Los Angeles Angels star, Shohei Ohtani had a repeat season that again proved his incredible ability both on the mound and at the plate. However, New York Yankees right-fielder, Aaron Judge took home the 2022 Major League Baseball Players Choice Award, an honor that came down to the two superstars. Mike Trout was also beaten out by veteran starter, Justin Verlander in a close race for American League Comeback Player of the Year.
The 31st Annual Players Choice Awards are voted on by active MLB Players, and since 1992, they’ve recognized both on-and-off the field accolades of fellow MLB players. Ohtani and Judge were both frontrunners for the top award after dominant statistical years.
Judge defeated Ohtani for the Sporting News Player of the Year award in late October after posting a 207 wRC+ in his free agent season and set himself up to see one of the richest contracts in all of MLB. He narrowly missed out on a Triple Crown, but led the league in runs, RBIs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases.
The Sporting News Award is surveyed through player votes, and since Ohtani was named a finalist for another player-driven award, Judge carried another final tally which earned him another piece of hardware.
Ohtani went 15-9 in 28 starts over the course of 2022, posting an ERA of 2.33, 2.40 FIP and a 1.01 WHIP in 166 innings. But at the plate, he elevated his power numbers, launching 34 homers, while driving in 95 runs.
Judge one-upped everyone, hitting 62 home runs, breaking Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League record while leading MLB in runs scored(133), OBP(.425), slugging(.686), OPS (1.111) and extra-base hits.
Trout nearly made his own case to be among the game’s best with a Most Valuable Player Award, as half of his accrued RBI numbers were via the long ball. A scary back injury brought into question his overall health and availability moving forward, but after a bit of a hiatus to figure his course of action out, he came back and proved why he is still one of MLB’s top talents.
39-year-old Verlander missed two years after Tommy John surgery in 2020, and led the AL in wins(18), ERA(1.75), WHIP(0.83), and allowed a measly .186 batting average to opposing hitters. It was the lowest ERA since Pedro Martinez did so for the Boston Red Sox in the year 2000.
Complete list of Player’s Choice Awards winners
AL Outstanding Player- Aaron Judge
AL Outstanding Pitcher- Justin Verlander
AL Outsing Rookie- Julio Rodríguez
AL Comeback Player- Justin Verlander
NL Outstanding Player- Paul Goldschmidt
NL Outstanding Pitcher- Sandy Alcantara
NL Outstanding Rookie- Spencer Strider
NL Comeback Player- Ronald Acuña Jr.
Marvin Miller Man of the Year- Francisco Lindor
Curt Flood Award- Steve Rogers
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