The 5’6″ Jose Altuve stood taller than anyone else in the American League during the 2017 season. After leading the Houston Astros to a World Series victory, Altuve was named the league’s Most Valuable Player on Thursday. He beat out New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez with 405 total voting points thanks to 27 first-place votes, Judge finished a distant second with 279 points (two first-place votes), while Ramirez raked in 237 points and a single first-place nod.
The Astros second baseman checked all the boxes of an MVP candidate.
There was team success, as Houston ran away with the American League West with a 101-61 mark before reaching the Fall Classic. There was the video game-like slash line of .346/.410/.547 to go along with solid power numbers of 24 home runs and 81 RBI.
The five-time All-Star was also remarkably consistent while one of his primary competitors, Judge, slumped for extended stretches after the All-Star break. Altuve posted a .968 OPS in the first half and a .944 OPS in the second half, per ESPN.com.
While this is a regular-season award, it is also impossible to ignore his postseason accomplishments, considering MVPs are so often counted on to deliver in the biggest moments.
He drilled three home runs in Houston’s playoff opener against the Boston Red Sox, tallied three-multi hit games in the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees and hit a clutch extra-inning home run in Game 2 of the World Series, which Houston won. He also had three hits, a home run and four RBI in the Astros’ Game 5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic.
Altuve impacts the game with more than just his bat, as his 32 stolen bases show. The 2015 Gold Glover was also solid again in the field this season and was responsible for three total defensive runs saved above average, per FanGraphs.
The best part of the MVP campaign from the Astros’ perspective is the realization more success figures to be right around the corner.
Altuve is just 27 years old and part of a young, talented core with World Series MVP George Springer and Carlos Correa. The 2017 AL MVP award is likely a sign of things to come.
By Scott Polacek