Last week we saw the Houston Astros defeat the L.A. Dodgers in the final game of the World Series, and what a series it was. It reminded me of the World Series in the late 50s, where they’d go the distance to game seven. With its conclusion begins the speculation of who should receive the AL MVP award for the season.
The two players in contention for the MVP award are Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge, considering Mike Trout is not in the running due to the weeks he was out with a thumb injury. Many of the pundits presenting the Playoffs and World Series were suggesting Jose Altuve should be the pick hands down. I disagree with their assessment because they didn’t present all of the relevant facts and statistics for who should be MVP. In this article, I’ll make the case why Judge should not only get Rookie of the Year, but also MVP.
Why Jose Altuve
First, let’s identify the reasons Altuve was favored during the World Series commentary. For one, he was playing in the World Series, and therefore the pundits had him in mind, so attention bias lead them to mention him more often. This bias is understandable, but their presentation of Altuve’s statistics also left us wanting for a full picture. The pundits kept mentioning his impressive slash line of .346/.410/.547, his RBI of 81, and that he was third in the AL for stolen bases at 32 steals. Where the pundits went wrong was failing to do a side-by-side comparison with Judge and Altuve, as many of the relevant statistics show a stronger argument for Judge.
Why Aaron Judge
Now let’s look at Aaron Judge’s statistics for the season. Judge’s slash line was .284/.422/.627. While his batting average was lower than Altuve’s, his on-base and slugging percentages were better, which are metrics that contribute to more runs than batting average. Additionally, he hit 52 home runs, setting a record for most home runs hit by a rookie. Lastly, he walked 127 times, that’s 69 more walks than Altuve’s 58 walks. Walks are also a significant metric for contributing to runs, and no rookie has walked more than 100 times since Junior Gillian walked exactly 100 times in 1953. Also, his RBI of 114 blows Altuve’s 81 RBI out of the water. And lastly, back in October, Altuve said himself that Judge is a great candidate for MVP, saying, “Obviously, he's really strong. He hits the ball way farther than anybody in the big leagues, all his homers. He plays good defense, he did everything to win the MVP in the regular season, what I like the most about him is how humble he is.”
So with the statistics on Judge’s side, and baring the attention bias of the commentators during the World Series, are there other factors that contributed to Altuve being the favored for MVP so far? Yes, and there are two. One is the seniority that Altuve has over Judge, which often indicates who will receive the MVP. So Altuve’s seniority along with attention bias is why I believe Joe Buck may have leaned toward Altuve. As for John Smoltz, I have the sneaking suspicion that he holds a grudge against the Yankees due to losing to them in the 1996 and 1999 World Series when he was with the Atlanta Braves.
Ultimately, I don’t think the commentary during the Playoffs and World Series about who should receive the AL MVP was fair. They didn’t present all of the relative statistics that would have shown Judge as the superior player this season. Judge is undoubtedly the most feared slugger in the AL and at the very least should have gotten the same praise during the World Series commentary as Altuve, if not win MVP over Altuve.
Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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