Opinion: Aaron Judge is still the AL MVP

Once the obvious front runner, Aaron Judge tailed off in the second half of the season, leaving the AL MVP up for grabs. Judge is still one of the top candidates and in this, I'll tell you why he still should be the AL MVP, despite his late-summer struggles.
Photo Credit: AP

To start, I really don't even have to mention his Herculean first half of the season in which his average was consistently in the .330s to go along with his league lead in homers and RBIs. In the second half, you certainly saw the impact he has on the Yankees. As he started to regress, so did the team. And as he's picked it up somewhat in September, so have the Yanks. The direct correlation between these two is not a coincidence and he's the most valuable player to his respective team in the AL.

Judge is now up to 45 homers with the possibility of reaching 50 if he goes on a mini hot streak this next week. Without a doubt I can see the point to be made for Jose Altuve, who's putting up once again ridiculous stats this season. His .348 average leads the majors by quite a decent amount and his 31 stolen bases are tied-for-second in the AL, just one behind the leader Whit Merrifield. Oh yeah and he's also slugging .558 with his 24 homers and 80 RBIs. Also add in the fact that Judge has been pedestrian throughout the second half of the season and the case can certainly be made for the Astros second baseman. Judge on the other hand is slugging .591 to go along with a certainly respectable average of .277. His OBP of .412 also beats out Altuve thanks to the incredible walk rate he has put up. Judge also leads the AL in runs scored by 15 over the next closest player, which happens to be Altuve. The argument when it comes to defense is pretty much a toss up, as both are pretty solid defenders but nothing special. Judge has proved to have a tremendous arm in right field, probably giving him the slight defensive edge over Altuve.
Photo Credit: MLB.com

Judge has virtually carried the Yankees offense for much of the season with his moonshot homers and impressive ability to reach base when he doesn’t hit a homer. Yes the strikeout rate is still concerning including the record he broke a month ago when he struck out in a 37 consecutive games, passing Adam Dunn’s record of 36 straight contests. He’s helpful in virtually all other aspects though and has also provided the Yankees with perhaps the most underrated part of his game, very good baserunning including eight stolen bases.

Judge has picked up the pace in September after two months of average play that made fans reminiscent of his 2016 season. In 52 games across July and August, Judge hit just .207 with ten homers and 20 RBIs. He’s already got eight homers and 18 RBIs in 18 games in the month of September, while also batting a much better .267.

In the end, it's certainly hard to differentiate the two and which one should win the AL MVP. If I had a vote, it would go to Aaron Judge, but that may just be because I'm a Yankees fan. However being a Yankees fan, I have been able to experience first-hand the immense impact his success has on the Bronx offense and how different the team plays, when he is scuffling Either way, these players have clearly been the two best and most valuable players in the AL in 2017.

Article by: Spencer Schultz


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