MLB wraps up regular season with Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge's shots at history
The 2022 MLB regular season came to an end on Wednesday
Major League Baseball's regular season came to a close on Wednesday, with every team in action for game 162. The league as a whole will take Thursday off before the postseason begins on Friday with the best-of-three Wild Card Series., meaning there wasn't much at stake on the season's final day. However, a few things that went down merit mention. We're here to do just that.
Ohtani makes history
The singular Shohei Ohtani has made history once again. The Los Angeles Angels' two-way phenom on Wednesday became the first player in Major League Baseball history to qualify as both a hitter and pitcher in the same season.
A player is considered to be qualified if he logs 3.1 plate appearances and one inning pitched per team game. Across the usual 162-game season, that comes to 502 plate appearances and 162 innings pitched. Ohtani came into his start against the Oakland A's on Wednesday in the regular-season finale with 662 plate appearances as the Halos' primary DH and 161 innings pitched as a starter. In other words, he needed only one inning of mound work to reach this unexampled milestone, and he did so with ease thanks to a perfect opening frame.
Of Ohtani's many accomplishments over the last two seasons, this one may tower above all once you consider the workloads involved. It's also worth emphasizing that Ohtani has been excellent in both roles. Prior to Game 162, he boasted a 146 OPS+ at the plate with 70 extra-base hits and on the mound a 2.35 ERA with 213 strikeouts against 43 walks. In Wednesday's game, he allowed one run in five innings of work and went 1 for 4 with the bat.
This is prelude to what is sure to be a vigorous American League MVP discourse. The merits of Ohtani, who won the hardware last year, are apparent, but the favorite seems to be Aaron Judge of the Yankees. Judge of course hit an AL-record 62 home runs and threatened for the Triple Crown. He also had an OPS+ of 211 and led the majors in walks and total bases. Consider this to be one of those "no wrong answers" situations.
Judge fails to win Triple Crown
Yankees superstar Aaron Judge set a new American League and Yankees single-season record on Tuesday night, when he launched his 62nd home run of the season. Judge had the day off Wednesday, however, and his chances of becoming the second AL Triple Crown winner since the 1960s were essentially gone. The outfielder ended the regular season way out in front in home runs and runs batted in, but he wasn't able to catch Luis Arráez of the Twins in the batting race. Instead, Judge ended his regular season with a .311 mark, and Arreaz wrapped 2022 with a .316 average after going 1 for 1 (with two walks) in Minnesota's win over the White Sox.
Season ends with four 100-win teams and four 100-loss teams
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, and New York Mets had already logged 100 wins for the season coming into Wednesday, and the Yankees had a chance to make the 2022 the first year ever of five 100-win teams. However, they fell to the Rangers and ended their regular season at 99-63. On the flip side, the Cincinnati Reds lost to the Cubs for their 100th loss of the season, joining the Oakland A's, Washington Nationals, and Pittsburgh Pirates as triple-digit losers in 2022. The bottom of that particular food chain reflects the fact that so many team owners are simply unwilling to invest in payroll at adequate levels. It's even more galling once you consider how many guaranteed revenues there are in MLB right now, which basically guarantee profitability.
Anyhow, here are the updated lists of most 100-win and 100-loss teams in a season:
Years with three or more 100-win teams
Years with three or more 100-loss teams
As you can see, the 2022 and 2019 seasons are the only ones ever to give us four of each.
Trout slugs 40th homer in 119th game
Did everyone forget about Mike Trout when he was injured (or maybe because of all the Ohtani hype)? Doubtful, but he went deep with a prodigious shot on the season's final day to put an exclamation mark on a season that showed just how much he can still do while on the field.
That was a 490-foot blast, according to Statcast. That was the fifth-longest homer in MLB this season, but the longest that wasn't hit at Coors Field (via Andrew Simon).
With his 40th home run, Trout joins Hank Aaron (40 in 1973), Ken Griffey Jr. (40 in 1994), Matt Williams (43 in 1994), J.D. Martinez (45 in 2017) and Nelson Cruz (41 in 2019) as the only players to ever reach 40 homers in 120 or fewer games.
Trout finishes the season having hit .281/.366/.629 with 27 doubles, 40 home runs, 80 RBI and 85 runs in 119 games played. There was a point in late July/early August where it looked like he might miss the rest of the season, but he came back and played in 40 more games, hitting better than he did before the injury.
Overall, Trout posted his ninth 6-plus WAR season.
Here are final league leaders in various categories for the 2022 MLB season.
American League, offense
bWAR - Aaron Judge, 10.7
fWAR - Aaron Judge, 11.5
Batting average - Luis Arraez, .317
On-base percentage - Aaron Judge, .425
Slugging percentage - Aaron Judge, .686
OPS - Aaron Judge, 1.111
Runs - Aaron Judge, 133
Hits - Bo Bichette, 189
Doubles - José Ramírez, 43
Triples - Amed Rosario, 9
Home runs - Aaron Judge, 62
RBI - Aaron Judge, 131
Total bases - Aaron Judge, 391
Walks - Aaron Judge, 111
Hit by pitch - Andrés Giménez, 24
Times on base - Aaron Judge, 294
Stolen bases - Jorge Mateo, 35
OPS+ - Aaron Judge, 211
wRC+ - Aaron Judge, 207
WPA - Aaron Judge, 8.1
American League, pitching
bWAR - Dylan Cease, 6.4
fWAR - Justin Verlander, 6.1
Wins - Justin Verlander, 18
Win-loss% - Justin Verlander, .818
Innings - Gerrit Cole, 200 2/3
Complete games - Framber Valdez, 3
Shutouts - Nine players tied with one
Saves - Emmanuel Clase, 42
ERA - Justin Verlander, 1.75
WHIP - Justin Verlander, 0.83
Strikeouts - Gerrit Cole, 257
H/9 - Justin Verlander, 6.0
BB/9 - Corey Kluber, 1.15
K/9 - Shohei Ohtani, 11.87
K/BB - Kevin Gausman, 7.32
ERA+ - Justin Verlander, 220
FIP - Kevin Gausman, 2.38
WPA - Jhoan Duran, 4.6
National League, offense
bWAR - Nolan Arenado, 7.9
fWAR - Manny Machado, 7.3
Batting average - Jeff McNeil, .326
On-base percentage - Freddie Freeman .407
Slugging percentage - Paul Goldschmidt, .578
OPS - Paul Goldschmidt, .981
Runs - Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, 117
Hits - Freddie Freeman, 199
Doubles - Freddie Freeman, 47
Triples - Gavin Lux and Brandon Nimmo, 7
Home runs - Kyle Schwarber, 46
RBI - Pete Alonso, 131
Total bases - Austin Riley, 325
Walks - Juan Soto, 135
Hit by pitch - Mark Canha, 28
Times on base - Freddie Freeman, 288
Stolen bases - Jon Berti, 41
OPS+ - Paul Goldschmidt, 180
wRC+ - Paul Goldschmidt, 178
WPA - Paul Goldschmidt, 4.7
National League, pitching
bWAR - Sandy Alcantara, 8.0
fWAR - Aaron Nola, 6.3
Wins - Kyle Wright, 21
Win-loss% - Tony Gonsolin, .941
Innings - Sandy Alcantara, 228 2/3
Complete games - Sandy Alcantara, 6
Shutouts - Seven players tied with one
Saves - Kenley Jansen, 41
ERA - Julio Urías, 2.16
WHIP - Zac Gallen, 0.91
Strikeouts - Corbin Burnes, 243
H/9 - Zac Gallen, 5.92
BB/9 - Aaron Nola, 1.27
K/9 - Carlos Rodón, 11.98
K/BB - Aaron Nola, 8.1
ERA+ - Julio Urías, 193
FIP - Carlos Rodón, 2.25
WPA - Sandy Alcantara, 5.5
Kansas City Royals Executive Vice President and General Manager J.J. Picollo announced that manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred will not return for the 2023 season.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) October 6, 2022
Shohei Ohtani is now officially the first player to qualify as both a pitcher and a hitter in the same season (based on current qualification rules)— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 5, 2022
For those tuning in to see Ohtani's final appearance, you'll also get to watch Ken Waldichuk. The A's acquired him as part of the Frankie Montas trade.
With apologies to the Blue Jays and Orioles, it's game time for the rest of the majors.