Shortly after it was announced that Giancarlo Stanton had taken home NL MVP hardware, it was announced the 5’6 Houston Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve had won his first career AL MVP Award.
Altuve picked up 27 of the 30 possible first-place votes en route to crushing AL ROY and MVP runner-up Aaron Judge by a 405-279 point margin. Altuve hit .341 with 204 hits and became the 5th player since 1947 with four consecutive 200 hit seasons. Altuve also compiled an on-base percentage of .410 with a slugging percentage of .547 while tying his career high with 24 home runs. Altuve was also one of the main contributors to the Astros’ 2017 World Series Championship although the ballots were cast before the postseason began.
Altuve is now the first person since Willie Hernandez in 1984 to win a World Series and an MVP Award in the same season. He has also tied Phil Rizzuto (1950) and Bobby Shantz (1952) as the shortest MVPs in baseball history.
Runner-up Aaron Judge was no slouch in 2017 after setting a rookie single-season record 52 home runs with 114 RBI while being one of the main contributors in the Yankees’ deep postseason run. Judge unanimously won the rookie of the year and was a heavey favorite in the first half to run away with the MVP after breaking the Yankees’ rookie home run record of 29 (set by Joe Dimaggio) in the first half of the season. Judge was given an All-Star nod and won a Silver Slugger award. Despite this, Judge killed himself in the second half when he went into a slump in which he had 199 plate appearances with just 7 home runs. Judge’s power was no match for Altuve’s consistency.
Regardless, Judge is still a class act and proved this by sending the following tweet.
Altuve received high praise from many of his peers, for example, manager A.J. Hinch.
“Everything Altuve is about makes an MVP,’’ Astros manager A.J. Hinch said late in the season. “His strength, his consistency, his dominance in a lot of aspects of the game. He really embodies what an MVP is.’’
Altuve has now become the first-second baseman to take home MVP honors since Dustin Pedroia in 2007, and he joins Astros’ Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell as the only two Astros in franchise history to win the MVP.
Despite being the heavy favorite for the MVP Award, Jose Altuve surprisingly didn’t think he would win saying this in an interview shortly after his victory.
“I was surprised not by the vote; I was surprised that I won,” Altuve said later. “I wasn’t expecting this. You see Aaron Judge and you see Jose Ramirez, they had really good seasons. I was really happy to be in the top three finalists with them, and then all of a sudden they announce the MVP and it was me. I couldn’t believe it.’’
What a humble response from a humble guy. Not only does this victory show all Major Leaguers that anything can happen (Altuve was rejected at a tryout for a big league club for being too small and is now the AL MVP), but for everyone around the globe. This shows us that even with all the odds stacked against a 5’6 baseball player, against all the criticism, all the doubt, and all the ridicule, Altuve has come out on top. This proves that if you work hard and are dedicated, then you can accomplish anything no matter what.
What a beautiful game this is!