MVP, Most Valuable Player, the ultimate honor for any athlete to receive in his or her sport. This year, Major League Baseball has not one, but two insane races for the American League and National League MVP Awards.
In the American League, it’s really a two-horse race, with Jose Ramirez just kind of hanging behind. Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge are arguably the two best players in the Majors, so giving the award to just one person is almost impossible. Altuve’s year this year was second to none, slashing .346, and leading the league in hits, while stealing 32 bases, and contributing his 2nd 20HR, 30SB season in a row. Altuve went on to win his fourth silver slugger in a row, and appear in his fifth all star game. Oh, and by the way, he also led the Astros to their first World Series Title. And then there’s Aaron Judge. Coming off of a unanimous Rookie of the Year campaign, Judge led the American League in runs, home runs, walks, and also strikeouts, while slashing a solid .284. After Judge’s scolding hot first half, he tapered off until late August, hitting only .185 in August with 41 strikeouts. In September and October, he came back to his original form, hitting 15 home runs over 27 games, and absolutely raking the ball, hitting .311.
Obviously this decision is not easy, but (even as a Red Sox fan) I would have to give the edge to Aaron Judge. To be frank, Altuve is sheltered in the Astros lineup. With Springer at the top of the lineup, Correa batting behind Altuve, and big bats such as Brian McCann and Evan Gattis lurking deeper in the order, pitchers are almost forced to pitch to Altuve. However, in Judge’s case, the only protection he truly has in his lineup is his counterpart, Gary Sanchez, and SS Didi Gregorius. Judge’s defensive promise and offensive star power lead this to be a complicated, yet simple decision for me.
However, in the National League, things get a lot more difficult. Joey Votto, Giancarlo Stanton, and Paul Goldschmidt basically all deserve the award. Stanton’s league leading 59 HRs and 132 RBIs make it tough not to choose him to win this, but I don’t see him winning it. Paul Goldschmidt is honestly the most consistent player in the major leagues. He is a five tool player with tons of power and contact to all fields. Moreover, Goldschmidt’s base stealing ability and speed are very different from a normal first baseman. A five-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, and three-time Silver Slugger winner, Goldschmidt may deserve this award, but still, I don’t think he gets it this year. My winner is none other than Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto. Appearing in all 162 games this year, Votto hit a solid .320, with 36 HRs (same as Goldschmidt) and 100 RBIs (20 less than Goldschmidt, and 32 less than Stanton). Votto led the league in On Base Percentage (OBP) and OPS, but perhaps his most eye-popping stat is his strikeout/walk (K/BB) ratio. Votto walked 134 times this year, and only struck out 83 times. That K/BB ratio, .576, is good for the highest since 2011, and ranks among the highest all time. Again, the one difference that separates Votto from Stanton and Goldschmidt is that Votto has no help in that lineup. Stanton has Ozuna, Yelich, and Dee Gordon, Goldschmidt has Jake Lamb, J.D. Martinez, and AJ Pollock, but in reality, who does Joey Votto have? Adam Duvall? Eugenio Suarez? C’mon MLB, this one should be obvious.
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