|Aaron Judge hitting his 60th home run of the season on September 20th at Yankee Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, as his 62 home runs set the franchise and American League's single-season records, and on Thursday night, he was honored as the American League Most Valuable Player.
This adds to the accolades Judge has earned in his career, including the A.L. Rookie of the Year in 2017, when he hit a then-rookie record of 52 home runs, and he came in second in the MVP that season. Judge has also been on four All-Star teams, including this year's at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Judge created a lot of intrigue from the start of this season when he turned down the Yankees' contract extension before opening day and, essentially, bet on himself this season to improve on the Bronx Bombers' offer, and he certainly did that.
In a career-high 157 games, he hit .311 with 62 home runs and 131 RBI, with a .425 on-base percentage, a .686 slugging percentage, and a 1.111 on-base plus slugging percentage. All numbers were career highs for the current free agent.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said in a statement, "On behalf of the entire Yankees organization, I want to congratulate Aaron on winning the American League MVP Award. He was incredible in every facet of the game in 2022 and put up a season that ranks with the very best of all time. 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 whenever we've put him in the field and someone who sets the tone in the clubhouse with his relentless commitment to winning. He has been our MVP for quite some time now, and this honor couldn't be more deserved."
Judge has hit .284 (177-for-570), with 220 home runs and 497 RBI in his six-plus seasons with the Yankees. His debut, on August 13, 2016, in which he hit a home run, came one day after the retirement of Alex Rodriguez, the last Yankee to win the American League MVP award, which he did in 2005 and 2007.
Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said in a statement, "Congratulations to Aaron on one of the greatest seasons in the history of our sport. I'm grateful that I got to witness it first-hand and share in his magical year, especially given how much respect I have for him as a player and as a person. 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."