The Yearly Reader

Leaders and Honors, 2022

Our list of baseball’s top 10 hitters and pitchers in both the American League and National League for the 2022 baseball season, as well as the awards and honors given to the game’s top achievers of the year.

The National League’s Top 10 Hitters, 2022

Bold type in brick red indicates league leader.

1. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis

Key Numbers: .317 batting average, 106 runs, 178 hits, 41 doubles, 35 home runs, 115 RBIs, 79 walks, .578 slugging percentage, .981 OPS.

After finishing runner-up twice, Goldschmidt finally won his first MVP; he led the majors with batting averages in home games (.347) and against left-handed pitchers (.411).

2. Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles

Key Numbers: .325 batting average, 117 runs, 199 hits, 47 doubles, 21 home runs, 100 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, 84 walks, .407 on-base percentage.

The Orange County native said no Tampa Bay (where he would have made more money, post-income taxes) and returned home, setting career highs in hits, doubles and steals while propelling the Dodgers to a record-setting (111 wins) season.

3. Manny Machado, San Diego

Key Numbers: .298 batting average, 100 runs, 172 hits, 37 doubles, 32 home runs, 102 RBIs, 63 walks.

Amid all the chaos in San Diego (i.e., Fernando Tatis Jr.), Machado was a welcomed source of top-flight consistency—something taken into consideration by MVP voters, who placed him second behind Goldschmidt.

4. Pete Alonso, New York

Key Numbers: .271 batting average, 95 runs, 27 doubles, 40 home runs, 131 RBIs, 67 walks, 16 intentional walks.

In just his fourth year with the Mets, Alonso became the first player in franchise history with multiple seasons of 40-plus homers; an MLB-high 17 of them in 2022 came with runners in scoring position. All this, and he was just lucky to be alive, surviving a multi-roll car crash on his way to Spring Training with just a few scratches—all in full view of his wife, who witnessed the accident driving in the car behind.

5. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles

Key Numbers: 142 games, .269 batting average, 117 runs, 40 doubles, 35 home runs, 82 RBIs, 12 stolen bases.

The flashy catralyst set an MLB record with his 20th career multi-homer game from the leadoff spot.

6. Trea Turner, Los Angeles

Key Numbers: .298 batting average, 652 at-bats, 101 runs, 194 hits, 39 doubles, 21 home runs, 100 RBIs, 27 stolen bases.

The smooth and speedy shortstop had two of MLB’s six 20-game hitting streaks—and that doesn’t include a 27-game run that began the year before, tied for the fourth longest in Dodgers history. He thanked the team at year’s end by signing a lucrative long-term deal with the Phillies.

7. Austin Riley, Atlanta

Key Numbers: .273 batting average, 90 runs, 168 hits, 39 doubles, 38 home runs, 93 RBIs, 325 total bases, 17 hit-by-pitches.

Incentive issues? Before being blessed with a monster 10-year, $212 million extension, Riley was batting .301 with 29 homers over 100 games. Afterward, he hit just .224 with nine homers over 59 games.

8. Nolan Arenado, St. Louis

Key Numbers: .293 batting average, 163 hits, 42 doubles, 30 home runs, 103 RBIs.

While snaring his 10th Gold Glove in 10 MLB seasons, Arenado also hit for his second career cycle, was part of the 11th quartet of players to hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs, and registered his sixth straight full (162-game) season of 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs.

9. J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia

Key Numbers: .276 batting average, 26 doubles, 5 triples, 22 home runs, 84 RBIs, 21 stolen bases, 1 caught stealing, 12 hit-by-pitches.

The Phillies would have never sniffed the playoffs without the complete effort of the All-Star catcher, who besides his stellar defense and sound hitting stole 21 bases in 22 attempts—with the one tag-out coming in his second-to-last game of the regular season.

10. Francisco Lindor, New York

Key Numbers: 161 games, .270 batting average, 98 runs, 170 hits, 25 doubles, 5 triples, 26 home runs, 107 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, 10 hit-by-pitches.

After a subpar first year at New York, Lindor rebounded to star form; he surpassed 100 RBIs for the first time in his eight years of major league play.

The American League’s Top 10 Hitters, 2022

1. Aaron Judge, New York

Key Numbers: .311 batting average, 133 runs, 177 hits, 28 doubles, 62 home runs, 131 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, 111 walks, 175 strikeouts, .425 on-base percentage, .686 slugging percentage, 1.111 OPS.

Apart from breaking Roger Maris’ AL home run record and nearly winning the triple crown—only Minnesota’s Luis Arraez had a better batting average—Judge set Yankee records for the most multi-homer games in a season (11) and tied the team mark for walk-off dingers (three).

2. Yordan Alvarez, Houston

Key Numbers: 135 games, .306 batting average, 95 runs, 29 doubles, 37 home runs, 97 RBIs, 78 walks.

For what it was worth, Alvarez hit .453 on Fridays—the season’s highest average by any major leaguer on any day. For that and his dominance during the other six days of the week, he was rewarded with a six-year, $115 million extension.

3. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland

Key Numbers: .280 batting average, 90 runs, 168 hits, 44 doubles, 5 triples, 29 home runs, 126 RBIs, 20 stolen bases, 69 walks, 20 intentional walks.

The perennial All-Star, in the midst of another stellar year, was happy on two fronts: That he finally had strong backing in the lineup (particularly from rookies Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez) and that he received a five-year, $124 million extension—ending chronic speculation, for now, that the low-budget Guardians would deal him away for prospects.

4. Jose Altuve, Houston

Key Numbers: .300 batting average, 103 runs, 39 doubles, 28 home runs, 57 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, 1 caught stealing, 66 walks, 10 hit-by-pitches.

The veteran sparkplug enjoyed his sixth .300 season—batting .346 over his final 57 regular season games before collapsing into a postseason-record string of 25 straight hitless at-bats.

5. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles

Key Numbers: .273 batting average, 90 runs, 30 doubles, 6 triples, 34 home runs, 95 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, 72 walks.

MLB exploited the value of the slugger/ace by writing up a new rule allowing pitchers to continue hitting in the DH spot after being removed from the mound. To no one’s surprise, it was informally called the Shohei Ohtani Rule.

6. Mike Trout, Los Angeles

Key Numbers: 119 games, .303 batting average, 85 runs, 28 doubles, 40 home runs, 80 RBIs, 54 walks.

The oft-injured star center fielder might have also given Roger Maris a scare had he not missed 43 games; he homered in seven consecutive contests, one short of the major league record, in early September.

7. Rafael Devers, Boston

Key Numbers: .295 batting average, 84 runs, 42 doubles, 27 home runs, 88 RBIs.

Amid the malaise of a mediocre Red Sox season, the continued All-Star hitting of the third baseman gave fans at Fenway Park some measure of joy.

8. Julio Rodriguez, Seattle

Key Numbers: 132 games, .284 batting average, 84 runs, 25 doubles, 28 home runs, 75 RBIs, 25 stolen bases.

Once A-Rod, now J-Rod: The 21-year-old debutante evoked Alex Rodriguez’s exciting early Seattle youth, becoming the third MLB rookie (after Mike Trout and Chris Young) to collect 25 homers and steals each in his first year. The Mariners though enough of his talent to bless him with a massive, complicated extension that could max out at a staggering $470 million.

9. Bo Bichette, Toronto

Key Numbers: .290 batting average, 652 at-bats, 91 runs, 189 hits, 43 doubles, 24 home runs, 93 RBIs, 13 stolen bases.

The young shortstop’s productive year included an especially productive September 5 when he compiled six hits including three homers, all of them struck in the second game of a doubleheader.

10. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto

Key Numbers: .274 batting average, 638 at-bats, 90 runs, 175 hits, 35 doubles, 32 home runs, 97 RBIs, 26 grounded into double plays.

Toronto’s other fine legacy experienced a drop-off from his monstrous 2021 campaign, but was still prone to spectacular efforts—such as his own three-homer effort on April 13 against the Yankees, after having his right hand accidentally stomped on while playing first base.

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The National League’s Top 10 Pitchers, 2022

1. Sandy Alcantara, Miami

Key Numbers: 2.28 ERA, 14 wins, 9 losses, 32 starts, 6 complete games, 1 shutout, 228.2 innings, 207 strikeouts, 21 grounded into double plays, 0.98 WHIP.

A deserving Cy Young Award recipient who got less-than-deserving run support from a tepid Marlins offense, Alcantara played the workhorse in an era without any; he registered more complete games than any other MLB team.

2. Max Fried, Atlanta

Key Numbers: 2.48 ERA, 14 wins, 7 losses, .667 win percentage, 30 starts, 185.1 innings, 32 walks, 170 strikeouts.

The sure-handed southpaw may have won seven fewer games than teammate Kyle Wright, but he was clearly the better pitcher—and Cy voters understood, parsing the numbers enough to make him the runner-up to Alcantara.

3. Julio Urias, Los Angeles

Key Numbers: 2.16 ERA, 17 wins, 7 losses, .708 win percentage, 31 starts, 175 innings, 166 strikeouts, 0.96 WHIP, .199 batting average against.

El Culichi ran his record over three years to 40-10—46-11 if you include the playoffs—and became the 10th modern-era Dodgers pitcher to win the ERA crown.

4. Kyle Wright, Atlanta

Key Numbers: 3.19 ERA, 21 wins, 5 losses, .808 win percentage, 30 starts, 180.1 innings, 174 strikeouts, 25 grounded into double plays.

It was quite the breakout for a pitcher who, in four previous MLB seasons, had compiled a measly 2-8 record and 6.56 ERA; no one else had more than 18 victories in 2022.

5. Zac Gallen, Arizona

Key Numbers: 2.54 ERA, 12 wins, 4 losses, .750 win percentage, 31 starts, 184 innings, 192 strikeouts, 12 hit-by-pitches, 0.91 WHIP, .186 batting average against.

Gallen made up for lost wins of seasons past, taking matters into his own hands thanks to a midsummer run of 45.2 consecutive scoreless innings—the seventh longest streak in MLB history.

6. Tyler Anderson, Los Angeles

Key Numbers: 2.57 ERA, 15 wins, 5 losses, .750 win percentage, 30 appearances, 28 starts, 178.2 innings, 34 walks, 1.00 WHIP.

The latest MLB nomad to be given the Midas Touch by the Dodgers, Anderson won his first eight decisions and improved to 13-1 before some unlucky results in the home stretch mellowed his record.

7. Daniel Bard, Colorado

Key Numbers: 1.79 ERA, 6 wins, 4 losses, 57 appearances, 34 saves, 3 blown saves, 60.1 innings, 69 strikeouts, .162 batting average against.

The 37-year-old closer, who stepped away from baseball in the late 2010s after suffering major control problems a la Steve Blass, was never better than with the 2022 Rockies; his ERA was the second lowest by any Colorado pitcher throwing 60 or more innings.

8. Edwin Diaz, New York

Key Numbers: 1.31 ERA, 3 wins, 1 loss, 61 appearances, 32 saves, 2 blown saves, 62 innings, 118 strikeouts, .160 batting average against.

Virtually untouchable after a mortal start, Diaz won the hearts of Citi Field fans not so much with his outings but with his entry music of Narco by Timmy Trumpet—who actually began showing up late in the year to perform the matador-tinged song in person.

9. Max Scherzer, New York

Key Numbers: 2.29 ERA, 11 wins, 5 losses, .688 win percentage, 23 starts, 145.1 innings, 24 walks, 173 strikeouts, 11 hit-by-pitches, 0.91 WHIP.

Still packing a power punch at age 38, the fireballer won his 200th career game just after losing his 100th; his biggest challenge was a bad oblique that cost him seven weeks on the shelf.

10. Carlos Rodon, San Francisco

Key Numbers: 2.88 ERA, 14 wins, 6 losses, .700 win percentage, 31 starts, 178 innings, 237 strikeouts, 10 wild pitches, 1.03 WHIP, .202 batting average against.

In his first—and last—year at San Francisco, Rodon proved that his 2021 breakout campaign with the White Sox was no fluke. He took advantage of a negotiated opt-out by inking with the Yankees following the season.

The American League’s Top 10 Pitchers, 2022

1. Justin Verlander, Houston

Key Numbers: 1.75 ERA, 18 wins, 4 losses, .818 win percentage, 28 starts, 175 innings, 29 walks, 185 strikeouts, 0.83 WHIP, .186 batting average against.

The 39-year-old Comeback Kid, returning from Tommy John surgery, snagged his first-ever sub-2.00 ERA and third Cy Young Award; he was removed from three starts of five or more no-hit innings, as Astros coaches cautious of his recovery sought to preserve him for the postseason.

2. Alek Manoah, Toronto

Key Numbers: 2.24 ERA, 16 wins, 7 losses, .696 win percentage, 31 starts, 196.2 innings, 180 strikeouts, 15 hit-by-pitches, 0.99 WHIP, .202 batting average against.

Looking more and more to be the real deal in a superlative sophomore season, the hefty right-hander evoked CC Sabathia in appearance (6’6”, 285 pounds) and results; his ERA was not only third best in the AL, but in Blue Jays history.

3. Framber Valdez, Houston

Key Numbers: 2.82 ERA, 17 wins, 6 losses, .739 win percentage, 31 starts, 3 complete games, 1 shutout, 201.1 innings, 194 strikeouts, 11 hit-by-pitches, 11 wild pitches, 25 grounded into double plays.

Verlander’s trusted sidekick threw 25 straight quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs), setting an MLB record within one season; his ground/fly ball ratio of 2.74-1 was by far the majors’ best, easily explaining his league-leading total of induced double plays.

4. Nestor Cortes Jr., New York

Key Numbers: 2.44 ERA, 12 wins, 4 losses, .750 win percentage, 28 starts, 1 shutout, 158.1 innings, 38 walks, 163 strikeouts, 0.92 WHIP, .189 batting average against.

With Luis Severino struggling to return to form, the 28-year-old Cuban emerged as the hot, young and, more pointedly, inexpensive property in the Yankee rotation; he ran up a streak of 19 straight starts allowing three or fewer runs—one game shy of the franchise record.

5. Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland

Key Numbers: 1.36 ERA, 3 wins, 4 losses, 77 appearances, 42 saves, four blown saves, 72.2 innings, 10 walks, 77 strikeouts, 0.73 WHIP, .167 batting average against.

At age 24, Clase became the class of major league closers with an exhaustive yet dominant campaign, leaving the Texas Rangers to kick themselves even more for giving him up to Cleveland for a fading Corey Kluber two years earlier.

6. Dylan Cease, Chicago

Key Numbers: 2.20 ERA, 14 wins, 8 losses, .636 win percentage, 32 starts, 1 shutout, 184 innings, 78 walks, 227 strikeouts, .190 batting average against.

The 26-year-old right-hander found his footing, dropped his season ERA by nearly two full runs from the previous season, and set an MLB record by making 14 straight starts allowing no more than an earned run in each. For his efforts, he received an extra $2.4 million—over three times his 2022 salary—from a $50 million pool for pre-arbitration players, a new wrinkle in the just-approved Collective Bargaining Agreement.

7. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles

Key Numbers: 2.33 ERA, 15 wins, 9 losses, 28 starts, 166 innings, 219 strikeouts, 14 wild pitches, 1.01 WHIP, .203 batting average against.

In his first pain-free season since coming to Anaheim, Ohtani became the first major leaguer with 30 homers and 10 pitching wins in the same year. He’s the first MLB player, since Babe Ruth in 1918, to make our Top 10 lists for pitching and hitting in the same year.

8. Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay

Key Numbers: 2.54 ERA, 12 wins, 8 losses, 28 starts, 166.1 innings, 38 walks, 194 strikeouts, 0.93 WHIP, .194 batting average against.

A sizzling first half landed the second-year lefty in a starting role for the AL at the All-Star Game; injury quelled his post-break numbers.

9. Shane Bieber, Cleveland

Key Numbers: 2.88 ERA, 13 wins, 8 losses, 31 starts, 200 innings, 36 walks, 198 innings, 1.04 WHIP.

His fastball velocity waning at age 27, Bieber successfully relied more on a slider as he rebounded from a 2021 shoulder injury and soft first half of 2022 to a strong finish.

10. Jordan Romano, Toronto

Key Numbers: 2.11 ERA, 5 wins, 4 losses, 63 appearances, 36 saves, 5 blown saves, 64 innings, 73 strikeouts.

The majors’ most underrated closer (for the moment), Romano helped gel an otherwise mediocre Toronto pen and lift the Blue Jays into the playoffs.