Shohei Ohtani & Juan Soto
Patrick Walsh ’24
As the new arrival of the MLB season dawns upon us, it is about time to lock in those futures. One of the most exciting future bets to lock in is the Most Valuable Player award. Last season we saw Aaron Judge win with ease for the American League as he destroyed 62 baseballs and led the Yankees to another playoff berth. For the National League, Paul Goldschmidt brought home the hardware, he finished his season with 35 homers and 115 runs batted in. Other than the World Series, the MVP is one of the most deserving and exciting rewards for a player. It is given to someone who not only goes above and beyond with their skills, but also is able to beat out all their other opponents and the assets that they play with. It is very hard to choose just one player from both the American and National Leagues to be the best because there are so many options and, of course, risk of an injury. This year Shohei Ohtani will be crowned again to win MVP for the American League. Ohtani won the award in 2021 when he miraculously hit 46 home runs and drove in 100 runs. He also did it on the other side of the field where he went 9–2 with a 3.18 ERA. Ohtani has completely changed the game of baseball because of his ability to dominate on both sides of the field and give absolutely everything he can to both the game and his teammates every night. Ohtani will also become a free agent after this season and is expected to get one of the largest contracts of all time. This can only make a player more hungry to perform well and succeed. Since Ohtani has been with the club, the Angels have not accomplished much as they have not won a playoff game. This year Ohtani will not only look to turn his franchise around but also to gain his second MVP trophy to add to his collection. The National League finally decided that instead of having a near automatic out, why not just let a designated hitter swing away? Since there’s no more pitcher hitting it brings even more opportunity for players to hit at the plate in big game situations. Last season came down to the wire with the MVP voting as several players had very good seasons and solid arguments to win the award. Unless you are Shohei Ohtani and can play both sides of the field at any point in time, it is likely that your team is going to have to perform well if you are going to win MVP. That is why I am picking the young stud Juan Soto to win MVP of the National League. Soto is about to play his first full season in a Padres uniform and this team is probably the best team on paper out of the whole league. They are basically a lock for the post season and after seeing their rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have so much success the last few seasons, they feel it is their turn to get in on the fun and bring a championship to San Diego, CA. In order to do this, Soto will have to be one of the players that leads the way for his team. Last season Soto collected 27 homers and 62 runs batted in with nearly no help in Washington and was begging to have a shot with a playoff team. When Soto got to San Diego he did not play as well as he should have. This year I believe Soto will be ready to go and he will put on a show for the whole league to see. He is a flashy player that teams love to watch play but hate to play against. Soto will outduel all of the other talent in the National League because he is still a young player that has a lot to prove and is equipped with a good team around him that wants to win.
Pete Alonso & Shohei Ohtani
Will Murphy ’23
As the weather continues to get warmer, the MLB season is beginning to ramp up toward Opening Day. After a tumultuous off-season, fans are eager to see their favorite players suit up once again. Once the season gets underway, one award race to watch will be for the MVP, which is awarded to the most valuable player in each league. Each of last year’s winners, Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Judge, fit a very specific mold. Both are sweet-swinging power hitters, who led their teams to high-powered offenses throughout the season. One potential candidate in this year’s race in the National League fits their description to a tee: Pete Alonso. Alonso is one of the most powerful hitters in baseball, racking up 40 home runs last year, which was good for the third most in baseball. Additionally Alonso drives in runs with the best of them. He notched a career-high 131 runs-batted-in (RBIs) last year, which paced the league. If Pete is able to maintain his high level of production this year, it would not be surprising to see voters recognize him as one of the most valuable players in the National League. Alonso, however, is not solely valuable because of his efforts in the batter’s box. He has become one of the better fielding first basemen since he entered the league in 2019. Ultimately, it is likely that Alonso finds himself firmly positioned in the heat of the 2023 National League MVP race. In the American League, there is one candidate that is the overwhelming favorite: Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani’s unique ability to impact the game as a two-way player, both pitching and hitting, sets him apart from the rest of the field. The 2021 American League MVP winner was impressive again last year, notching 34 home runs and driving in 95 runs. In addition to his contributions at the plate, Ohtani remained one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League, picking up 15 wins against only nine losses. In 28 starts for the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani’s earned run average per nine innings, or ERA, was a sparkling 2.33 runs per nine innings. Ohtani overwhelms batters with his high-powered fastball, helping him strike out 219 batters over the course of the 2022 season. Ohtani’s tantalizing skillset has electrified the MLB’s fanbase, and MVP voters alike, and it would be unsurprising to see him take home his second American League MVP in just three seasons. Regardless of who wins either award, this season appears primed to be backed with drama, excitement, and high-quality baseball.