With a team goal and slogan of “Earn It” Jose Altuve definitely earned this.
Astros second baseman star Jose Altuve wins the AL M.V.P award because of course, he did. He is as humble as they come. In an interview with CBS before Game 1 of the ALCS, he was asked who he would pick for MVP? His answer; “Probably him. Judge, yeah.”
This MVP race between the two was quite the tale of the tape. A race between two Giants. Although Aaron Judge towers at 6’7’’ and 282lbs, Altuve stands tall at 5’6’’ and 165lbs. This bout was much closer than the tale of the tape would suggest.
Altuve made his case with a stellar rap sheet this season including 204 hits a .346 batting average a .410 on-base percentage, slamming 24 home runs bringing in 81 RBIs. All this in a seven-year career that is only progressing year over year.
In the end, MVP stands for Most Valuable Player and on a team full of personalities and dangerous hitters he most certainly was the Most Valuable Player to the team. Altuve got 27 of 30 first-place votes to beat the more popular Judge who got two first-place votes. Even after winning the award, all he could do is talk about his teammates.
While having the most hits in the AL and the best batting average of qualified hitters, what did he mean to the team? In games, the Astros won he was a very efficient .378 bringing home 59 runs. In games, they lost he was still batting a smooth .291 sending 22 runs home.
With runners in scoring position, he drove in 52 of his 81 runs for the Astros. He is hands down the most aggressive hitter on first pitch counts. Have you seen him walk up, settle in and take a gigantic swing at the first pitch thrown? You must have because he is a whopping .449 with 62 of his hits coming on the 0-0 pitch.
Even if he does work the count and is behind, Altuve is still a stellar .298. He can get on base no matter the situation. That is huge for the Astros considering he has Carlos Correa, Marwin Gonzalez, and Yuri Gurriel behind him.
You can also count on Altuve late in games, particularly in the 7th inning or later. He is head and shoulders the most clutch hitter swinging .361 with 56 hits and 23 RBI.
As if the numbers don’t speak for themselves. What has Jose Altuve meant for the team?
Number 27 is a humble yet fun and energetic presence to a team that has been rebuilding most of his seven-year tenure. He believed in the team, trusted the process and vowed only to get better and make everyone around him better too. He never faltered during the three straight 100-loss campaigns. Altuve kept grinding, working hard and kept the faith.
The five-time All-Star is loved in the clubhouse and brings a kind of energy that alone is MVP worthy. Congrats Altuve on a much-deserved award.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***