Sometimes the voters get it right.
On Thursday, the BBWAA announced its 2017 AL and NL MVPs, and it’s tough to quibble too much with the choices: Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
Let’s start in the NL, where Stanton won not only his first MVP but also the first in Marlins history. Although you could build a reasonable MVP case for at least four or five NL candidates, the slugger is certainly a worthy winner. Stanton’s 59 home runs were the headline on an all-around extremely strong season, in which he batted .281/.376/.631 and finished first or second in the NL in homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, wRC+, FanGraphs WAR and Baseball-Reference WAR.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) November 16, 2017
The Marlins outfielder was considered a pretty sizable MVP favorite entering the announcement but walked away a very, very narrow winner, beating Joey Votto 302 points to 300. The voting was exceptionally close from top to bottom with six players receiving first-place votes and seven players coming in with at least 100 points. Here was the top 10 in voting (full results here)
- Stanton — 302 points
- Votto — 300
- Paul Goldschmidt — 239
- Nolan Arenado — 229
- Charlie Blackmon — 205
- Anthony Rendon — 141
- Kris Bryant — 132
- Justin Turner — 43
- Cody Bellinger — 38
- Max Scherzer — 34
Of course, Stanton is in the news a lot these days, as the Marlins reportedly attempt to trade him to get out of his large (but not undeserved) contract. If he is eventually dealt, he will reportedly become only the third player to be traded the offseason after winning MVP, joining A-Rod and Eddie Collins.
Only twice has the MVP been traded in the offseason in which he won the award. Alex Rodriguez in 2003. Eddie Collins in 1914. #Stanton.
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) November 16, 2017
Over in the AL, Altuve won thanks to a .346 batting average (first in the AL), a .410 OBP (third), a .957 OPS (third), and a 160 wRC+ (third). He led the league in Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR and finished second in FanGraphs’ version. He award, the second in Astros history (Jeff Bagwell owns the other) comes weeks after Altuve helped lead Houston to a World Series title.
Despite every expectation of a close race, Altuve wound up blowing out Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, garnering all but three first-place votes and gaining 405 total points, to Judge’s 279. Here was the top 10 (full results here):
- Altuve – 405 points
- Judge – 279
- Jose Ramirez – 237
- Mike Trout – 197
- Francisco Lindor – 143
- Mookie Betts – 110
- Corey Kluber – 101
- Andrelton Simmons – 60
- Chris Sale – 56
- Nelson Cruz – 44
Altuve, for what it’s worth, ties for the shortest player to ever win an MVP award.
José Altuve joins 2 other MVP winners in MLB whose listed height was 5-foot-6 pic.twitter.com/S62X0d9S0q
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 17, 2017
The MVP votes conclude what was generally a satisfying awards season. There were close races but no major upsets or undeserved winners. Even if you think, say, Clayton Kershaw should have taken the NL Cy Young or Judge should have gotten the AL MVP, you can probably at least see why the outcome wound up as it did. The BBWAA rewarded the best players, which is, after all, the entire point.