Springer’s Spectacular Season
Springer entered the Astros’ system in 2011, and quickly developed into a five-tool prospect. He has put those tools on display this season, especially his power. With 25 long balls this season, Springer is tied for second most homers in the major leagues. He has also amassed 55 RBIs this season, a spectacular number given he normally bats lead-off. But Springer has been more than just power, as his offensive game has begun to round out into MVP-caliber form.
After hitting .258 in his first three seasons, Springer has transformed into a .300 hitter this season. His slash line of .300/.374/.594 is by far the best of his career and has earned himself a 163 OPS+. He has also scored 70 runs in just 79 games played, pacing one of the most prolific offenses in baseball.
His ability to score hit for power, average and get on base has made Springer the best lead-off hitter in the major leagues. But that may hinder his MVP candidacy. Even with the second-most homers in the majors, he is tied for 23rd in RBIs. If Springer was slotted in the middle of the order, he could very well lead the league in RBIs with such a potent offense surrounding him. Even so, his MVP case should only grow if he can keep up his spectacular play.
It is easy to make a case for Altuve, Correa, and Springer, as all three have had MVP caliber seasons. But it is much more difficult to predict who is the most likely to win the AL MVP, as all three are in the top 10 in WAR leaders this season. You can’t go wrong with picking any of the three, as all of them have made a massive impact on the best team in baseball this season.
Even so, only one player can win the award. And for me, the most likely AL MVP winner of the three is Carlos Correa. Given that Correa plays a prime position, voters will be more likely to vote for him over second baseman Jose Altuve. But it’s more than just that. Correa is like a hybrid of Altuve and Springer, having more power than Altuve and a better hit tool than Springer.
There is no wrong choice, as all three players have helped drive the Astros’ historic season. But with comparisons to three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez common for Correa, the MVPs shouldn’t be too far behind.
***Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and MLB.com***