MLB MVP race 2022: Evaluating NL, AL MVP candidates at All-Star Break

Who will win MLB MVP in 2022? Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani won AL MVP and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper took home his second NL MVP honor in 2021.

Major League Baseball is the only American professional sport that wards two MVP awards, one to each conference. It allows two players to take home a prestigious honor, joining some of the best players in MLB history with the coveted award on their trophy case.

Bookmark this page for updates on the MLB MVP race throughout the season, including the latest odds and analysis.

AL MVP watch: Rafael Devers, Aaron Judge battle

MLB MVP race 2022: Evaluating NL, AL MVP candidates at All-Star Break
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Here is Sportsnaut’s breakdown of the 2022 MLB MVP race so far. Each candidate is ranked based on a variety of factors. Those factors include stats, team performance, lineup factors and probability of the overall production being sustained.

Related: Best MLB lineups

MLB stats as of Wednesday, July 13

AL MVP race

Pos: Player AVG/OBP/SLG OPS Home Runs RBI wRC+ fWAR
1. Rafael Devers .326/.383/.588 .971 19 51 168 4.2
2. Aaron Judge .282/.360/.608 .968 30 65 168 4.2
3. Yordan Alvarez .306/.405/.653 1.058 26 60 197 4.1
4. Jose Ramirez .289/.370/.571 .942 17 68 161 4.2
5. Shohei Ohtani

Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox

It’s a huge jump in the MLB MVP race for Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers. Already a star, the 2022 season will be remembered as the year Devers became one of the best players in MLB. The 28-year-old boasts a strong 162 wRC+ with a .238 isolated power and 10.5% walk rate since June 14. The thing that now makes him our AL MVP pick right now is his performance against the New York Yankees.

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Some of the momentum behind the AL MVP campaign for Aaron Judge is dying. While the New York Yankees remain the best team in baseball, the All-Star outfielder is cooling off at the plate. He holds a .198/.287/.427 slash line with a 101 wRC+ since June 14. He’ll turn things around, but the overall stats are fading rapidly.

Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros

Atop our AL MVP race in the last update, Houston Astros star Yordan Alvarez slides after landing on the injured list. The hope is that he is back after the All-Star Break and his hand doesn’t limit what he’s doing at the plate. Once he is healthy, this is the best hitter in MLB this year and he’d become our MLB MVP pick once again.

Related: 3 Houston Astros trades to strengthen World Series hopes

Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians

In his first 197 plate appearances this season, Jose Ramirez became an AL MVP front runner with a 191 wRC+, .437 wOBA, .299/.401/.647 slash line and 51 RBI. In his last 167 plate appearances, JoRam’s slash line stands at .280/.347/.487 with 17 RBI and a 128 wRC+. Those are still Al-Star numbers, but the real dip in production and Cleveland’s place in the standings cost him on our ballot.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Barring a historic second-half performance, Shohei Ohtani won’t win AL MVP this year. A repeat just seemed unrealistic considering the all-tiime great stats he delivered as a two-way player in 2021. With that said, we’d still put a player with a 132 wRC+ who is challenging for a 30-30 season and sports a 2.44 ERA in 81 innings on our AL MVP ballot.

NL MVP race: Austin Riley makes case for MVP honors

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Stats as of Thursday, July 14

Pos: Player AVG/OBP/SLG OPS Home Runs RBI wRC+ fWAR
1. Paul Goldschmidt .332/.415/.591 1.006 19 67 184 4.3
2. Nolan Arenado .293/.362/.528 .890 18 58 151 4.5
3. Freddie Freeman .317/.394/.517 .912 12 56 156 4.0
4. Austin Riley .284/.348/.568 .916 25 52 150 3.3
5. Manny Machado .304/.380/.525 .905 15 51 153 4.5

Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

It’s possible we might finally be witnessing the explosive first-half performance from Paul Goldschmidt start to fall back to earth. He slashed .277/.358/.362 with a 113 wRC+ and .720 OPS through his first 53 plate appearances in July. Utter dominance from April-June keeps him atop the leaderboard, but his advantage is fading.

Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals

Defense matters for MVP votes. In his age-31 season, Nolan Arenado still leads all third basemen in Sports Info’s Defensive Runs Saved (14). He’s also delivering at the plate. With an outstanding .976 OPS and 174 wRC+ in his last 23 games, Arenado is doing just enough to hold off Austin Riley and Freddie Freeman among our surging NL MVP candidates.

Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers

Freddie Freeman might not be on the best of terms with The Los Angeles Times right now, but his efforts at the plate are what fans and teammates care about. Freeman leads the National League in fWAR (1.8) since June 1, posting a stellar 215 wRC+ with a 1.146 OPS during that stretch. As the Dodgers solidify their place atop the NL, Freeman’s case for MVP gains even more strength.

Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves drop one NL MVP candidate and gain another. On the surface level, a 3.3 fWAR with a .284/.348/.568 slash line might not seem like enough for Austin Riley to warrant mention. Then you examine his stats since June 1. Riley has the second highest fWR (1.5) since June and he has posted a 1.140 OPS with a .379/.427/.713 slash line during that stretch. He might not be an All-Star, but he deserves NL MVP votes.

Manny Machado, San Diego Padres

While Manny Machado might be among the National League leaders in fWAR, nothing as of late suggests he should start climbing back up in the MLB MVP race. Since coming off the injured list, he is slashing /167/.271/.405 with a 93 wRC+ and 31.3% strikeout rate. Even if you factor in his stats since June 1 (.244/.311/.472, 118 wRC+), that’s not stacking up.

Related: Top MLB free agents of 2023 – Aaron Judge, Nolan Arenado surge as MVP candidates

Check below for our evaluation of the MLB MVP predictions and race heading into the season.

MLB MVP odds 2022: Who will win Most Valuable Player?

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Washington Nationals
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Who will win MLB MVP in 2022? We look at the latest odds from BetMGM, looking at the top candidates who could win the AL and NL MVP awards this season. While he’s not quite as elite in that spot defensively, he still earned a 3.2 Defensive rating from FanGraphs with three Defensive Runs Saved in 211 innings. On top of the defensive value, Edman is the best base runner in MLB and he’s outstanding atop the lineup. Combine the defense, versatility, base-running impact and offensive production together, it gives you an MVP candidate.

Related: 2022 MLB predictions

2022 American League MVP odds

Player Odds:
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels +350
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels +400
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays +500
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox +1800
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees +2000
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox +2000
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays +2000
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins +2000
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians +2500
Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros +2500
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros +2500
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros +3000
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays +3000
Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins +4000
  • Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels – It’s understandable why Ohtani is the favorite to win AL MVP. It’s not even because he is the reigning award recipient. Ohtani can be among the MLB leaders in home runs and OPS, all while posting a stellar ERA with a high strikeout rate. With that said, we haven’t seen a back-to-back MLB MVP since 2012-’13 (Miguel Cabrera) and Ohtani comes with injury risks. However, he is the best player in baseball and it comes as no surprise he is favorite for MLB MVP.
  • Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels – Turning 31 in August, Mike Trout last played 140-plus games in 2018. That’s not to say he can’t win AL MVP, this is still the best position player in MLB. However, Ohtani’s presence could lead to the teammates splitting votes. So, Trout won’t be the AL MVP candidate we’re betting on right now.
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays –Among the favorites to win AL MVP, Guerrero Jr. would be our pick. The expanded MLB playoffs mean missing the postseason, a negative for some voters, won’t be an issue. So, you have a slugger capable of winning the AL batting title and leading the league in home runs. Frankly, Vladito is a legitimate threat for the Triple Crown. Ranked third in AL MVP odds, Guerrero Jr. is our favorite to win the award.
  • Aaron Judge, New York Yankees – It all comes down to durability for Aaron Judge. He played 155 games in 2017 and finished with 55 homers and 128 RBIs. Ever since, IL stints have become a yearly problem. The odds make him a reasonable bet, but the likelihood he stays healthy is low.
  • Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox – Devers will certainly make a case for AL MVP if he maintains his production from 2021 (38 home runs, 214 runs produced, .538 SLG), but he needs the Red Sox to win the AL East. Otherwise, the division winner will likely have a player more deserving.
  • Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays – There’s a very strong possibility Franco wins an AL MVP in his career. However, a 21-year-old without great power (right now) and who won’t be competing for a batting crown this year, probably doesn’t finish top-10 in AL MVP voting.
  • Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox – No one should be expecting the version of Robert we saw in the second half of the 2021 season. The .350/.389/.622 slash line simply isn’t achievable for a player with a high strikeout rate. However, Robert is fully capable of hitting 30 home runs with 20 steals and 160 runs produced. If the White Sox finish near the top of the AL, Robert could take home MVP. Bet on him now while the odds are still great.
  • Darkhorse: Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros (+3500) – The Astros will be strong favorites to win the AL West and Tucker proved for a large stretch of the season he can be the best player in the lineup. Capable of hitting 30-plus home runs with 20 steals, 100 RBIs and a high OPS, Tucker’s odds make him a great bet for MLB MVP.

2022 National League MVP odds

Player Odds:
Juan Soto, Washington Nationals +300
Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves +700
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals +900
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers +1000
Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers +1200
Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers +1600
Francisco Lindor, New York Mets +2000
Fernando Tatís Jr., San Diego Padres +2500
Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves +2500
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves +3000
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals +3000
Pete Alonso, New York Mets +3000
Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers +3300
  • Juan Soto, Washington Nationals – Soto is the best hitter in baseball and it’s not really a debate. The Nationals won’t win their division, but Soto can post an OBP near .500 with 30-plus home runs and carry this team to a Wild Card spot. If he does that, he’ll meet the very definition of MVP.
  • Fernando Tatís Jr., San Diego Padres – Similar to Ohtani and Judge, durability is the most important factor for Tatís Jr. Sadly, the point is already proven. Sidelined until June with a fractured wrist, Tatis Jr’s odds to win MLB MVP take a massive shot. Bet on someone else.
  • Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves – Acuña should be fully recovered from his torn ACL on Opening Day, but there is always the possibility that he isn’t quite the same level of athlete in his first year back. More time spent at DH with fewer steals could hurt his chances, but a 30-30 season also might win NL MVP.
  • Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies – Voter fatigue is real. As a two-time NL MVP, Harper has history working against him. Few believe the Phillies are the team to beat in their division and that will also work against Harper. We’re not willing to bet on him winning it this year, but not because he won’t be deserving.
  • Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers –After signing with the Dodgers, there’s a strong case to be made for Freeman to win MVP outside the current favorites. He’s going to be in a phenomenal lineup and playing for the best team in MLB. If the Dodgers get 30-plus home runs and a .950 OPS out of him, voters might choose him over a repeat (Harper) and a player on a non-contender (Soto).
  • Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – Playing for the best team in baseball in a big market, Betts already boasts two huge factors working in his favor. We haven’t seen the best version of him as of late, but the talent to hit 30 home runs with a .280-plus average for the No.1 team in the NL could sway voters.
  • Francisco Lindor, New York Mets – It seems Mets fans are putting money on the line to get those NL MVP odds up for Lindor. It’s a bad bet. We haven’t seen that 30-homer and 20-steal player since 2019 and nothing suggests it’s returning. Spend those dollars betting on other darkhorse MLB MVP candidates.
  • Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves – Moving from Oakland to Atlanta is a huge boost for Olson’s shot at an MLB MVP award. He’s a great bet to hit 40-plus home runs and drive in 100-plus RBI. If you combine that with Gold Glove defense at first for a division champ, that will earn a lot of MVP votes.
  • Darkhorse: Max Scherzer, New York Mets (+4000) – The new face of the Mets’ rotation, Scherzer will be asked to do even more for the reasons mentioned above. He’s in the big market, will post numbers worthy of a Cy Young award and the extra attention for a potential division champ might earn him MVP.

When is MLB MVP announced?

MLB: American League at National League
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MLB announced the 2021 AL and NL MVP recipients on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2021. An official announcement date for the 2022 MLB awards isn’t determined as of March, but the expectation is both MLB MVP awards will be handed out in November.

Related: MLB games today – MLB schedule, TV info, scores, and key dates

Recent MLB MVP winners

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani won AL MVP in 2021, taking home all 30 first=place votes. Bryce Harper won his second MVP award, receiving 17 first-place votes.

Here are some of the past MLB MVP winners.

  • 2021 – AL MVP – Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
  • 2021 – NL MVP – Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
  • 2020 – AL MVP – José Abreu, Chicago White Sox
  • 2020 – NL MVP – Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
  • 2019 – AL MVP – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
  • 2019 – NL MVP – Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 2018 – AL MVP – Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
  • 2018 – NL MVP – Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
  • 2017 – AL MVP – Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
  • 2017 – NL MVP – Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

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This article was originally published on and is republished here with permission.

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