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MLB MVP Race: Does Aaron Judge Need to Break Roger Maris' AL Home Run Record to Beat Out Shohei Ohtani?

The American League MVP race is on. As we approach the start of August, Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani stand above the rest in AL MVP odds but Aaron Judge is a man on a mission this season. Can he be caught? Here is a look at the latest AL MVP odds.
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MLB MVP Race: Does Aaron Judge Need to Break Roger Maris' AL Home Run Record to Beat Out Shohei Ohtani?

Aaron Judge kicked off the 2022 Subway Series the only way he knew how it seems in 2022. With a 423-foot home run to right-center field. His incredible year has carried the Yankees to a historic season nearly into August now. The Yankees currently possess the best record in baseball as they have most of the season due in large part to Aaron Judge. The Yankees head into Wednesday night's game against the New York Mets with all eyes on Judge and the Yankees. Being a Yankee has always been about winning rings, not MVP awards, but Judge is looking to do both this year. He is currently on pace to break a 61-year-old record held by another Yankee. With the phenom Shohei Ohtani on his heels all season long in the American League MVP odds race, what will it take for Aaron Judge to win the AL MVP in 2022? Let's break down the latest American League MVP odds.

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American League MVP Odds

OddsPlayerImplied Chance
-105Aaron Judge51.2%
+135Shohei Ohtani42.6%
+1600Yordan Alvarez5.9%
+4000Rafael Devers2.4%
+5000Jose Ramirez2%

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Aaron Judge AL MVP Odds (-105) (Bet $105 to win $100)

Aaron Judge has slammed the gavel here again in July. He has seven home runs in his last eight games. This has forced the oddsmaker's hands, and they have pushed him back to the top of the AL MVP odds race. He is on pace to hit over 60 home runs entering July 27. Aaron Judge currently ranks first in the American League in home runs and RBIs. So far, the most impressive part of his season has been his ability to be an all-around true hitter batting .296. In recent interviews, he said, "I saw a lot of the greats – Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera – they always hit above .300, and the power just came with it. That’s always been a goal of mine to hit above .300, and we’ll keep working towards it.” The modern-day home run hitter typically doesn't hit for average so what he has done to this point in the campaign is incredible.

According to baseball reference, Aaron Judge is only behind the National League Cy Young favorite Sandy Alcantara in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) this season. Here are the top 10 in WAR:

  • Sandy Alcantara 5.6
  • Aaron Judge 5.3
  • Paul Goldschmidt 5.2
  • Nolan Arenado 5.0
  • Shohei Ohtani 4.8
  • Austin Riley 4.5
  • Yordan Alvarez 4.5
  • Tommy Edman 4.4
  • Max Fried 4.4
  • Rafael Devers 4.2

The most exciting part that no one can argue about Judge in 2022 is his home run pace. He is currently on pace for 63 home runs this season. The single-season record in American League history is 61 by Roger Maris in 1961 as a member of the New York Yankees. If Judge can break this record, there's no way he can't be crowned AL MVP. The single-season record is 73, held by Barry Bonds in the National League, but there will always be mumbles of steroid use. So Judge could claim the "clean home run record."

Many baseball fans still consider Roger Maris’ 61 homers in 1961 the standard for the single-season home run record. It was passed by Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire in 1998 and then by Bonds in 2001, but those seasons all have asterisks. All were using performance-enhancing drugs, so those records aren’t truly legit. Proving that what Aaron Judge has done on a baseball field so far in 2022 has truly been MVP caliber.

Shohei Ohtani AL MVP Odds (+135) (Bet $100 to win $135)

Right before the All-Star break, Ohtani was actually favored over Judge by oddsmakers in the AL MVP odds race. Since Judge has been on an insane tear once again, he reclaimed the top spot heading into the break over Ohtani. In 2021 he hit .257 with 46 home runs, 103 runs scored, 100 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases. He is on pace for a slight drop-off offensively, but his pitching numbers have been impressive to this point, making up for it. If Judge falters at the plate or misses significant time due to injury Ohtani would be sure to repeat as American League MVP.

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Tom Viera is an experienced betting and fantasy sports writer. Tom brings a vast knowledge of all things NFL, NBA, MLB and soccer to the OddsChecker stable of handicappers.


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