Altuve Wins 2017 AL MVP

Offensive leadership takes Altuve to the top — Photo by Roy Luck

After a heart-wrenching loss in the 2016 MVP race to the Angel’s outfielder and aquatic marvel Mike Trout, the Astros second baseman and all-around wunderkind is poised to excel in 2017.

There are a few reasons why Altuve will dominate the American League this season, with his ability to consistently produce staggering numbers at the plate being central. Since his 2011 debut, Altuve has never hit below .270, and since 2014 hasn’t hit below .300. With the MLB total average floundering in the .240–.250 range, maintaining this level of offensive production is a feat in itself.

Altuve not only netted the highest batting average in the American League in 2014 and 2016, but also lead the entire league (in both seasons) in total hits. How about efficiency? Since 2014 José has placed in the top 5 for AB per SO (At Bats Per Strikeout), meaning that on average he would have to appear at the plate almost 13 times before he struck out. Pitchers do not like those numbers.

Altuve casually tortures the Red Sox at the plate

Altuve is an monster offensively, we get it. What about defense? Not a problem. Altuve ended the 2016 season with a .988 FPCT (Fielding Percentage), committing only 7 errors in 149 games. His 2015 Gold Glove speaks volumes to his ability to handle himself in the infield.

Need more proof? Altuve not only beat out David Ortiz for the top honor at the MLBPA’s 2016 Players Choice Awards, but the AL “MVP” Mike Trout. Over 300 of his peers named him the Sporting News 2016 MLB Player of the Year, making Altuve only the 4th second baseman to win the honor since the award’s inception in 1936.

However, the most important reason why Altuve cannot be denied this season is his level of dedication to improvement. Even after his ridiculous 2016 effort, José refuses to accept that he cannot get better. Having veterans like Carlos Beltran in the dugout doesn’t hurt either. If everything goes according to plan, Beltran will be the catalyst for the nuclear reaction that will be José Altuve in 2017.