Judge?  Ohtani?  Who's in the lead for MVP?

Judge? Ohtani? Who’s in the lead for MVP?

Judge-Ohtani? Ohtani-Judge? Who is your number 1 in the MVP race?

In the latest MLB.com MVP poll, there is still a favorite between Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani in the American League. But the race is tightening as we enter the final weeks of the regular season.

In the National League? Paul Goldschmidt seems to get away with it. Which is all the more impressive considering the other superstars who are MVP contenders this year.

MLB.com voters were asked to rank their top five MVP candidates in each league based on what’s happened so far and what they expect in the coming weeks. Players were awarded voting points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale – five points for a first place vote, four points for a second place vote and so on, with participation from 50 voters.

Here are the results. (All stats are through Wednesday.)

1. Aaron Judge, Yankees (36 votes for first place)
DraftKings MVP Odds: -2000 (Bet $2000 to win $100)

Yes, the favorite is still Judge, who continues the home run story. The judge has up to 57 home runs with just under 20 games to go. Can he be the first 60 homer hitter since Barry Bonds? Can he beat Roger Maris’ 61 for a new American League record? Every batting judge is a must right now. Oh…he could also win a Triple Crown — Judge leads the AL (and Majors) in homers and RBIs, and ranks third in batting average.

2. Shohei Ohtani, Angels (14 first place votes)
DraftKings MVP Odds: 8.5 to 1

That Ohtani is so close to Judge — he more than doubled his first-place votes in the latest MLB.com MVP poll — speaks to the two-way superstar’s uniqueness. The reigning AL MVP has 34 homers as a hitter and a 2.55 ERA and 188 strikeouts as a pitcher. If anyone can challenge a 60 homer hitter for MVP, it’s Ohtani.

3. José Ramírez, Goalkeepers
DraftKings MVP Odds: 100 to 1

Ramírez moves up a spot since the last poll in the top three, which would put him on track to be an MVP finalist for the fourth time. The Guardians star, who has 27 homers, 111 RBIs and 72 added hits this season, finished third in AL MVP voting in 2017 and 2018 and was a runner-up in 2020.

4. Yordan Alvarez, Astros
DraftKings MVP Odds: 100 to 1

Alvarez has struggled with sore hands this season, but remains the Astros’ leading hitter in first place, with 33 home runs and 1,000 OPS. The first-time All-Star is also looking to place himself in the MVP vote for the first time, and he could even be a finalist.

5. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
DraftKings MVP Odds: 100 to 1

Bogaerts takes the place of his teammate Rafael Devers in this poll. The Red Sox shortstop, who was a four-time MVP with a career fifth-place finish in 2019, bats .317 to rank second in the AL.

Others receiving votes: Julio Rodríguez, Jose Altuve, Andrés Giménez, Mike Trout, Justin Verlander, Rafael Devers, Kyle Tucker, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Alex Bregman, Dylan Cease, Bo Bichette, Emmanuel Clase

1. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals (47 votes for first place)
DraftKings MVP Odds: -2500 (Bet $2500 to win $100)

The story driving the race in the Netherlands is whether Goldschmidt can win not only his first career MVP award, but also a triple crown. The Cardinals first baseman ranks in the top three in all categories of the Triple Crown – batting average, home runs and RBIs – and could be the first hitter to earn it since Miguel Cabrera in 2012 (just like judge ), and the first NL hitter since another Cardinal, Joe Medwick, in 1937.

2. Nolan Arenado, Cardinals (2 votes for first place)
DraftKings MVP Odds: 35 to 1

The Cardinals could have the two best players in the league, as Arenado is enjoying another MVP-caliber season alongside Goldschmidt. Like Goldschmidt, Arenado has never won an MVP award, with five top-10 finishes in his career. He has 29 homers and 96 RBI while playing his usual stellar defense at third base.

3. Freddie Freeman, Dodgers
DraftKings MVP Odds: 35 to 1

The 2020 NL MVP is back in the conversation in his first season with the Dodgers. Freeman leads the MLB batting run with a .329 average, and his 181 hits are the most in the Majors. Freeman could spoil Goldschmidt’s Triple Crown bid if he wins the batting title.

4. Manny Machado, Padres (1 vote for first place)
DraftKings MVP Odds: 75 to 1

Machado has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting four times and in the top five three times (twice with the Orioles in the AL in 2015 and 2016, and with the Padres in the NL in 2020). Competing with Arenado for the league’s best third baseman title, Machado has 28 home runs and 90 RBIs.

5. Mookie Betts, Dodgers
DraftKings MVP Odds: 90 to 1

Betts and Freeman are up there with Goldschmidt and Arenado as the best 1-2 punch in the NL. The 2018 AL MVP with the Red Sox is looking for his first in the NL after finishing second in 2020, his freshman year with LA Betts has already set a new career home run high with 34-plus.

Others receiving votes: Austin Riley, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Sandy Alcantara, Edwin Diaz, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson

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