The first of a three-game series began in the Bronx on Tuesday night, between the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees. If you love baseball, you already know what that means– Shohei Ohtani vs Aaron Judge. Two superstar sluggers in their primes ready to go swing for swing.
Ohtani wasted no time establishing his presence, smashing a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Los Angeles Angels an early 2-0 lead, en route to a 5-2 win at Yankee Stadium.
Judge took the collar on Tuesday, going 0-for-3 and dropping his batting average to a respectable .271. Ohtani’s blast was his only hit.
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) April 18, 2023
Last season, Judge led the Yankees to another division title while making history in the process, mashing an AL record 62 homers and subsequently taking home the AL MVP in a landslide victory, taking 28 out of a possible 30 votes.
However, Ohtani was equally spectacular, putting together a season where he smashed 34 HRs while befuddling hitters on the mound, with a 2.33 ERA, fueling comparisons to “The Great Bambino.”
Last night marked the first matchup between the two most recent AL MVPs. Both are rockstars, taking the game past boundaries the average viewer has not seen and both happen to be ballin’ to start the season.
Entering the game, Aaron Judge was batting .286, with five home runs and eight RBIs in 16 games. Shohei was batting .298, with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 15 games. Ohtani has also dominated on the mound to start the season, with a 2-0 record in four starts, giving up six hits in 21 innings pitched, while striking out 27.
Who’s The Bigger Star?
This begs the question, which player is more box office? Well, that depends on who you ask. The reigning MLBbro Bomber and “Shotime” even have the experts torn.
David Adler: “By far the biggest must-must-must-watch event in baseball right now is a game when Shohei Ohtani pitches and hits. Aaron Judge can’t hit his 62nd home run every week.”
JR Gamble: “These two guys are the saviors of baseball for our era. The two faces of the game, special forces who attract a fringe fan demograohic to MLB and every at-bat is must-see TV.”
Sarah Langs: “I think it has to be Ohtani. No disrespect to Judge or Trout, but having seen the way he was followed in person during the WBC, it’s hard to deny Ohtani and we never should. By definition, doing things that have never been done before is on its own level.”
Mark Feinsand: “I hate to be the guy defending the Yankees, but didn’t Judge have a higher WAR last year than Ohtani — even when you combined his hitting and pitching? Judge would have been deserving of the MVP even if he had finished with 60 homers and not broken the record.”
MVP Race Is Looking Like Ohtani vs. Judge Again
Ohtani is on pace to potentially top his 2022 season this year, and Judge is ahead of his 2022 pace already. It’s very early in the season, but both players are off to magnificent starts, and are both in place to be at the center of the AL MVP discussion at the end of the season…yet again.