Judge vs. Ohtani

BaseballJones

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Now that Judge has gotten this monkey off his back (he'd been in a bit of a drought), watch him hit like 4 more before season's end. Good for him. Dude is incredible.

But I want to talk about Judge vs. Ohtani. I know Judge is going to win the MVP, and rightly so - he's having maybe the greatest offensive season (in context) that's ever been had. But who's having the better season overall? Who's the better baseball player? Ohtani clearly represents a totally unique kind of player. Like, as in, we've never seen this before. The only remotely comparable guy is Babe Ruth. So when the Babe is your only even semi-close comparable, you know you're in a world by yourself.

Current stats and rankings (MLB rank/AL rank):

Runs:
- Judge: 130 (1/1)
- Ohtani: 88 (20/8)

Hits:
- Judge: 173 (7/4)
- Ohtani: 152 (26/17)

Home Runs:
- Judge: 61 (1/1)
- Ohtani: 34 (10/4)

RBI:
- Judge: 130 (2/1)
- Ohtani: 93 (16/7)

Total Bases:
- Judge: 384 (1/1)
- Ohtani: 295 (7/4)

Walks:
- Judge: 106 (2/1)
- Ohtani: 71 (15/7)

Avg:
- Judge: .313 (4/1)
- Ohtani: .273 (40/24)

OBP:
- Judge: .425 (1/1)
- Ohtani: .357 (26/16)

SLG:
- Judge: .696 (1/1)
- Ohtani: .530 (9/4)

OPS:
- Judge: 1.121 (1/1)
- Ohtani: .887 (8/3)

bWAR:
- Judge: 10.4 (1/1)
- Ohtani: 3.8 (50/24)

Obviously the hitting is hugely warped in Judge's favor, though if Judge vanished from the face of the earth, Ohtani's overall offensive season would be one of the best in all of baseball. But then there's the craziness that Ohtani also is an elite pitcher, which is something that Judge simply cannot even approach. Here's Ohtani's pitching contribution:

Stat (MLB/AL rank)
- 26 games started (62/28)
- 153.1 innings pitched (48/23)
- 14 wins (12/6)
- 2.47 era (7/4)
- 1.06 WHIP (17/6)
- 11.94 k/9 (1/1)
- 5.4 bWAR as a pitcher (6/3)

So Ohtani gives you the combination of being both a top 10 middle of the order bat in all of baseball, PLUS an ace #1 top of the rotation starter, and by many measurements, one of the very best starting pitchers in all of baseball. They take care of his arm because they want him to pitch and hit, so he doesn't throw quite as many innings as a true #1 ace, but in terms of the quality of those innings, he's basically as good as it gets in baseball.

Total bWAR has Judge ahead, 10.4 to 9.2. What Judge is doing this year is mind-boggling. But it may be the case that we've ALREADY taken for granted what Ohtani does. He's doing things that have never been seen before on a baseball field. Babe Ruth in 1918-19 is the equivalent (I mean, Ohtani's 2021 is, but other than HIM):

Ruth (1919):
- hitting: 543 ab, 103 r, 139 h, 29 hr, 113 rbi, .322/.456/.657/1.114, 9.1 bWAR
- pitching: 9-5, 2.97 era, 133.1 ip, 1.55 whip, 2.0 k/9, 0.8 bWAR

Before 1918 he pitched a LOT more than he hit. 1918 was his first breakout hitting season really. And 1919 represented his last remotely serious pitching campaign as he turned into a full time slugger. Ohtani is giving the Angels PREMIER middle of the order hitting over a full season's worth of at-bats, AND giving them PREMIER, #1 ace starter pitching performance over a workload of a top 50 pitcher in all of baseball.


So I don't know who's "better" or who is even having a "better" season. What both guys are doing is mind-boggling and impossible to compare to one another.
 
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Judge. Ohtoni is neat and I don't mind giving the MVP to a player on an noncompetitive team when there isn't otherwise a comparible standout on a competitive team but there's a standout. And he's absolutely carrying the Yankees offense.

It really sucks the Angels are wasting Trout's and Ohtoni's careers, and basically sucked the life out of Pujols during his stay there. What a horrible, horrible franchise.
 

BaseballJones

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I'm not asking who should be the MVP. It's Judge. I'm asking who's better, and who's actually having the better season. It might be Judge still - he's been unfathomably good. That doesn't mean he's a better overall baseball player. (he might still be...)
 

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It should be Ohtani every year while he’s putting up All-Star level numbers as both a hitter and a pitcher.

This year his hitting has taken a step back but his pitching has taken a giant leap forward. Last year, he was a DH that was a decent pitcher.

This year, he’s been an absolute ace and an All-Star level hitter.

Judge hitting 61 is a cool story, but it’s currently the 7th most HRs of all-time. What Ohtani is doing hasn’t been done, and may not be done again in our lifetimes.
 

JCizzle

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It should be Ohtani every year while he’s putting up All-Star level numbers as both a hitter and a pitcher.

This year his hitting has taken a step back but his pitching has taken a giant leap forward. Last year, he was a DH that was a decent pitcher.

This year, he’s been an absolute ace and an All-Star level hitter.

Judge hitting 61 is a cool story, but it’s currently the 7th most HRs of all-time. What Ohtani is doing hasn’t been done, and may not be done again in our lifetimes.
I fully agree with this. It should be Ohtani almost by default unless he's injured in future seasons. I wonder if Judge played for say, the Orioles, if the national debate would be so lopsided.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Now that Judge has gotten this monkey off his back (he'd been in a bit of a drought), watch him hit like 4 more before season's end. Good for him. Dude is incredible.
I know Judge is going to win the MVP, and rightly so - he's having maybe the greatest offensive season (in context) that's ever been had.
What is the context?
 

BaseballJones

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What is the context?
Judge (2022): 130 r, 61 hr, 130 rbi, 106 bb, .313/.425/.696/1.121, 213 ops+, 10.4 bWAR (context: dwarfing any other offensive stats in the game today)
Ruth (1923): 151 r, 41 hr, 130 rbi, 170 bb, .393/.545/.764/1.309, 239 ops+, 14.2 bWAR (context: pre-integration)
Bonds (2001): 129 r, 73 hr, 137 rbi, 177 bb, .328/.515/.863/1.379, 259 ops+, 11.9 bWAR (context: juiced ball, steroid era)

Both Ruth and Bonds actually had better offensive seasons than Judge's 2022, but the context of their achievements was...different.
 

Bongorific

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It should be Ohtani every year while he’s putting up All-Star level numbers as both a hitter and a pitcher.

This year his hitting has taken a step back but his pitching has taken a giant leap forward. Last year, he was a DH that was a decent pitcher.

This year, he’s been an absolute ace and an All-Star level hitter.

Judge hitting 61 is a cool story, but it’s currently the 7th most HRs of all-time. What Ohtani is doing hasn’t been done, and may not be done again in our lifetimes.
My thoughts as well. Ohtani is the most unique baseball talent I’ve ever seen. If he wasn’t on such a dogshit franchise, he would be on every cereal box and late night show. Every year he has all star caliber numbers as a hitter and pitcher, he’s the MVP. It should be like Lebron or Brady where they can only give him the trophy every few years just to keep the discussion interesting.
 

singaporesoxfan

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My thoughts as well. Ohtani is the most unique baseball talent I’ve ever seen. If he wasn’t on such a dogshit franchise, he would be on every cereal box and late night show. Every year he has all star caliber numbers as a hitter and pitcher, he’s the MVP. It should be like Lebron or Brady where they can only give him the trophy every few years just to keep the discussion interesting.
It really is the Angels. He's a unique talent, doing something that's never been done before, playing in the LA metro area, and add to that he's personally pretty charismatic and outgoing. With Mike Trout the lack of recognition I might have attributed in part to Trout's somewhat boring personality, but Ohtani has star power that somehow gets sucked out by the team.
 

Max Power

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My thoughts as well. Ohtani is the most unique baseball talent I’ve ever seen. If he wasn’t on such a dogshit franchise, he would be on every cereal box and late night show. Every year he has all star caliber numbers as a hitter and pitcher, he’s the MVP. It should be like Lebron or Brady where they can only give him the trophy every few years just to keep the discussion interesting.
Judge's hitting this season has been so far superior to everyone else, he's still better than Ohtani. The only guys who have put up an OPS+ in a full season better than his 213 since integration are Ted Williams and Barry Bonds. Yes, he gets a nauseating amount of attention because he's a Yankee, but the numbers are the numbers. And he's hitting when it counts, so they're not just garbage time homers. He has 130 RBI and a 8.0 WPA.
 

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Judge (2022): 130 r, 61 hr, 130 rbi, 106 bb, .313/.425/.696/1.121, 213 ops+, 10.4 bWAR (context: dwarfing any other offensive stats in the game today)
Ruth (1923): 151 r, 41 hr, 130 rbi, 170 bb, .393/.545/.764/1.309, 239 ops+, 14.2 bWAR (context: pre-integration)
Bonds (2001): 129 r, 73 hr, 137 rbi, 177 bb, .328/.515/.863/1.379, 259 ops+, 11.9 bWAR (context: juiced ball, steroid era)

Both Ruth and Bonds actually had better offensive seasons than Judge's 2022, but the context of their achievements was...different.
I mean, he is having a tremendous season. One of the best recent...

But it ranks 48th overall in OPS+. Behind modern players like Bonds, Ted, Mantle, Gehrig, Soto, McGwire and tied with Bagwell and 1 point ahead of Frank Thomas.

It ranks 38th in bWAR, behind Yaz, Bonds, Gehrig, Cal Ripken, Mantle, Musial, Mays, Joe Morgan, Mookie, Ted, Robin Yount and Trout. Right ahead of A-Rod.

Celebrate it for what it is, but there is no reason to use hyperbole.
 

Max Power

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I mean, he is having a tremendous season. One of the best recent...

But it ranks 48th overall in OPS+. Behind modern players like Bonds, Ted, Mantle, Gehrig, Soto, McGwire and tied with Bagwell and 1 point ahead of Frank Thomas.

It ranks 38th in bWAR, behind Yaz, Bonds, Gehrig, Cal Ripken, Mantle, Musial, Mays, Joe Morgan, Mookie, Ted, Robin Yount and Trout. Right ahead of A-Rod.

Celebrate it for what it is, but there is no reason to use hyperbole.
Soto, Bagwell, and Thomas all put up their higher OPS+ in pandemic and strike shortened seasons.
 

BaseballJones

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He could end up being the first guy to lead the AL in runs, homers, rbi, average, and walks, since..... Ted Williams in 1942. Ruth never did that. Ted did it once...that 1942 season. It's not hyperbole to say it's a year for the ages.

When Bonds hit 73 homers, the #2 guy was Sosa, with 64. So a 9 homer difference. Bonds had 14% more homers than Sosa.

When Maris hit 61 homers, the #2 guy was Mantle, with 54. So a 7 homer difference. Maris had 13% more homers than Mantle.

When McGwire hit 70 homers, the #2 guy was Sosa, with 66. So a 4 homer difference. McGwire had 6% more homers than Sosa.

Judge is at 61. The #2 guy in the league is Trout, with 38. So a 23 homer difference. Judge has 61% more homers than Trout.

Only if you go back to Ruth do you get comparables to Judge.
 

BaseballJones

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There are other numbers that matter besides bWAR, of course. But yes, you're not wrong. There are ways of looking at it that make it look like a "great but not historically great" season, and there are ways of looking at it that make it look like "an all-time great" season.

Similarly, there are ways of looking at Ohtani's season as a "great but not historically great" season, and there are ways of looking at it that make it look like an "all-time great" season.
 

Murderer's Crow

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Statistics or otherwise, I can't really stomach comparing an offensive performance in 2022 to one 20 or 80 years ago. There are too many factors and even just in the last 4 years, the game has substantially changed.

Look at the baseball alone, would Judge have had this season with the 2019 or 2020 baseball? Would he have had it with the 2020 sticky stuff? Too many what ifs and buts, so who cares if its a better season than Bonds (its definitely not) or Ruth...that's why counting stats are a little more fun. It's black and white # of homers, consecutive hit streak, number of wins...etc. Nobody is chasing all time WAR in a season.

As it relates to Ohtani, what he does on the mound is of greater value than what Judge does on defense. So, if Ohtani is having a top 5 offensive and top 5 pitching season, Judge would have to basically be the best hitter in the league by a mile to be considered the more valuable player...and he is this year. If Judge had 50 homers and 130rbi, Ohtani probably gets the nod.
 

EvilEmpire

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He's having a truly great season. But if he was doing it with more doubles and less HRs it wouldn't be quite so gushed over.

In terms of bWAR, it's not even in the top 100.
Maybe not. But we'd probably be talking even more about his attempt at the triple crown.
 

jon abbey

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Judge doesn’t pitch but Ohtani doesn’t play the field, I feel like people leave that part out sometimes.
 

BaseballJones

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Ohtani's offensive year isn't top 5 though. It's really, really good - excellent middle of the order hitter kind of good. So more like top 10.

And when the bWAR factors in both hitting AND pitching, he's still got fewer bWAR than Judge this year.
 

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He could end up being the first guy to lead the AL in runs, homers, rbi, average, and walks, since..... Ted Williams in 1942. Ruth never did that. Ted did it once...that 1942 season. It's not hyperbole to say it's a year for the ages.

When Bonds hit 73 homers, the #2 guy was Sosa, with 64. So a 9 homer difference. Bonds had 14% more homers than Sosa.

When Maris hit 61 homers, the #2 guy was Mantle, with 54. So a 7 homer difference. Maris had 13% more homers than Mantle.

When McGwire hit 70 homers, the #2 guy was Sosa, with 66. So a 4 homer difference. McGwire had 6% more homers than Sosa.

Judge is at 61. The #2 guy in the league is Trout, with 38. So a 23 homer difference. Judge has 61% more homers than Trout.

Only if you go back to Ruth do you get comparables to Judge.
So say it is one of the best HR seasons of all time. OPS+ takes all that into account (and more).

2020 OPS+
Judge- 218
Alvarez- 187 (15% better than 2nd)

2001 OPS+
Bonds- 259
Sosa- 203 (22% better)

1961 OPS+
Maris wasn't first

1998 OPS+
McGwire- 216
Bonds- 178 (18% better)
 

BaseballJones

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It's still one of the best offensive seasons of all time. Like I said, it all depends on how you look at it.

He could be the second player ever to lead the league in runs, homers, rbi, walks, and average. It's only been done one time before, by Ted Williams. I mean, not even Ruth or Bonds did that.

That's absolutely incredible.
 

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Judge doesn’t pitch but Ohtani doesn’t play the field, I feel like people leave that part out sometimes.
I mean they could play him in the OF when he's not pitching. Of course having him collapse from exhaustion in June would be less than optimal. :)
 

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I feel like Ohtani's uniqueness was recognized last year when he got the MVP, and that will be the end of that. Henceforth the MVP will only go to the best offensive player, or in some ultra rare case, a pitcher who is historically good in a season without any standout offensive performer. As great as Ohtani is, I doubt he will fit either criteria going forward.
 

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I do think that WAR doesn't do a good job encapsulating Ohtani's value as a player. I find the defensive penalty too harsh for a guy that is pitching while spending time as a DH. Ohtani is the best defensive DH in the history of baseball if you think about it.
 

jon abbey

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I kind feel Ohtani pitching 150 innings more than makes up for that. A pitcher has a disproportionate effect on his games.
Sure, of course, I’m not equating the two, just saying that people literally leave out that Judge not only plays RF well, he played a competent CF this year for 80 games when NY desperately needed him to.
 

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Sure, of course, I’m not equating the two, just saying that people literally leave out that Judge not only plays RF well, he played a competent CF this year for 80 games when NY desperately needed him to.
He also steals. 16 this year. If he makes a push, he can get to 20 which would make him the first and probably only ever 60/20 player.
 

heavyde050

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He could end up being the first guy to lead the AL in runs, homers, rbi, average, and walks, since..... Ted Williams in 1942. Ruth never did that. Ted did it once...that 1942 season. It's not hyperbole to say it's a year for the ages.

When Bonds hit 73 homers, the #2 guy was Sosa, with 64. So a 9 homer difference. Bonds had 14% more homers than Sosa.

When Maris hit 61 homers, the #2 guy was Mantle, with 54. So a 7 homer difference. Maris had 13% more homers than Mantle.

When McGwire hit 70 homers, the #2 guy was Sosa, with 66. So a 4 homer difference. McGwire had 6% more homers than Sosa.

Judge is at 61. The #2 guy in the league is Trout, with 38. So a 23 homer difference. Judge has 61% more homers than Trout.

Only if you go back to Ruth do you get comparables to Judge.
The craziest part is Ted Williams didn't even win the AL MVP in 1942.
https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/1942_American_League_Most_Valuable_Player_Award
 

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It's crazy to think folks think Ohtani is having a down year compared to last: he's got 34 HRs and a 148 OPS+ this year and it's still viewed as a disappointment.

What an incredible player. We've never seen anything like him.
 

BaseballJones

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It's crazy to think folks think Ohtani is having a down year compared to last: he's got 34 HRs and a 148 OPS+ this year and it's still viewed as a disappointment.

What an incredible player. We've never seen anything like him.
Down year with the bat, but a much better year on the mound.

2021: 9 wins, 3.18 era, 130.1 ip, 141 era+, 1.09 whip, 10.8 k/9, 4.1 bWAR (as a pitcher)
2022: 14 wins, 2.47 era, 153.0 ip, 163 era+, 1.06 whip, 11.9 k/9, 5.4 bWAR (as a pitcher)
 

Sad Sam Jones

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He also steals. 16 this year. If he makes a push, he can get to 20 which would make him the first and probably only ever 60/20 player.
Are we really going to give him credit for things he's not going to do? Sammy Sosa hit 66 home runs and stole 18 bases.
 

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Has Judge always batted leadoff? Seems like a stereotypical 3/4 hitter, but I can understand why a manager would want him to get more looks.
 

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Ohtani is great. A marvel.

And he should probably win the MVP every year for the next 10 years in a row. He is on a whole other level with what he is doing.

But I don't want the MVP award to feel like when the Emmys blindly give the best comedy award to Modern Family every year.

If we are doing a who is better comparison though, if the Yankees where to give all the money they would have given to Judge to Ohtani instead, I would be pretty happy about that. He is a better longterm investment.
 

jon abbey

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Has Judge always batted leadoff? Seems like a stereotypical 3/4 hitter, but I can understand why a manager would want him to get more looks.
No he just moved there a few weeks ago, because NY had so little support around him with injuries and underperformance.
 

jon abbey

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If Ohtani were a free agent this year, who would get the bigger deal, him or Judge?
Ohtani is two years younger, which is a huge factor in big FA deals. Juan Soto would get a bigger deal than Judge also, not sure it’s too relevant.
 

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I've spent some time thinking about this and have come to the conclusion that it's an unfair question.

Judge has all the traditional five tools at a high level, has the non-existent clutch gene, and by all accounts is nothing but a positive presence in the dugout and for the game.

Ohtani is a unicorn.

It's an impossible comparison.