The Baseball Writer’s Association of America Most Valuable Player Awards in the American & National League were handed out on Thursday, signaling the final round of accolades for the 2022 season, and with that, a quick look into whose performances were worthy of the game’s highest honors is warranted.
From a heated race in the AL with Aaron Judge adding to the New York Yankees MVP collection to Paul Goldschmidt beating out fellow St. Louis Cardinals teammate Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres to capture his first BBWAA MVP Award.
But what’s remarkable is the true talent displayed across MLB with the diversity and parity with nearly every team. Clubs who were in the middle of a rebuild just a few short years ago, and some who still are, stormed their way to relevancy, and the playoffs. Proving they belong alongside the high-priced organizations is what the Cleveland Guardians did, making the playoffs and winning their division captured Terry Francona his third Manager of the Year honor.
The Miami Marlins may not have been much in terms of a threat to the top teams in the NL East, but their ace, Sandy Alcantara made his name known across MLB with a unanimous nod for the NL Cy Young Award.
The 2022 season was capped off with a Houston Astros World Series title, but during the regular season, the winners of the BBWAA Awards deserved their own spotlight.
Full list of major award winners in both leagues:
Most Valuable Player
American League, Aaron Judge, New York Yankees:
Judge earned his first career Most Valuable Player Award after setting the new AL home run record with 62 home runs and carrying a 1.111 on-base plus slugging over the course of the season. He led all of baseball in OBP(.425), slugging percentage(.686), and OPS+(211). By some accounts, Judge had one of the greatest offensive seasons in the history of baseball, and if not for two writers in the Anaheim area, would have been the unanimous MVP winner.
After finishing as the runner-up to Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani in 2021, Judge left no doubt in the minds of many that this year would be a different story. He was named the MVP on 28-of-30 ballots and became the 21st MVP in Yankees history.
National League, Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals:
Goldschmidt was the hottest hitter in the NL for most of the season, and his hot streak carried him to his first career MVP and the 18th in Cardinals history. In 2013 and 2015 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Goldschmidt was the runner-up and a change of scenery and lineup protection with the Cardinals was enough to propel him to this point.
He led the NL in OPS(.981), slugging(.578), and OPS+(180) and was the first choice on 22-of-28 ballots.
Cy Young Award
American League, Justin Verlander, Houston Astros:
Verlander earned a unanimous selection for the Cy Young Award, the third of his career and his second time as a unanimous winner. In his return season from Tommy John surgery, Verlander posted a 1.75 ERA and an 18-4 record, and his 220 ERA+ and 0.82 WHIP led the AL. It was a renaissance performance for the 39-year-old and it culminated with a World Series title.
National League, Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins:
Alcantara was the only pitcher listed on every ballot, and just like his AL counterpart, he was named as a unanimous winner of the 2022 Cy Young Award, the 15th time since its inception.
He’s the first Marlin to capture the award since the team was formed in 1993. Alacantara led the NL in complete games(6), and innings pitched(228.2) while maintaining a 2.28 ERA across 32 starts.
Manager of the Year
American League, Terry Francona, Cleveland Guardians:
Francona became the ninth manager to win their third Manager of the Year Award, and his third while in Cleveland(2013 & 2016). He guided the youngest MLB roster to a playoff birth, compiling a
92-70 record in a division that originally had written them off.
But much in part due to Francona’s calm and precise managerial style, he helped his club reach the postseason for an incredibly improbable run.
National League, Buck Showalter, New York Mets:
Showalter stepped into the Mets clubhouse with a Ferrari as a roster and led his team to 101 wins, edging out Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, for the award and earning himself his fourth Manager of the Year Award.
This was Showalter’s fourth club he’s managed that won him this award, and the first a Mets skipper has received since 1983.
Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year
American League, Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners:
Being named as the winner on 29-of-30 ballots, Rodríguez became the eighth center fielder to win the award and the fifth time in Mariners history to have a rookie receive the highest honor.
In what was his age-21 season, Rodríguez compiled a .284/.345/.509 slash and an OPS+ of 147 while displaying incredible resilience as a young player who is quickly becoming one of the stars in MLB.
National League, Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves:
Harris edged out his own teammate, Spencer Strider, to win the 2022 NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, being named on every ballot. He is the first NL center fielder since Bryce Harper to achieve that and is the ninth time a Braves player has taken home the honor.
Known for his incredible defense, Harris caught the attention of the league and after his play in 2022, is off to a hot start with a young and talented Braves roster.
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