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Elephant Rumblings: MVP Awards announced tomorrow

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MLB: Wild Card-Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

Awards week is coming to a head: Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year winners were announced on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, with Cy Young Award announcements scheduled for this evening.

Here are the winners announced so far this week:

  • AL Rookie of the Year: Julio Rodríguez, CF, Mariners
  • NL Rookie of the Year: Michael Harris II, CF, Braves
  • AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona, Guardians
  • NL Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, Mets

Looks like I’m 2-for-4 so far. Now let’s size up the MVP finalists.

AL MVP Award Finalists

  • Yordan Alvarez, DH/LF, Astros: 561 PA, .306/.406/.613, 37 HR, 1 SB, 13.9 BB%, 18.9 K%, 185 wRC+, -7.5 Def, 6.6 fWAR
  • Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees: 696 PA, .311/.425/.686, 62 HR, 16 SB, 15.9 BB%, 25.1 K%, 207 wRC+, 0.5 Def, 11.4 fWAR
  • Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Angels: 666 PA, .273/.356/.519, 34 HR, 11 SB, 10.8 BB%, 24.2 K%, 142 wRC+, -16.4 Def, 3.8 fWAR // 166 IP, 11.87 K/9, 2.39 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9, 2.33 ERA, 2.40 FIP, 2.65 xFIP, 5.6 fWAR

Alvarez had an exceptional year at the plate, but nevertheless seems to be here just to round out the list—Judge’s historic season eclipses the Astros’ slugger’s in virtually every category.

2021 AL MVP Ohtani is a two-way unicorn who may perennially contend for MVP awards in the foreseeable future, and there has been a lot of debate as to whether he or Judge should get the trophy this year. I respect the pro-Ohtani camp, and Shohei was arguably even better in 2022 than 2021, but I am also going to tell you that Judge, an everyday outfielder who had a record-breaking videogame season at the plate, is going to win this one, and he deserves it. Moving on.

NL MVP Award Finalists

  • Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Cardinals: 651 PA, .317/.404/.578, 35 HR, 7 SB, 12.1 BB%, 21.7 K%, 177 wRC+, -15.8 Def, 7.1 fWAR
  • Nolan Arenado, 3B, Cardinals: 620 PA, .293/.358/.533, 30 HR, 5 SB, 8.4 BB%, 11.6 K%, 151 wRC+, 13.5 Def, 7.3 fWAR
  • Manny Machado, 3B, Padres: 644 PA, .298/.366/.531, 32 HR, 9 SB, 9.8 BB%, 20.7 K%, 152 wRC+, 6.9 Def, 7.4 fWAR

The competition is much stiffer for the NL award. All three finalists are very close in terms of fWAR. Goldschmidt’s strength is based on his phenomenal offensive numbers while Arenado and Machado served up elite defense at the hot corner to complement excellent offensive stats.

Being a big fan of elite defense, especially at the hot corner, and given that 2022 Gold and Platinum Glove winner Arenado has pretty much run the table as a defender throughout his career, he gets my ‘vote’ for NL MVP. Arenado seems to have an edge on Machado, but I won’t be surprised at all if Goldschmidt takes it by merit of being the best hitter of the trio this season. How about you? We’ll find out tomorrow.

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