The 2017 MLB Most Valuable Players have been revealed, and the closest race out of all of the yearly BBWAA awards is finally decided.
The finalists for the AL were the Astros’ Jose Altuve, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (who took home AL Rookie of the Year honors), and Jose Ramirez of the Indians. Over in the NL, it was the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt, the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, and Joey Votto from the Reds.
For most of the season, the argument raged about whether Altuve or Judge was more deserving of the award in the American League and while that argument still hasn’t been definitively decided, as it were, Altuve came out on top and was named this year’s MVP, receiving 27 of 30 first-place votes.
There will surely be hours of dithering from some about why it should have been Judge, but to think Altuve doesn’t even stack up for the sake of argument is lunacy. Let’s go the stats!
Altuve hit .346 in his seventh season, the best of his career, in 153 games. He jacked 24 home runs and drove in 81 RBI, with the most hits in the American League at 204. He also stole 32 bases, and had a 8.3 bWAR on the year, the best in the AL by that measurement. Not too shabby!
In the National League the field was much closer, with up to seven or eight legitimate candidates to be not just nominated but to win the whole thing. The three finalists were sensible choices but that field could have easily been doubled and nobody would have blinked an eye.
Stanton’s victory was by a razor-thin margin with 302 points compared to 300 points for Votto. Both received 10 first-place votes. It was the third-closest NL MVP vote ever, and the fourth-closest MVP vote overall.
That said, Stanton also deserves this and his win is a good going away present for his time in Miami since he’s about to get traded to who knows where.
Stanton’s season was incredibly difficult to ignore since he kept mashing dingers all over the place (won’t somebody think of the children?) but he had a well-rounded year on top of that. He hit 59 home runs, drove in 132 RBI (both career highs by a significant amount), and had a 165 OPS+.
By all means, let us know who you would have chosen otherwise for the NL MVP in the comments, because that race was so tight and could have gone so many different ways that the discussion around it might be half the fun this year.