Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees won the American League MVP award on Thursday night, and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt took the NL prize.
After hitting 62 home runs this season to break the AL record, Judge easily beat out Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani in an MVP race some thought might be close.
The 6-foot-7 outfielder received 28 of 30 first-place votes and two seconds for 410 points from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel. Ohtani, last year’s winner, was picked first on two ballots and second on the other 28 for 280 points.
Yordan Alvarez of the World Series champion Houston Astros finished third. They were the only three players to appear on all 30 AL ballots.
Xander Bogaerts was ninth in AL voting, appearing on 19 ballots and getting a fourth-place vote from Kansas City based AP writer Dave Skretta. Rafael Devers was the only other Red Sox to get a vote; he appeared on five ballots and finished 14th.
Goldschmidt took the NL trophy for the first time after a couple of close calls earlier in his career. The first baseman received 22 of 30 first-place votes and eight seconds from a separate BBWAA panel.
“It’s a great honor. But it isn’t just about me,” Goldschmidt said in an interview on MLB Network. “I mean, there’s been so many people that have helped me.”
San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado finished second with 291 points after getting seven first-place votes, 13 seconds and seven thirds.
Goldschmidt’s teammate with the NL Central champion Cardinals, third baseman Nolan Arenado, came in third with 232 points. He was picked first on one ballot, second on two and third on 15. The only other players chosen on all NL ballots were two Dodgers, Freddie Freeman (220, 4th) and Mookie Betts (154, 5th).
Now a free agent, Judge broke the AL record of 61 homers set by Yankees slugger Roger Maris in 1961.
Judge, the tallest MVP in major league history, also led the majors in runs (133), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686), OPS (1.111), extra-base hits (90), and total bases (391) to help the Yankees win the AL East. He tied for the big league lead with 131 RBIs and was second in the AL with a .311 batting average.
Ohtani put together perhaps the greatest two-way season in baseball history for a third-place Angels team that finished 73-89. The superstar from Japan went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and 219 strikeouts in 28 starts on the mound covering 166 innings. At the plate, he batted .273 with 34 homers, 95 RBIs and an .875 OPS.
The 35-year-old Goldschmidt batted .317 with 35 home runs, 115 RBIs and a league-leading .981 OPS this season. He had 41 doubles and scored 106 runs while compiling a .404 on-base percentage and topping the league in slugging percentage (.578).
The seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner was runner-up for NL MVP in 2013 and 2015, then finished third in 2017 — all with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He came in sixth last year with the Cardinals.
Balloting was conducted before the postseason.
Judge’s 62nd home run headed for auction
The ball New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit for his American League record 62nd homer has gone up for auction.
Cory Youmans, who caught the ball, sold its rights to the auction house Goldin, whose founder says it will “almost certainly” bring in the highest price ever paid for a baseball.
The opening bid for the ball is $1 million. Youmans reportedly turned down a $3 million offer before opting for an auction.
Judge’s homer Oct. 4 against the Texas Rangers surpassed the AL record set by another Yankee, Roger Maris, in 1961. The historic souvenir came sailing into the front row of section 31 in left field at Globe Life Field; Youmans snared it on the fly.
Bidding on the ball opens Nov. 29 and runs through Dec. 17.
Mark McGwire’s 70th home run from the 1998 season sold at auction for a record $3.05 million, to comic book artist Todd McFarlane.
Rookie of the Year Lewis deal to Arizona
The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired outfielder Kyle Lewis, betting that the 27-year-old can regain the form that helped him become the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 2020.
The D-backs sent catcher/outfielder Cooper Hummel to the Seattle Mariners.
“We felt like he’s just a good fit for us,” Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said. “Taking a shot at some upside here with the power potential. He’s gotten on base when healthy. We feel like this is a good opportunity to acquire some potential impact.”
Lewis was an emerging star during the shortened 2020 season, batting .262 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs. He hasn’t come close to that level of production since, partly because of a right knee injury, hitting just .143 and three homers last season while spending a big chunk of the year in the minors.
Hummel — who is also 27 — just finished his rookie season, spending time in both the outfield and behind the plate. He hit .176 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 176 at-bats while splitting time between the majors and minors.