All season, Jose Altuve has helped set the table for the offense for the Houston Astros, and Dallas Keuchel has led the rotation. Altuve doubled his home run high plus one in 2015, hitting 15 bombs as part of the Astros Crush City. He has led the American League in hits (225/200) and stolen bases (56/38) for two straight seasons. With the Astros enduring a decade of not reaching the playoffs, the 5’6” second baseman led the Astros to their first Postseason appearance since 2015. The right thing to do is award Altuve the team MVP for everything he did for the team in 2015; he would sure deserve it.
Let’s look at the 2015 Houston BBWAA awards that were announced on Wednesday afternoon via the Astros Twitter account.
Say what, Keuchel won both the Astros Pitcher of the Year and Astros MVP? This selection is not a snub on Altuve but shows how important Keuchel was to the Astros all season long. Maybe Altuve can get a T-shirt that says “Astros Best Hitter.”
Before we start looking at why the local baseball writers chose Keuchel over Altuve, let’s take a look at both of their stats via Baseball-Reference.
Altuve: .313/ 86 runs/ 15 homers/ 66 RBI/ 38 steals.
Keuchel: 20-8/ 2.48 ERA/ 216 strikeouts in 232 innings pitched.
Keuchel won almost 1/4 of the on the Astros 86 wins in 2015. After posting a 5.0 WAR in 2014, Keuchel improved to 7.2 WAR in 2015. He went 15-0 at home, which according to Jose De Jesus Ortiz‘s Why Dallas Keuchel was Astros’ MVP, was the first pitcher in modern-day baseball to have that success. To further lead to his selection of Astros MVP, in 18 games during the regular season, Keuchel had a 1.46 ERA at Minute Maid Park. The Astros saw the marketing opportunity with Keuchel, by creating Keuchel’s corner to improve attendance and participation.
Keuchel was also named to the Sporting News AL All-Star team for 2015.
Last year Clayton Kershaw was able to win the National League MVP and Cy Young awards, so is this the first time that an Astros pitcher took home both team MVP and Pitcher of the Year honors? According to Ortiz, Doug Jones in 1992 did what Keuchel just did. Jones finished 14th in NL MVP voting for that season as well. For those of you who may not remember Jones’ 1992 season, here are his stats via Baseball-Reference.
Jones: 11-8/ 70 games finished/ 36 saves/ 93 strikeouts in 111 2/3 innings.
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Altuve finished the year with a 4.2 WAR, which was down from his 6.7 WAR he posted in 2014 in a season that he won the Silver Slugger award and finished 13th in voting for AL MVP. Ortiz mentioned that he voted for Keuchel as the Astros MVP but said that his choice was justified when he voted for his national ballot. He said he can not reveal who he voted for the AL MVP, but did say that Keuchel was the only Astros player to appear in the MVP section. Could Keuchel pull a Kershaw this year? We have to wait till early November to find that out, but it will be hard for him to edge out Josh Donaldson or Mike Trout.
Congrats Dallas, Houston loves you as evident by the standing ovation at last night’s Rockets opener when you appeared on the big screen. I hope you win the AL Cy Young award at the very least. I am making a bold prediction for next year’s Astros MVP; he will be this year’s Rookie of the Year winner Carlos Correa.