Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve had an MVP-caliber season in 2016. Whether or not he wins the award is yet to be seen. At the very least, he has the respect of his peers as the Sporting News announced Altuve was the 2016 reception of the publication's 2016 MLB Player of the Year award.
The award is voted on by players from both leagues and given to the Major League player who had the most outstanding season. Altuve is the second Astros to win the award, following Jeff Bagwell who was named the winner in 1994.
Altuve won the American League batting title with a .338 (216x640) average. He collected 108 runs scored, 42 doubles, 24 home runs, 96 RBI, 60 walks, 30 stolen bases, a .396 on-base percentage, a .531 slugging percentage and a .928 OPS. He led all Major League players in hits while ranking third in batting average, fourth in WAR (7.6) and fifth in total bases (340). He also ranked in the top 10 in the Majors in stolen bases, doubles and in OBP.
The Astros press release puts Altuve’s season into perspective:
His historic season is one of the best by a second baseman in Major League history, as he became the first second baseman to reach 100 runs, 200 hits, 40 doubles, 20 homers, 95 RBI and 30 steals in a single season. He's just the sixth player in Major League history to reach all of those marks, regardless of position. By winning the batting title for the second time in the last three seasons, Altuve became the first second baseman to win multiple batting titles since Rod Carew won five between the 1969-75 seasons.
The release also notes that each of the last 10 players to win the Sporting News Player of the Year won an MVP Award in their respective leagues in the same season. Those players include Josh Donaldson (2015), Clayton Kershaw (2014), Miguel Cabrera (2012-13), Justin Verlander (2011), Josh Hamilton (2010), Albert Pujols (2008-09), Alex Rodriguez (2007) and Ryan Howard (2006).