Following a historic season in which he mashed 62 homeruns to set a new American League record, New York Yankees slugger and free agent Aaron Judge was crowned the AL Most Valuable Player on Tuesday night.
Judge beat out the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez to become the first Yankees outfielder to win the award since Mickey Mantle in 1962. Judge received 28 first-place votes and 410 points, beating Ohtani (280) by 130 points, and became just the fourth major leaguer to hit 62 homers in a single season, joining Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998, 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 63 in 1999).
“It’s tough to put in words,” Judge said on MLB Network. “It’s an incredible moment. A lot of hard work to get to this.”
“You never want to assume anything,” Judge added.
Judge paced the American League in home runs (62), RBIs (131), slugging percentage (.686), on-base percentage (.425), OPS+ (211) and total bases (391).
“Aaron’s success was especially meaningful for our organization as we’ve been able to watch him grow throughout his professional career into the player and leader he has become — an offensive force in the batter’s box, a run preventer wherever we’ve put him on the field and someone who sets the tone in the clubhouse with his relentless commitment to winning,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said via an official statement. “He has been our MVP for quite some time now.”
“I’m grateful that I got to witness it first-hand and share in his magical year, especially given how much I respect I have for him as a player and as a person,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said in a statement. “I hope he can reflect on his extraordinary individual accomplishments and the impact he had on his teammates every single day and use them as fuel for continued excellence in the years to come.”
Now, the page turns to Judge’s free agency this winter.
“For me, I want to win,” Judge said. “I’ve come pretty close with the Yankees. … My ultimate, most important thing is I want to be on a team with a winning culture and a commitment to winning. First and foremost, it’s a winning culture and a winning future.”