Why? Let’s take a look at who we’re talking about first.
First, it’s important to keep in mind the drastic difference in the type of players we’re talking about. Aaron Judge, pretty much a guaranteed lock to win Rookie of the Year, is a 6-foot, 7-inch tall, 285-pound, athletic alpha male literally looking down on the competition. Jose Altuve is the polar opposite; a 5-foot 6-inch, 165-pound workhorse who’s all over the diamond doing things game in and game out to help his team win.
By the numbers, the two are still pretty different. Judge had Yankee Stadium all rise for his record-breaking 52-home run rookie season; Altuve only went yard 24 times, less than half of Judge’s total. Altuve, however, smacked 204 hits on the season, compared to Judge’s 154. Altuve also has the edge over Judge in the stolen base category with 32 compared to 9. But young rook Aaron, beat out Altuve in Runs and Runs Batted In, with 124 and 114, compared to Altuve’s 112 and 81, respectively. Altuve finished with a much higher batting average, finishing hitting .346; a whopping 62 points higher than Judge’s .284 2017 season average. Judge whiffed a whopping 208 times on the season and set a new franchise record for consecutive game strikeouts, compared to Altuve who K’d only 84 times. Definitely two entirely different players, to say the least. Both helped their teams reach a more-than-successful season in terms of what both clubs were expecting going into the season.
But here’s where things get tricky. The Yankees were supposed to be “rebuilding,” so Judge’s remarkable rookie season is that much more special. He’s already pretty much solidified that he is Rookie of the Year. But AL MVP wouldn’t look half bad on his first-year resume. The only problem is that, even though it’s not supposed to be judged this way, Altuve won his team a championship. But if you compare the two’s individual Postseason stats on top of their outstanding regular season’s, the edge seems to favor Altuve much more. How many times in the Postseason was he getting a hit or on base or making an insane play when the Astros needed a spark most? Not to say Judge didn’t help his team in the playoffs because he most certainly did. But the MLB isn’t about fairy tale stories it’s about the best balling with the best, and Altuve performed better when it really mattered. It shouldn’t play a role in the decision, but to me, that’s what pushes Altuve ahead as the clear leader in this year’s MVP race.
So there you have it, my 2017 AL MVP winner is Jose Altuve. A tremendous season, well-deserving of this trophy, as well as that important one he and his team won in LA a week or so ago. As for Aaron Judge, a definite Rookie of the Year winner, nothing to hang his head on. A remarkable and standout first season in the bigs, look for the cover boy (MLB 18 The Show’s Cover Boy, to be specific) to come back ready to produce more of the same. Look for him to also be in this conversation again this time next season.