These two sluggers will be tough to beat for MVP

August 26th, 2022

While the names at the very top of our latest MVP poll remain unchanged from our last survey, we see a shake-up on the National League side of the ledger, with a pair of third basemen making big jumps, including one who has crashed the top-five party after being on the outside looking in the last time around. voters were asked to rank their top five MVP candidates in each league based on what has happened so far and what they expect will happen in the months to come. Players received vote points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale -- five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on, with 38 voters participating. Here are the results. (All stats are through Thursday.)


1. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (32 first-place votes)

Although his incredible home run pace slowed as the Yankees’ August struggles began, Judge homered in consecutive games against the Mets earlier this week to up his total to 48 on the season. His tremendous July gave him a little room for a bit of a swoon in August as far as leading our MVP poll is concerned, and there’s no reason to think he won’t challenge the Yankees’ franchise record for homers in a season, currently Roger Maris’ 61 in 1961.

2. Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Angels (6 first-place votes)

After what Ohtani did in his MVP campaign last year, it almost feels like he set the bar so high that anything short of otherworldly would be subpar for him. But the two-way superstar has continued to wow us, particularly on the mound, in 2022 -- with a 2.83 ERA and a 34 percent strikeout rate, Ohtani has been even better than he was last season. And an .863 OPS with 27 homers at the plate isn’t too shabby, either. It all has him right in the thick of the AL MVP race for the second consecutive year.

3. Yordan Alvarez, LF/DH, Astros

Alvarez leads the AL with a .398 on-base percentage and is second only to Judge in OPS, at .999. The Astros slugger has struggled in August, but he still has plenty of time to burnish his MVP credentials as Houston once again looks to win the AL West and make a deep run into October.

4. José Ramírez, 3B, Guardians

Ramírez just keeps doing his thing. Perhaps the most underrated player in the game, Cleveland’s third baseman is hitting .284/.354/.547 with 25 homers after launching two against the Padres on Wednesday. He’s also second in the AL only to Judge with 104 RBIs. Already having finished in the top three of MVP voting three times in his career, he’s putting together an MVP-caliber season again, even if he doesn’t win the honor in 2022.

5. Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox

Devers’ offensive output has been very similar to Ramírez’s this season, so good luck trying to figure out which of the two will win the Silver Slugger Award at the hot corner for the AL. Devers’ Red Sox are struggling, and Devers himself has had a rough August so far. He’s under the Mendoza Line for the month, which has brought him closer to Earth lately, but he still has a chance to finish with career bests in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging.

Also receiving votes: Andrés Giménez; Justin Verlander; Dylan Cease; Kyle Tucker; Vladimir Guerrero Jr.; José Abreu; Luis Arraez; Alex Bregman; Byron Buxton; Julio Rodríguez; Adley Rutschman; Mike Trout


1. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Cardinals (33 first-place votes)

Goldschmidt not only leads our MVP poll for the NL, but he has a real chance to become the NL’s first Triple Crown winner in 85 years. Goldy has a sizable lead over the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for highest batting average in the league, at .339. He also leads the league with 105 RBIs and thanks to a pair of homers Thursday, his 33 on the season have him trailing the NL leader, the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber, by two. Add to that his signature Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base, and you have the makings of a historic year.

2. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Cardinals (2 first-place votes)

If it wasn’t for his teammate on the other corner of the St. Louis infield, Arenado might be the NL favorite to win his first career MVP honor. He’s having a career year at the plate, hitting .300/.365/.557 with 26 homers, and he has stunned us with his defense at third base -- considering he’s already known as a human highlight reel at the hot corner, with nine Gold Glove Awards in nine MLB seasons, that’s saying a lot.

3. Manny Machado, 3B, Padres (1 first-place vote)

The Padres are sliding in the second half for the second consecutive season, but if there’s one constant in the lineup for San Diego, it’s Machado, who is having a “Manny being Manny” campaign -- he’s slashing .297/.368/.522 with 22 homers and his trademark sparkling defense at third base.

4. Austin Riley, 3B, Braves

After inking a 10-year, $212 million contract extension with Atlanta at the beginning of the month, Riley has struggled so far in August, but nonetheless owns a .905 OPS with 31 homers. He’s on pace to set a career high after belting 33 home runs last year. It would take a truly special September for Riley to make things interesting in this year’s NL MVP race, but the way he’s trending, he’ll likely finish higher in the vote than his seventh-place finish in 2021.

5. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Dodgers

Freeman’s excellence hasn’t skipped a beat since he put on Dodger blue, and he and teammate Trea Turner could finish first and second in the Majors in hits, a feat not accomplished by two players on the same club since 2001. Freeman’s .326/.400/.520 slash line, along with an MLB-leading 156 hits (Turner is second, with 155), has helped fuel a Dodgers offense that is the best in baseball despite having two of its key contributors -- Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy -- slumping for most of the season.

Also receiving votes: Pete Alonso (2 first-place votes); Francisco Lindor; Mookie Betts; Sandy Alcantara; Trea Turner; Edwin Díaz; Juan Soto