Vlad Guerrero Jr. Emphatically Takes Sides In Judge/Ohtani MVP Chase

He came up short in the MVP balloting last season, when two-way phenomenon Shohei Ohtani took home the American League award. Now Toronto Blue Jays superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has some thoughts on the race this year between Ohtani and New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge.

Vladdy is actually pulling for his Yankees' rival Judge to take home the award. Maybe he doesn't want to see another great hitter, like himself, fall short. But Guerrero even went so far as to say that Judge would be robbed if he doesn't get the award:

To be honest, I think if they give it to Shohei Ohtani it will be another steal. Aaron Judge's numbers are way above Ohtani's. Ohtani is an excellent player, but for me, the MVP has to be Aaron Judge.

Last year, Vlad Jr. finished second in the balloting despite a memorable season that included a major league best 48 HR, 111 RBIs, while leading the AL in on-base percentage (.401), slugging (.601), and OPS (1.002). Ohtani, of course, came close to matching him on offense, drilling 46 HR along with 100 RBIs, but he also went 9-2 on the mound, with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched. 

His two-way abilities were something never seen before in the majors—at least not in 100 years. 

This season, Judge is far surpassing Guerrero's 2021 stats, with a .310 average, 57 HR, 123 RBIs, a .413 OBP, .688 slugging and an 1.102 OPS. 

Ohtani is having another great two-way season, but his offensive numbers pale in comparison to Judge's: .265 avg, 34 HR, 88 RBIs, .889 OPS. But he's having an even better year on the mound this season: 2.55 ERA, 188:35 K/BB ratio in 141.1 innings—that's an incredible 12 K/9. 

But two-way or no two-way, Guerrero says this year's MVP verdict should clearly be in Judge's favor. 

Photo: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports