I get kind of excited when thinking of the fact that the Houston Astros may have a legitimate contender for Most Valuable Player honors. The tiny Jose Altuve is having the season of a lifetime. He leads the league in many important statistics, ahead of guys like, what's his name? Mike Trout, I think, or something like that.
I get an unrivalled pleasure going onto fangraphs, sorting the leaders, and seeing an Astro at the top of list. Give it a try, it's guaranteed to make your day, that little bit better. I promise. Here's a look at some of these awe-inspiring statistics: Firstly and foremostly, hits. Altuve leads the league, and all of baseball for that matter, in hits. By a long way, too. He currently sits with 173 hits, 13 ahead of his nearest challenger, Melky Cabrera of the Blue Jays.
In a season with Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon running riot on the base pads, being tied-second in all of baseball, and first in the American League, in stolen bases is rather impressive. Having swiped 46 bases, he is ten short of Gordon, and tied with Hamilton. However, his nearest American League challenger is Jacoby Ellsbury of the Yankees, who has a mere 31 -- mere in comparison to King Altuve, which, yes, is his new name. He has earned it.
Batting average is another statistic Altuve leads currently. His .339 is a strong ten points higher than second highest, Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners. To further reinforce the magnitude of Altuve's season, here are some metrics, no-one truly understands. He has compiled an impressive wRC+ of 131, a wOBA of .360, an offensive WAR of 24.6, a wSB of 6.0, and a wRAA of 20.5, which, by the way, is the most important offensive metric -- and 20.5 is really good.
His quest to become an MVP isn't bulletproof, unfortunately. Above all, one thing which certainly won't work in his favour: His team. For some rather unfair, and biased reason, baseball seem to like to pick players who have competitive teams to win the award. If you play on a postseason team, your chances are doubled, essentially. While our season is better than last year, we aren't making the playoffs, incase you didn't know already. This rather sad fact, while it shouldn't, will indeed work against Altuve.
The honors of Most Valuable Player are meant to be awarded to the best overall player in baseball. Altuve may be hitting like a winner, he isn't, however, defending like one. His bat has been brilliant, historically good in fact, his glove hasn't been. Both his DRS of -8, and his UZR of -10.7 will massively hinder his chances. While UZR is hardly a fair metric -- it doesn't take shifts into consideration, and the Astros shift lots -- it is used to calculate WAR.
Yes, WAR always has to be mentioned. Again, while it is vastly used to rank players, it shouldn't be. The defensive part of the metric is kind of, flawed, to say the least. Am I only saying this because WAR and defensive metrics work against Altuve? Not really, believe it or not. It is widely considered to be an unfair way of ranking players. But baseball doesn't care. They will use it against our Altuve.
Overall, do I think that Jose Altuve can seriously win an MVP? He most certainly can, but most likely won't. I would currently, in the most unbiased of fashions, rank him third.Everyone seems to love that, aforementioned, Mike Trout guy. Others like Robinson Cano and Michael Brantley will be in the running, too. But don't get down about it. He can still, and should still, win the batting title. Which, I'm pretty sure, is equally as important.