We were expecting drama in this year’s Major League Baseball MVP awards and we got it: Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL award by just two points, the third-closest race of all time, and Jose Altuve, the Houston Astros dynamo, beat out Aaron Judge for the AL award.
Stanton received 10 of the 30 first-place votes cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds finished second, also receiving 10 first-place votes. Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks finished third. Colorado Rockies duo Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Stanton beat Votto in overall points 302 to 300, in the third-closest MVP race of all time. The only closer votes were Marty Marion over Bill Nicholson in 1944 by one point, Joe DiMaggio over Ted Williams in 1941 by one point and Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell tying in 1979.
Altuve received 27 of the 30 first-place votes. Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, who won Rookie of the Year, finished second after getting two first-place votes. Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third and got one first-place vote. Mike Trout finished fourth and Francisco Lindor finished fifth.
In the NL, this was all about dingers, as Stanton hit 59 of them, falling one short of the famous mark of 60, but still hitting the most in MLB since 2001, when Barry Bonds hit 73. Ryan Howard hit 58 in 2006. It was Stanton’s potential fully realized. He’s been a scary slugger his whole career, but in 2017 he played in a career-best 159 games and the results followed.
Stanton not only led MLB in homers, but his 132 RBIs were tops in the league too. In a final three with no bad candidate, Stanton’s power numbers ultimately topped the all-around production of Goldschmidt and Votto’s other-worldly ability to get on base.
Get ready to hear a lot about more Stanton too, as he’s already been the talk of the offseason as the most desirable trade chip on the market. The Marlins are expected to move him this winter — and the price might have just gotten a little higher.
Altuve isn’t going anywhere, not after a World Series ring as a token of his best season so far in the big leagues. Altuve, the 5-foot-6 second baseman, has been defying the odds his whole career, but in 2017, he turned himself into, without question, one of the best players in the league.
He’s also made good contact at the plate, but his stats this year were at another level. He hit .346 with a .410 on-base percentage, plus he hit 24 homers, knocked in 81 runs and stole 32 bases. He’s like a great lead-off hitter and great No. 3 hitter combined into one player.
He was the backbone of an Astros team that won 101 games. Postseason doesn’t count in the BBWAA awards, but Altuve thrived there too, helping the Astros to win their first World Series win in franchise history.
Judge had a great rookie season, no doubt, and would have been a worthwhile MVP, but the difference in his candidacy was a post-All Star break slump. He turned it back on in September and fueled the Yankees’ playoff run, but Altuve was good from the Astros first game to their last one. And that’s made helped him win his first MVP award.