The debate is always, “can an MVP be on a team that doesn’t make the playoffs?”, and this year I would ask those who still believe Shohei Ohtani should win the award, “can the MVP be on a team in the bottom half of their division?” Yordan Alvarez’s July 5 game versus the Royals gave credence to the notion that the big DH and left fielder should be near the top of the MVP rankings for the first-place Houston Astros.
Breaking down a comparison between players of different positions can be difficult, so it often makes sense to use offensive production as the sole factor when determining merit for an award. Yordan’s 275-foot outfield throw to get the runner tagging from third shows he is not just a power hitter but a good fielder. Alvarez has put together several memorable moments this year, including this, which is his third outfield assist of the season along with a few other impressive diving catches in left field where he has seen more time than in prior years.
Alvarez’s offensive numbers, if you haven’t noticed by now, are out of this world and he’s having the best season so far in his young career. Alvarez is putting up MVP-level stats with his .310/.410/.653 slash line and not to forget his 1.063 OPS. He leads the league in slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+ (201). There were many moments that Alvarez carried his team to victory as the majority of the bats have sometimes gone silent this season, and his was the thunderous one that has won games for the Astros. His 25 home runs and 58 RBI lead the team and he is one RBI and four home runs shy of Aaron Judge’s current total. Although Judge may seem to be the favorite, it’s Alvarez who easily bests him in batting average as Judge is hitting only .282 while Alvarez is up to .313. Judge also has amassed a massive amount of strikeouts, sitting now at 85 while Yordan only has 50, despite Judge having played in only 8 more games than Alvarez.
Even though Judge leads the league in home runs and runs scored, Alvarez all-around is more impressive. Astros fans started the chant tonight at Minute Maid Park for Yordan to get MVP and I wholeheartedly agree. Shohei Ohtani would be a big part of the conversation, but the Angels are sitting in fourth place in the AL West, which should all but disqualify him from contention if his team keeps that trend alive.