Unless one counts the announcement of who made the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the major League Baseball award season is over. The MVPs, the Cy Youngs and all the other awards have been handed out. Now, if any speculation is to be given about who will win those awards, it will be for the 2015 season.
However, that does not mean that all the awards have truly been handed out. Other baseball loving countries, especially those in Latin America, have their own awards as well. One such award, the Premios Luis Aparicio, is handed out to the best player to hail from Venezuela. This season, the Astros Jose Altuve managed to defeat Felix Hernandez, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez for his nation’s highest baseball honor.
Altuve certainly had a spectacular season. In 2014, he had an amazing 225 hits, leading to a .341/.377/.453 batting line. Altuve led the American League in batting average, hits and stolen bases with 56. He rapped out 57 extra base hits, helping lead to his second All-Star selection and first Silver Slugger award.
With the premium placed upon winning when it comes to the MVP award, Altuve only finished 13th on the ballot, behind players like Martinez and Nelson Cruz. However, it could be argued that Altuve had the best season of anyone not named Mike Trout last year, as his statistics may have been even better if he was afforded the same protection that some of the other players on the list received. As it was, Altuve still managed to finish in the top ten in WAR among position players last year, and was an offensive and defensive dynamo on a team that truly one.
It may be that, outside of Houston and fantasy sports circles, Jose Altuve is still not the household name he should be. However, performances like those from last year will help make Altuve far more recognizable, as fans across the country learn that he is one of the best players in the game. At least, in his home country of Venezuela, he is recognized as such.
The Luis Aparicio Award may be the first of many that Jose Altuve wins during his career. Hopefully, he gets some hardware from over here as well.