A few weeks ago, it appeared the American League MVP debate was going to be an epic three-way battle between Aaron Judge, Yordan Alvarez and Shohei Ohtani, perhaps one of the best three-player races of all time.
Judge had 33 home runs at the All-Star break as the Yankees were steamrolling through the league, giving him a season pace of 58 and a chance to hit 60. Alvarez was arguably having an even better offensive season, hitting .306/.405/.653 with 26 home runs at the break. His weighted runs created plus (wRC+) figure was over 200, a number reached just nine times in a full season since 1950 -- four of those by Barry Bonds. Ohtani, of course, was having another brilliant two-way season.
Since then, however, Judge has been scorching hot, hitting .403 with 13 home runs in 20 games heading into Sunday night's shutout loss to the Red Sox, giving him 46 home runs on the season. Now his wRC+ is over 200. Ohtani has continued to star for the hapless Angels, especially on the pitching side, where he's 10-7 with a 2.68 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 111 innings (including a 1.70 ERA over his past 10 starts). Alvarez, meanwhile, missed seven games with a hand injury and has slowed down a bit. Our three-player clash is now a two-player race between Judge and Ohtani.