Kyle Tucker drove in three runs and Yordan Alvarez hit a walk-off home run in the 9th to give the Astros a 7-6 win over the Royals
Yordan Alvarez homers to center field to give the Houston Astros the win over the Kansas City Royals.
Welcome to the third edition of theScore's 2022 Most Valuable Player rankings, where we pick the top players from each league. Let's look at who's building their case as the season approaches the All-Star break.American League5. Rafael Devers, Red Sox Abbie Parr / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 77 17 45 56 .325/.382/.580 4.1 +1400 Devers leads the AL in WAR and has become one of the most difficult hitters in baseball to pitch to. He sits second in the Junior Circuit in batting average and is on pace to shatter his personal best for wRC+. Devers was key to Boston's impressive 20-6 record in June, posting a .979 OPS with 12 extra-base hits.4. Yordan Alvarez, Astros Christopher Pasatieri / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 69 23 56 49 .310/.406/.645 3.6 +1500 Alvarez is authoring a transcendent offensive season so far in 2022. The slugger has cut his strikeout rate to 16.7%, which is a career best. The Astros rewarded the 24-year-old in June with the second-largest contract in club history. Alvarez appears poised to shatter personal highs for home runs, RBIs, and FanGraphs' WAR.3. Jose Ramirez, Guardians Nick Cammett / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 73 16 63 46 .292/.377/.588 3.9 +1700 Ramirez is a three-time MVP finalist and is well on his way to adding a fourth to his resume. The switch-hitting star is pacing the Junior Circuit in RBIs. His all-around brilliance has helped the Guardians outperform expectations to sit second in the American League Central behind the Twins. Ramirez is one of the toughest outs around; the 29-year-old walks more than he strikes out and ranks third in contact rate.2. Shohei Ohtani, Angels Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty HR RBI OPS ERA K/9 WAR Odds 18 51 .847 2.68 12.28 4.0 +270 Ohtani is somehow maintaining his surreal pace after last year's brilliant MVP season. The 27-year-old could finish with a second consecutive 40-plus home run campaign, and it looks like he's reached another level on the mound. Ohtani has improved his K/9 and BB/9 while shaving a half run off his ERA. The Angels' inability to take a step forward as a team despite boasting a pair of transcendent talents continues to be one of baseball's most confounding subplots.1. Aaron Judge, Yankees Jim McIsaac / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 78 29 59 64 .282/.362/.619 4.0 -118 Judge and New York appear to be a perfect match as the hulking outfielder seems to relish playing in the pressure-cooking environment. The pending free agent leads MLB in home runs and is a big reason why the Yankees have raced out to baseball's best record. He's also shown a flair for the dramatic with three walk-off hits this year, including a pair in a potential ALCS preview against the Astros. It's hard to envision Judge playing anywhere else, but all it takes is one determined owner to make things complicated for the Yankees this offseason.National League 5. Dansby Swanson, Braves Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 80 14 46 50 .301/.360/.500 3.8 N/A After a difficult start to the season, Swanson has morphed into one of the league's better hitters since the beginning of May. The impending free agent crushed 12 homers and has 36 RBIs over the past two months and is positioned to cash in with a massive contract this offseason. It's difficult to imagine that the Braves will allow another star to depart after the Freddie Freeman fiasco.4. Mookie Betts, Dodgers Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 61 17 40 55 .278/.357/.544 3.5 +1300 Despite missing time with a rib injury, Betts still sits comfortably inside the top 10 in the National League in WAR and is quickly threatening to be in the top five after just returning. Although the headlines of late have focused on Freeman's free agency, the Dodgers are still pacing the division and have taken their usual spot as legitimate World Series contenders. For as good as Betts has been, he historically finds another gear as the postseason inches closer (.950 career OPS in August, .894 in September/October).3. Pete Alonso, Mets Elsa / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 78 22 69 46 .276/.355/.545 2.2 +550 The Mets have seen their large lead over the Braves shrink in the NL East, but Alonso continues to do his part to lead the lineup. The "Polar Bear" is pacing the Senior Circuit in RBIs while sitting second in home runs. The slugger is in the midst of a career season in batting average and on-base percentage and has been a model of consistency, appearing in 78 of New York's 79 games so far.2. Manny Machado, Padres Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 70 12 46 49 .320/.391/.530 4.3 +500 Machado recently returned after missing over a week with an ankle injury and still leads the NL in FanGraphs' WAR. The Padres have been humbled a bit after a series with the Dodgers, and it's clear that until Fernando Tatis Jr. returns from injury, Machado will need to carry the load to keep the Friars afloat.1. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty GP HR RBI R AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Odds 77 19 65 60 .341/.423/.625 4.1 +115 Goldschmidt has been one of baseball's most consistent offensive players for a decade. The 34-year-old has never posted an OPS under .800 and is authoring a career-best campaign in his 12th season. Goldschmidt leads the NL by a wide margin in batting average and wRC+ while ranking inside the top five in homers, runs, and RBIs. He owns a pair of MVP runner-up finishes, but this could finally be the season where Goldschmidt breaks through and adds that elusive piece of hardware to his mantle.Copyright © 2022 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
Ben Verlander talks dives into his team of the month lead by Houston Astros Yordan Alvarez, Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani, Atlanta Braves Dansby Swanson and Michael Harris II.
Major League Baseball handed out its awards for June on Saturday. Here's a look at the honorees.Players of the Month Christopher Pasatieri / Getty Images Sport / GettyHouston Astros designated hitter/outfielder Yordan Alvarez, who won Player of the Week earlier in June, was named AL Player of the Month. The 25-year-old hit a blistering .418/.510/.835 over 23 games with nine homers, 28 RBIs, 19 runs scored, and as many walks (13) as strikeouts.Kyle Schwarber just loves June. The Philadelphia Phillies slugger took home NL Player of the Month honors, marking the second consecutive June he's won this award. Schwarber's 12 homers led all players. Overall, he hit .272/.385/.680 with a 189 OPS+, 27 RBIs, and a pair of multi-homer games. Schwarber is the first Phillies player to win this honor in any month since Dom Brown in May 2013.Pitchers of the Month Quinn Harris / Getty Images Sport / GettyThe American League's top pitcher was Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease. Just one of the 11 runs Cease allowed in June was earned, which gave him a sparkling 0.33 ERA to go along with a 1.21 WHIP, 45 strikeouts, and one home run allowed over five starts. He had a pair of double-digit strikeout outings, including a career-high 13 Ks in seven innings on June 26.Sandy Alcantara became the first Miami Marlins pitcher to win NL Pitcher of the Month since Jose Fernandez in April 2014. The 26-year-old right-hander posted a 1.89 ERA and 0.88 WHIP with 34 strikeouts and only eight walks. He pitched at least seven innings in all six of his starts, including a complete-game victory on June 29, and limited opponents to a meager .199 average with only two homers in 47 2/3 innings.Rookies of the MonthFor the second consecutive month, Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez is the AL's top rookie. Rodriguez followed up his award-winning May with an even better June, hitting .280/.361/.542 with seven homers, 14 extra-base hits, 16 RBIs, 22 runs scored, and five of his AL-leading 19 stolen bases. The 21-year-old is the first Mariners rookie to earn this distinction in consecutive months since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Rich Schultz / Getty Images Sport / GettyAtlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II was named NL Rookie of the Month in his first full month as a big leaguer. Harris, who was only called up on May 28, grabbed hold of a starting spot in Atlanta's outfield by hitting .347/.371/.574 with four homers, 13 extra-base hits, 16 RBIs, and four stolen bases. He also had a 13-game hitting streak and hit safely in all but four of his 27 contests.Relievers of the MonthCleveland Guardians reliever Emmanuel Clase was named AL Reliever of the Month, the second time he's claimed the honor. The 24-year-old was untouchable, notching 11 saves while not allowing a run or walking a batter in 15 appearances. His remarkable month also included 16 strikeouts and an opponent slash line of .137/.137/.157. Jim McIsaac / Getty Images Sport / GettyNew York Mets flamethrower Edwin Diaz added to his trophy collection by claiming NL Reliever of the Month honors. Diaz only threw 9 2/3 innings in June but dominated in the short span, collecting five saves with a 0.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 21 strikeouts, and only one walk in 10 outings. This is Diaz's sixth career Reliever of the Month distinction, breaking a tie with Josh Hader for the most all time. He won his first five in the AL with the Mariners.Copyright © 2022 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.