that hasn’t stopped 84 percent of voters from believing that Julio Rodríguez will take home the AL Rookie of the Year trophy.
The future is bright in Atlanta, as the Braves have the two biggest candidates for the NL Rookie of the Year, with a close race, at least as far as our poll is concerned, with 45 percent believing it will be Spencer Strider, and 37 percent in Michael Harris II.