When it comes to American League Most Valuable Player, the debate about who should win the award will surely come down to Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani. Judge is currently on pace to break Roger Maris’ single-season home run record, and Ohtani is one of the best hitters, and pitchers, in the game. Both players will be named finalists for the award, but who should be the third finalist?
There are a few players that deserve to be in the conversation with Judge and Ohtani. Jose Ramirez, Andres Gimenez, and Yordan Alvarez are three names to keep an eye on down the stretch as likely A.L. MVP finalists.
Jose Ramirez is having a great season in Cleveland. He ranks towards the top of the A.L. leaderboard in many offensive categories. Ramirez was always the second-best player on his team when Francisco Lindor was in Cleveland, but he is now the face of the team in a year where they have surprised many people.
Ramirez is 5th in wRC+ (146), 6th in wOBA (.372), 5th in SLG (.533), 8th in HR (26), and 1st in 2B (39). Not only is Ramirez providing help at the plate, but he’s also been a good baserunner this season (3.7 BsR) and is playing slightly above-average defense (1 DRS and 2 OAA).
His fWAR (5.4) is 3rd in the A.L., while his WPA (2.15) is 10th and RE24 (40.95) is 2nd. Ramirez continues to be one of the A.L.’s best players, and should certainly be considered as a potential A.L. MVP finalist.
Andres Gimenez was a part of the package received for Francisco Lindor a few years ago and is playing in his first full big league season for the Cleveland Guardians. Gimenez has been an important player for the Guardians so far, and should certainly be talked about as having a chance to be an A.L. MVP finalist.
He is having a great year at the plate and with his glove. He ranks 8th in wRC+ (144), 9th in wOBA, and 11th in SLG (.481). He also has 15 HR and 23 2B. Defensively, Gimenez has been great (10 DRS and 9 OAA). He is also running the bases well (1.8 BsR).
Gimenez is tied for 4th in fWAR (4.9), 3rd in WPA (3.64), and 5th in RE24 (30.70). He is not having an outstanding season in one particular area, but he is doing everything well this year. While he is not a household name that many would expect to be a finalist for MVP, Gimenez deserves some recognition for how valuable he has been for Cleveland in 2022.
Yordan Alvarez has been a lot of fun to watch at the plate so far in 2022. He hits the ball hard (100th percentile in Hard-Hit% and Average Exit Velocity in 2022) and can hit the ball to all fields. Alvarez has dealt with some injuries this season and has seen most of his time as a DH for the Astros, but in the time he does have in the outfield (367.2 innings), he has been okay (3 DRS and -4 OAA).
Alvarez is 50th in the A.L. in PA (461), but still ranks 3rd in HR (31) and is tied for 4th in fWAR (4.9). He also ranks 2nd in wRC+ (178), 2nd in wOBA (.416), and 2nd in SLG (.592). Alvarez is 2nd in WPA (4.14) and 6th in RE24 (29.43).
Alvarez has been hitting the cover off of the ball all season and is only 25 years old. There is no doubt he will be in the MVP conversation in the future, but he should also be in the conversation to be a finalist in 2022.
Debating who should win A.L. MVP this season is fun. Both Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani are having historic seasons and both have a case to win the award. There aren’t two finalists for MVP though – there are three.
Who the other finalist for A.L. MVP should be is an interesting topic. Jose Ramirez, Andres Gimenez, and Yordan Alvarez are all possible finalists as 2022 enters the final month of the season. Ramirez is one of the best players in the A.L. this year, Gimenez is turning into a premier middle infielder at 24, and Alvarez is one of the best power hitters in baseball.
While the third finalist for 2022 A.L. MVP will be the answer to a future trivia question, it will no doubt be a fun race to keep an eye on over the next month.
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