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Right choice was made for AL MVP

Leslie Monteiro



It was not surprising Jose Altuve won the 2017 American League MVP on Thursday.

What was surprising was Altuve received 27 of the 30 first-place votes and 405 total points while Aaron Judge received only two of the 30 first-place votes and 279 points. In other words, it was not even close.

That made Yankees fans cranky. After all, they thought this would be a close call like the National League MVP race was between Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton, who won the award on Thursday.


It is always amusing when Yankees fans whine about anything. It’s like everything has to go the Yankees’ way. The outrage about Judge only getting two first-place votes is ridiculous. The bottom line is the voters got it right, even if Altuve basically won unanimously.

It’s a good bet Yankees fans that are outraged that their guy was wronged by the baseball writers are the same insecure fans that didn’t even know who Altuve was until the American League Championship Series, which he outplayed Judge.

Here’s why Altuve won the MVP: He was a consistent hitter for all six months. He never slumped. That can’t be said the same for Judge, who was struggling to start the post-All-Star break. The Yankees slugger did recover nicely in September, but the mark of a MVP is a hitter who is consistently reliable each game. A two months of bad stretch shouldn’t reward a MVP award to a hitter.

The problem with Judge is he was too streaky, and he relied way too much on home runs rather than get base hits to drive in runs. A MVP has to be a player that is a complete hitter, and the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year winner is not it right now.

If we want to get technical on why Judge was not deserving, we can. One can make a case that Judge’s home runs are inflated by with the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium. Anyone can hit home runs over there. It’s not an accident the Yankees hit home runs when they are home. You can bet voters put that into consideration considering Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon were not even the top three candidates for the NL MVP race as a result of their offensive output being inflated by playing at Coors Field.

In Arenado’s case, it was a strawman argument since he was a good hitter on the road, but let’s digress.

Judge was a better hitter at home than on the road. He hit .312 at Yankee Stadium while he hit .256 away from Yankee Stadium. He had 84 hits at home while getting 70 hits on the road. You can bet voters paid attention to that disparity.

On an eye test, who scares a pitcher or a fan more? Altuve or Judge? The answer is Altuve since he can beat pitchers not just with home runs, but with base hits. Judge has not hit great pitching this season. If a pitcher throws a fastball, the Yankees right fielder will start hacking away. He does not take good at-bats like the Astros second baseman does.

Give me Altuve over Judge anyday. He is a sure bet to get 200 hits every year, and he is consistent in stealing bases as he stole 32 this season. It can’t just be focusing on home runs. A clutch player does not need to hit home runs to win games, especially in the postseason.

It’s refreshing to know the voters put more emphasis on what a hitter does besides hitting home runs. ESPN is guilty of putting too much emphasis on home runs, which is why Judge was a highlight reel. Home runs sell more than a base hit to a causal baseball fan.

Most baseball fans did not quibble about the selection. It was Yankees fans that did, but then again, New York sports fans tend to be so parochial rather than being objective. Yankees fans are the worst of all fanbases in this town. It’s ridiculous.

To get worked up about Judge getting two first-place votes does not make sense. Either he won the MVP or he didn’t. Who cares about how many first-place votes a player received? And honestly, who cares about the MVP award? It’s not that important. Winning championships is the only thing that matters. Individual awards should be secondary to what a team accomplishes. If anything, individual awards should be a byproduct of a team’s accomplishments.

Maybe what’s bothering Yankees fans is the Astros won the World Series while the Yankees choked a 3-2 series lead in the AL Championship Series, and the Astros second baseman was the MVP.

Talk about adding insult to a bruised ego.

Leslie Monteiro is a syndicated sports columnist who writes about the Tri-State area teams for the Upstate Courier. He is based in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and can be reached on Twitter @MongoGoesInSane.