Braves’ Austin Riley, Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman finish in top six in MVP voting

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

The Braves’ Austin Riley finished sixth and ex-Brave Freddie Freeman, now with the Dodgers, was fourth in voting for the National League Most Valuable Player award Thursday night.

ExploreThe AJC's complete coverage on the Braves

St. Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt won the NL award while Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees won the AL award.

Goldschmidt won the award for the first time after a couple of close calls earlier in his career. The first baseman garnered 22 of 30 first-place votes and eight seconds for 380 points from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel.

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado finished second with 291 points after getting seven first-place votes and 13 seconds.

Goldschmidt's teammate with the NL Central champion Cardinals, third baseman Nolan Arenado, came in third with 232 points. He was picked first on one ballot, second on two and third on 15.

Freeman, a first baseman, received 220 points while third baseman Riley finished with 116. Freeman got six second-place votes and six for third place.

Freeman hit .325 with 21 homers and 100 RBIs in the first season after leaving the Braves as a free agent. Riley had 38 homers and 93 RBIs and a .273 batting average.

Now a free agent, Judge broke the AL record of 61 homers set by Yankees slugger Roger Maris in 1961.

After hitting 62 home runs this season to break the AL record, Judge easily beat out Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani in an MVP race some thought might be close.

“It's tough to put in words,” Judge said in an interview on MLB Network, surrounded by his beaming wife, parents and agents. “It's an incredible moment. A lot of hard work to get to this.”

The 6-foot-7 outfielder received 28 of 30 first-place votes and two seconds for 410 points. Ohtani, last year’s winner, was picked first on two ballots and second on the other 28 for 280 points.

Yordan Alvarez of the World Series champion Houston Astros finished third.

The tallest MVP in major league history, Judge also led the majors in runs (133), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686), OPS (1.111), extra-base hits (90) and total bases (391) to help the Yankees win the AL East. He tied for the big league lead with 131 RBIs and was second in the AL with a .311 batting average.

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Ohtani put together perhaps the greatest two-way season in baseball history for a third-place Angels team that finished 73-89.

The superstar from Japan went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and 219 strikeouts in 28 starts on the mound covering 166 innings. At the plate, he batted .273 with 34 homers, 95 RBIs and an .875 OPS.

Alvarez, the Houston slugger who launched a go-ahead homer in the clinching game of the World Series, hit .306 with 37 home runs, 97 RBIs and a 1.019 OPS.

Judge was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2017, when he finished a distant second in MVP balloting to Houston second baseman Jose Altuve.

The 35-year-old Goldschmidt batted .317 with 35 home runs, 115 RBIs and a league-leading .981 OPS this season. He had 41 doubles and scored 106 runs while compiling a .404 on-base percentage and topping the league in slugging percentage (.578).

The seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner was runner-up for NL MVP in 2013 and 2015, then finished third in 2017 — all with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He came in sixth last year with the Cardinals.

“I never felt like I was missing something,” Goldschmidt said. “I've had some great years.”

Machado batted .298 with 32 homers, 102 RBIs and an .898 OPS. He had 37 doubles and scored 100 runs to lead the Padres into the playoffs with a wild-card berth.

Arenado hit .293 with 30 homers and 103 RBIs, sparkling on defense at third base again to earn a 10th consecutive Gold Glove to begin his career. He had 42 doubles and an .891 OPS.