Jose Altuve is putting the finishes on yet another incredible season for Houston. Remember when we were all amazed that a guy listed at 5-6 could be an impact player in the majors? Those days feel like a long, long time ago. At this point, Altuve has established himself as one of the best players in the sport, period. He leads the majors with a .348 batting average, and he’s going to lead the AL in hits for the fourth consecutive season. He’s tops in stolen bases (31), to go with 23 home runs, a .409 on-base percentage, a .956 OPS and an AL-best 165 OPS-plus. He leads AL position players in WAR, both in Baseball-Reference’s version (7.8 rWAR) and FanGraph’s calculation (7.0 fWAR). He finished third in last year’s AL MVP race and he’s going to win for the first time this year. So here’s real question in the AL: Who will finish second to Altuve? The list of candidates is long and star-studded. Mike Trout, Angels Why he could finish second: Before he got hurt, we were watching Trout put together his best season in the majors, which is kind of amazing considering he’s finished first or second in the AL MVP race each of his five full seasons. And even though he missed a month-and-a-half of 2017 with that thumb injury, he’s still third among AL position players in fWAR (6.2) and fourth in rWAR (6.2). That’s kind of insane. As for his numbers, he’s slashing .315/.452/.638, with 29 homers, 21 stolen bases and a 1.090 OPS in 102 games this season.
AL MVP: Jose Altuve is clear favorite, but race for second is star-studded
Sporting News | Sep 18