*PREFACE: Skip This Paragraph For The Facts*
Congrats Houston Astros, to be honest, you were my pick to win it all in April. Then the Yankees picked it up and I swear by July I knew that ALCS against you was coming. A new rivalry brewing. When Houston came to the Bronx in early May I watched Keuchel take the mound and claim it as his own, 1 run through 6 while collecting 9 strikeouts along the way. The bullpen to follow him was equally impressive. Offensive was equally impressive, I watched Carlos Correa turn a routine ground out into an error that scored a run. Proving he owned that rare quality in a playing style that can only be described as scrappy. Seemingly unintentionally he ran on the grass, in the path of the softly hit ball to trip up the pitcher who was on his way to field it. This slight, uncoachable action succeeded. The ball was overthrown and a run scored from third, Correa safe at first. From there he made his way home in a similar fashion, stretching an advancement to third into another run. It was almost as if he personally decided it. “Yeah, I’m just going to make this happen somehow”. He was like an old Pablo Sanchez. Always made contact, versatile, and fast as your first time. I was a fan instantly. Other players shined as well. Along with a solo shot, I watched George Springer smack a clutch 2-out RBI, I threw my beer when I saw Jake Marisnick throw out Ellsbury at the plate for what would have been the game tying run. Final score, 3-2. I could tell these guys were good.
I saw them a few more times against the Yankees. Every time the pitcher, whether it was McCullers, Peacock, Fiers or Verlander, was getting 6-7 shoutout innings right in my face. To be followed by a shut down bullpen. All while being assisted with the deepest offensive roster in baseball. These guys were good.
But as I watched, and as I told everyone this team is good. I hardly thought about the individual players… it was the unit as a whole I saw as dangerous. But that’s enough of that.
I have been arguing for weeks on twitter, this blog post was needed, and I’m just going to jump into it here:
Aaron Judge Should Have Won MVP!!!!
So before I get into this, I’m going to post both of their stats side to side. It will give you a better idea of who you think deserves it, as well as something to refer back to during this unbiased assessment.
Jose Altuve 2017 MLB Regular Season Stats:
Aaron Judge 2017 MLB Regular Season Stats:
So.. I could break them down stat by stat and evaluate both teams to see who held more valuable. But then I’ll have people thinking they left this blog with a “comeback” to it. So instead, I’m going to address the top 5 most common reasoning’s I’ve heard on Twitter for Altuve winning over Judge. One. By. One.
1. “Judge Strikes Out Too Much”
Are you kidding me? That’s the best you got? And I kid you not, I hear this daily as the main reason.
The convo usually goes as follows-
Hater: “Strike outs are the absolute worst way you can get out.”
Me: “How so”
Hater: “If you strike out it’s just an out. And they add up. He didn’t put the ball in play to move the runner, can’t get an RBI without hitting a deep fly, and the strikeouts supposedly get’s the pitcher team amped up.”
Jeez this one is frustrating. OK FIRST OF ALL,
Me: “Why do you want a fly out or to move the ball?”
Hater: “Fly balls can get SAC RBI’s, ground balls can move a baserunner for a potential run later, maybe you will get a error/fielders choice and get on base. Then you could score a run later in the inning. Strikeouts accomplish none of that.”
Me: “So strikeouts are bad because they are less likely to create runs.”
Me: “Aaron Judge has more runs and more RBIs than Altuve, despite leading the league in strikeouts. If your reason for hating strikeouts is they reduce runs, then sorry, it doesn’t apply to him. If the end goal is runs, no one produces or scores more runs than Aaron judge.
So you hate strikeouts because they don’t produce runs, meanwhile Judge had the highest run production…GTFO with that nonsense please
Terrible argument. Not to mention, all the greats have high success with high “failure” (if you can even call it that).
Brett Favre – Most career interceptions (336), and second most TD passes (508)
Wayne Gretzky – “You miss 100% of the shots you never take”
Kobe Bryant- Most missed shots 2nd highest scorer all time in NBA (above Michael Jordan)
Favre, Gretzky, Bryant, all the greats of all time had a ton of strikeouts to go with their homeruns.
2. “Look At Altuve’s Batting Average”
Jose Altuve posted a .346 on the season. Astounding batting average, they don’t get much better than that. Judge posted a modest post-steroid era BA of .284 (despite his monster average through the first half of the season).
This is by far Altuve’s best claim to the throne here. And besides stolen bases, it may be his only claim. But let me blow this argument out of the water with one Award Winning movie title…
Have you seen it? Doesn’t matter. It’s a true story about cracking the baseball code. Finding out what really leads to wins. You can look it up, but here’s the readers digest:
Getting on base is the most important factor in winning baseball games.
The Altuve fans laugh as they think this is an argument for them. But that is just not the case. As you know, “Money Ball” (not the movie, the actual idea) popularized the stat OBP (On Base Percentage). The stat that tells us how often a runner reaches base.
Read it and weep Altuve fans. But it gets worse (wait a minute).
Judge has a higher OPS as well. Which means, that without a doubt, Aaron Judges reaches base safely more than Jose Altuve. This is huge. Because it discredits the entire argument that Altuve has any sort of advantage in the offensive categories. They push his batting average as a selling point, particularly to try and compare it to Judge’s strikeouts. Judge had 127 walks this season. 127! Altuve got 58. The OBP becomes less of a surprise. And it tells a deeper story. Lead the league in strikeouts and walks? That means you work pitchers. If you’ve seen Judge play, you’ve seen him work a full-count. Judge falls into an 0-2 hole in 44% of his at-bats. In 79% of those at-bats, he works the count from 3-2. This doesn’t mean they only throw him balls (even though he is pitched around), he has to foul some off at least. No batter makes pitchers work harder than Judge. MLB reporters love talking about the “intangibles” of Altuve, but how come we never touch on Judge’s? Just homeruns and strike outs, they leave it at that.
Oh but wait here’s my favorite part. When the Houston fans on Twitter try to tell me that hits are more valuable than walks.
Their reasoning: Hits can drive in runs, push runners into scoring position, while walks just give you a base runner.
Please see point one. It is beyond obvious that you have never seen Judge play if you say that he was never pushed a runner into scoring position or walked a run in (he has) But incase you forgot, back to the stats…
Judge had 114 RBI, 128 runs
Altuve had 81 RBU, 112 runs
So once again, these Houston fans are telling me OBP is irrelevant. And they tell me hits are significantly more valuable than walks because “runs are driven in, and a hit could mean a double, which would put the runner in scoring position”
Houston, get this through your thick skulls please, Aaron Judge HAD MORE RUNS AND MORE RBI’s. These “potential” runs you speak of, are they really more valuable than the ACTUAL runs? Just take a step back and see the truth here!
3. “He’s More Valuable To His team”
Let’s not forget what the MVP award is really about. MVP= MOST VALUABLE PLAYER.
Let me clarify, MOST VALUABLE PLAYER DURING THE SEASON.
Not playoff MVP, they have an award for that.
Not World Series MVP, they have an award for that.
And had this discussion been who should win the post-season MVP? I very well may have told you that Altuve would be the guy. But right now we are talking about the most valuable player in the 2017 MLB season. And without a doubt that is Aaron Judge.
Jose Altuve supporters love to pull your attention away from the stats and tell you things like “intangibles” and “clubhouse presence” are the reasons he should have won MVP. That these are reasons why he is the most valued player anyone could have. Here’s the thing, he’s not even the most important player to the Astros!
Take a look at the New York Yankees starting lineup on April 10, 2017:
If you were drinking your morning coffee I should have warned you before you spit it up all over your screen!
This is what the Yankees were working with. Take away Aaron Judge and what do you have? A bunch of nobodies and a few vets to help lick the wounds. Don’t get me wrong, Castro came into his own and Sanchez eventually came back, but thanks to Aaron Judge’s first half surge, the Yankees were able to win games in April, May, and June. Games they would have lost. And this team almost missed the playoffs anyway. Take away Judge, and this team does not make the playoffs. Let alone game 7 of the ALCS. Aaron Judge should have won MVP for this reason alone if you think value to the individual team is a factor.
They’ve always said it is a pitchers game. And the Yankees pitchers were a mess. Tanaka, CC, Pineda, all struggling, and all names that were deemed irrelevant except to New Yorkers. We pulled up so many Tyler Who’s and broken dreams to take that mound. Honestly when I think back, it’s astounding we got it together. Here were the starting pitchers that the Houston Astros had to pick from.
- J. Verlander
- D. Keuchel
- L. McCullers Jr.
- C. Morton
- B. Peacock
- C. McHugh
- M. Fiers
So much starting talent that they had seven starters listed! Verlander is a household name. Keuchel and McCullers are literally unhitable on the right day. Morton, Peacock, and Fiers, fighting to be in the bottom 5 were all guys that honestly would be competing for the job of Ace if they had been on the Yankees.
Like I said from the beginning, the Astros were my pick to win the World Series. This was the main reason. That pitching staff was downright deadly. Mix that with a bullpen that was top 5 in the league, and a lineup that exemplified depth. Their weakest link was Brian McCann, while we were dealing with the likes of Chris Carter and Tyler Austin.
Around the field guys like Gurriel, Bregman, Reddick, were all puting up 80+ RBIs with good batting averages. The team was a well oiled machine.
Just take a look at the 2017 AL All-Star Starting Lineup-
George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve all made the STARTING line-up for the All-Star game. With Aaron Judge solely representing the New York Yankees in right-field. If 3 of your hitters are starting in the All-Star game, then you CANNOT tell me Altuve is the primary reason for success. It is clear that he just has the best numbers on a team full of stars.
Do people not realize that being a better team boosts your stats? You know how often Judge had no opportunity to drive-in a run because no one else on his team was getting on base? Or didn’t even have an opportunity to swing with a runner on second because Chris Carter was on deck with 2 outs and it would make more sense to give Judge the walk? AND STILL, Judge had more runs and more RBIs.
Also worth mentioning that Keuchel and McCullers both were on the All-Star team as well. This team was as deep as it gets.
To say that the Astros wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Altuve is ludicrous. Personally, I think Correa is the more valuable player on their team. You can tell me without Altuve they wouldn’t have won the World Series, that I will entertain. But the fact of the matter remains:
Without Jose Altuve, the Astros still make the playoffs.
Without Aaron Judge, the Yankees don’t make the playoffs.
If you think the award should go to the player that was most valuable to his team (although I don’t, that’s not my argument), then that right there should be enough to show anyone that Aaron Judge should have won MVP.
4. “Altuve Is A Better Fielder”
A final sad, sad, point that some reporters are trying to push is Altuve’s value in the field. Comparing a RF to a 2B in terms of more valuable fielding skill is difficult. So instead of trying to prove Judge is a better fielder than Altuve, (I don’t think Aaron Judge should have won MVP for being a better fielder, I don’t think anyone should. I will make this a moot point by showing you some fielding highlights that you may have missed.)
He less defense runs allowed than Altuve. That’s a fact. I don’t know how the myth started that Altuve is some elite fielder.
Judge robs homeruns and keeps doubles as singles with a strong arm. But for some reason, a lot of the MLB following is unaware.
Here is our boy not only making a super-man like catch, but getting the ball in to complete a double play:
Game 3 of the ALDS, 6th inning, score is 0-0, Judge robs a would be 2-run homerun. Final score of that game was 1-0 (Bird is the word) so you could say Judge won this game if you wanted to. I wouldn’t disagree.
And in case you didn’t know about the Judge’s Cannon.. This throw was clocked at 98 MPH and saved a run.
And if you want to say fielding should be the “tie-breaker” (even though this is far from a tie) then Aaron Judge should have won MVP. Altuve had double the errors that Judge did.
And I know I know, different positions more errors happen in the infield. But freakin’ Placido Polanco played more games in 2009 and had 2 errors. I’ll say he’s a great player, but you’re not getting me to admit he’s some elite fielder.
5. “Altuve Deserves It”
I don’t even know what this one means.
It usually comes out after you prove to someone that Aaron Judge should have won MVP because he is statistically the most valuable player of 2017.
Always an argument against Judge, not for another player. It’s never why Aaron Judge should have won MVP, it’s why SHOULDN’T Judge have won MVP.
And I know Aaron Judge should have won MVP, but the sad part is, I already know that he won’t. Everything seems so rigged against him. The mainstream sports outlets have clearly made up their mind already. And on TV they only tell you why Altuve should win. Never any arguments for Judge, only against him.
And I’m not sure why… but I have some theories.
Maybe it’s because he already won Rookie of the Year and no one wants to give him a second award.
Maybe it’s because Houston hasn’t had a win like this in sometime, maybe some people really want to let them have it after all the tragedies caused by the hurricane, and they really want to do what they can t give the fans a great year.
Maybe it’s because the average reporter is short, and they like Altuve because in their minds they can stick it to all the coaches who told them they were too short to play baseball. (I kid you not, ESPN is airing commercials where Altuve talks about the struggles of being a short baseball player, and I thought they couldn’t find a more irrelevant argument to bring up when discussing who is the most valuable baseball player.)
But I think I know what it really is. Why everyone won’t admit that Aaron Judge should have won MVP. It’s most likely because everyone hates the Yankees. And that might be something Judge has to deal with the rest of his career.
Too bad everyone He is the Babe Ruth of our generation. Aaron Judge should have won the the MVP his rookie season and we shouldn’t be afraid of that.
Since everyone likes throwing in irrelevant reasons for Altuve, here are some irrelevant reasons why Judge should have won MVP that they don’t talk about:
- No one talks about the fact that Judge is a rookie getting paid 500,000. Even from a financial standpoint, Judge is BY FAR the most valuable player for your dollar.
- Years ahead of his time, he has the persona of Derek Jeter. Extremely humble and loves to talk about the team rather than himself.
- Total fan favorite (on the cover of MLB the show)
- Altuve gives short people someone to look up to? Well Judge gives giant freaks with gaps in their teeth someone too look up to. Everyone needs a hero, and Judge is there for the disproportionate as well as the quirky toothed.
- He’s playing in New York. Ask Burnett how hard that is. He may have to play Houston 12 times a year, but he has to beat the NY Post daily.
TLDR; Aaron Judge should have won MVP, even though we knew he wouldn’t.