Winning the Triple Crown is a difficult task – whether it be in baseball or horse racing, but a pair of sluggers are in with a chance. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt are each biddings to become Major League Baseball’s first Triple Crown winner since Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and the second in 55 years. Both are heavily favored in the MLB odds to win their respective Most Valuable Player awards, but leading the league in home runs, RBIs and batting average is a horse of a different color.
The Jury’s Out on Batting Title Portion of Judge’s Quest
Judge is a -5000 favorite when betting online to win the American League MVP, but -115 to win or not win the Triple Crown. Judge’s 59 home runs are 22 more than the next AL player – the Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez – and his RBI total of 127 is 15 ahead of the Indians’ Jose Ramirez. The judge sits a close third in batting average at .3161 behind the Twins’ Luis Arraez (.3167) and the Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts (.3164).
Judge is capable of winning a batting title, but there are two factors working against him. Judge is pursuing the AL record for home runs in a season of 61 set by the Yankees’ Roger Maris in 1961, so he’s usually not thinking single when he steps to the plate. The judge also leads the AL in walks, so he doesn’t get many pitches to hit. Alvarez is a contact hitter with eight home runs. Judge remains humble with the attention he is receiving – especially over the home run record.
“Some great guys have done it,’’ Judge told reporters. “Thinking back to (Miguel) Cabrera who did it last, I believe, it’s pretty special. But I think I’m a long way away from that, so we don’t need to talk about that.” He won’t, but we will.
‘Miracle’ if Goldschmidt Pulls it Off
Goldschmidt is -2500 to win the NL MVP in the Las Vegas odds but was +1000 to win the Triple Crown in the broader betting markets and -4000 not. The first baseman isn’t leading any of the categories, but he’s close. The home run pursuit will likely prove to be the toughest as his 35 are four behind the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber and one back of the Braves’ Austin Riley. Goldschmidt has 112 RBIs, trailing the Mets’ Pete Alonso by three. Only the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman (.331) has a higher batting average than Goldschmidt (.322).
Besides the fact that Goldschmidt is chasing all three components, the Cardinals are on the verge of clinching the National League Central and look to be locked into the No. 3 seed for the playoffs. A day off or two will hinder his pursuit, but Goldschmidt keeps it all in perspective.
“It would be a miracle,” he told reporters. “To think it’s realistic is probably pretty far-fetched.”
Perhaps, but what are Triple Crown dreams without using your imagination?