After much anticipation, it's official: Jose Altuve is your American League Most Valuable Player for 2017. Minute Maid Park will get to continue to chant "MVP!" into the 2018 season when their best player steps up to the plate.
It should be no surprise that Altuve was able to claim one of the league's top honors for this season, at least for anyone outside of New Yorkwho was probably feeling strongly about the Yankees' Aaron Judge after his stellar rookie year.
Altuve had an outstanding regular season, a career year, in fact. He led the AL in hits with 204, making it his fourth straight 200-hit season, and finished with an incredible .346 batting average to earn his third batting title. In addition to the best batting average of his career thus far, Altuve also had his best on-base percentage (.410), slugging percentage (.547) for a combined .957 slugging plus on-base percentage which was third in the AL.
Altuve was second in the league in runs scored at 112 and in stolen bases at 32. He was also second in WAR, wins above replacement, at 7.9 games, a pretty telling number that shows that without him, the Astros would've been a totally different team.
He was also solid on the defensive side of the ball, finishing fifth among AL second basemen in fielding percentage at .982 and fourth in assists at 351 while committing 10 errors on the year.
All in all, even though the postseason is not considered in the MVP voting, Altuve's remarkable year was definitely one of the driving forces that led the Astros to their first championship in franchise history.
It's hard to say if Altuve still would've been named MVP if Judge hadn't had his second-half slump, or if Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout hadn't been sidelined for a chunk of the season, but there's no question that all things considered Altuve deserved to be in the running, and it's no surprise he won this year and should continue to be a contender for years to come.
This story originally appeared on SportsMap.