George Springer wants to be the AL MVP this year, a battle between Jose Altuve and Springer means good things for the Astros.
If you have listened to Talking Stros, you know that my favorite Astros player is George Springer. It’s not a slight against Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, but Springer was the ray of light during the process. I remember my season ticket rep calling me to ask if I would be interested in getting season tickets. My response was, we’ll talk when Springer gets up.
For me, Springer was like Hunter Pence coming up with the Astros. He was the next big thing, and fans checked the box scores. The idea of what Springer could do with his speed and power combination would make any fan drool with excitement. Then when he finally made his debut with the Astros, we saw the electric personality. He was the DJ of Club Astros in the 2015 playoff drive. He became the heart and soul of the team.
In Springer’s first two seasons, injuries limited his playing time. Many wondered if he was injury prone, but he squashed that bug that next season playing in 162 games. Before the 2017 season, he worked on getting better. Last year, he became an All-Star for the first time in his career, finishing 13th in the AL MVP race. Just imagine if he didn’t miss some time last year with a quad injury.
While the stolen base ability hasn’t manifested itself, he is one of the fastest runners from first to third. The Astros knew how talented he was as they tried to extend him before he made his big league debut. They were able to avoid going to an arbitration hearing this year and next by signing him to a two-year deal for $24 million.
He wants to get better.
According to Buster Olney, one talent evaluator said that Springer wants to be the AL MVP after winning the World Series MVP last season. The official quote, “that guy wants to be the MVP.” You have to love when your player wants to be the best, look what happened to Altuve last year. After telling Carlos Beltran in the offseason that he wanted to get better, he did that last year.
The American League MVP will be tougher this year. You have Mike Trout, who missed a month last year with an injury. Then you have the New York bombers in Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Don’t forget, that guy from Houston, I think he’s pretty good and literally loves Justin Verlander. Of course, I’m talking about Altuve who doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. A dark horse candidate, if he ever signs with the Red Sox, is J.D. Martinez.
ESPN doesn’t even list Springer as a candidate to compete for the AL MVP in 2018. Ironically, Altuve (10.5%) is behind Correa’s percentage of 11.1%. Sports Betting Dime has Altuve at 3-1 odds of winning the AL MVP again. Springer has the ability to win the award, but he needs to focus on being the best leadoff hitter he can be.
Last year, Springer had a slash line of .283/.367/ .522/ .889 with 34 homers and 85 RBIs. Those numbers are all career highs, while he lowered his strikeout rate, only striking out 111 times last year. From the leadoff spot, you are not expected to have high large RBIs numbers. As we saw with Altuve and Correa, it may be hard to reach 100 RBIs on this team with a deep lineup. As Springer goes, so do the Astros.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***