Cleat Geeks

Aaron Judge, 2 First Place Votes For AL MVP… I Declare A Mistrial

Congratulations to Jose Altuve, who last night won the AL MVP crown, capturing 27/30 first place votes. Who can deny that Altuve had a remarkable season, with his league-leading batting average of .346, and being instrumental in the Astros capturing their first World Series championship? The 5’6″ second baseman, who was signed by the Astros for a mere $15,000 after being told he was too small has shown that size doesn’t matter.

The lead up to the announcement last night sparked many debates regarding the what seemed to be head to head competition between Altuve and Judge. Twitter feeds blew up with discussion. Facebook threads did as well. The issue being first the comparison of stats between both players.

A head to head comparison showed Altuve leading Judge in only 4 categories, (with the b WAR and f WAR being negligible in difference) those being batting average, hits, stolen bases and less strike outs, illustrated by the accompanying graphic. Judge went into his slump following the All Star Break which contributed to his league leading K total of 208. However, he also had a total of 127 walks which contributed to his OBP of .422 compared to Altuve at .410. Judge also led in OPS, RBI’s, and runs scored on the offensive side.

This award is for MOST VALUABLE PLAYER. So certainly it’s not about just the bat. The glove must be considered as well. Judge had 9 defensive runs saved to Altuve’s 3. UZR (a complete defensive stat) also was in Judge’s favor. The argument can be made that outfield isn’t as athletic of a position as infield but there is quite a bit of disparity between the two.

Another point is what makes a player VALUABLE? Since MVP voting only takes the regular season into consideration, the fact that the Astros and Altuve won the Series is moot. Look at Stanton, on a sub .500 team capturing the NL MVP. The mistrial enters here. Why did Aaron Judge only score 2 first place votes? The Astros probably would have been in the post-season even without Altuve. The Yankees, probably not. Judge’s slump exactly correlated with his team’s. In April and September when Judge was on fire, their record was 35-16. Conversely, the Yankees went 28-27 in July and August when Aaron was struggling. This obviously was not noted by the voters. Value? Definitely. Mistrial? Appeal?

Also a player’s ability to adjust to adversity and excel again should be considered. Judge looked lost at the plate in July and August, whiffing at pitches way out of the strike zone, mostly high and outside. He struck out in a record 37 straight games. Baseball is certainly a game of failures and slumps, but also adjustments. Judge was able to do exactly that and in September was again on fire. He hit 15 homers in 27 games during the month, including 2 in the game against the Royals, number 49 and 50 to tie and break Mark McGwire’s 30 year old rookie record. Was Judge given credit for his comeback or penalized for the slump? Value? Mistrial? Everything considered, Judge’s performance warranted more than 2 first place votes.

Judge had a historical ROOKIE year which begs for more discussion. He is 25 years old, in his first year in the bigs. Halfway through spring training, battling Hicks for a starting position in the Bronx, he was behind the eight ball. He was told the position wasn’t his. He battled through and after posting a .985 OPS was awarded the starting job on March 30. Judge has accomplished everything when he wasn’t even assured a starting position in the spring at the age of 25 and playing on the biggest MLB stage in the world. Another attribute which demanded more than 2 first place votes. Value? Mistrial!


Jose Altuve won the AL MVP and deservedly so. But Judge certainly deserved more than a mere 2 first place votes. Possibly the voters didn’t consider all of the evidence presented by both sides. There are many more years ahead in Aaron’s bright career. Many more chances for the attorneys to present their cases. He will be on the bench for the New York Yankees. ALL RISE!!!

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