DURHAM, N.C.—In the 20th year of the award, Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve became the first position player from Venezuela to earn Baseball America's Major League Player of the Year award.
Altuve, 27, is the first player from Venezuela to win the honor since Twins lefthander Johan Santana (2006). He earned the award for his all-around play that starts with his hitting ability. He won his second straight American League batting championship in 2017, leading MLB with a .346 average. His 204 hits also led the AL and marked his fourth consecutive season that he led the league and reached at least 200 hits. He also stole 32 bases in 38 attempts, his sixth consecutive year with 30 or more steals.
Altuve has kept pace with baseball's burgeoning power as well. He tied a career high with 24 homers, clubbed 39 doubles (falling one short of his fourth-straight year with 40 doubles) and slugged a career-best .547 while drawing 58 walks and striking out 84 times. He helped power the Astros to 101 victories, the second-best total in franchise history.
"His ability to make contact on all pitches, both in and out of the zone—that's always been his special ability," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "As he's matured, he's learned to lay off bad or borderline pitches, which has resulted in more damage on the pitches he goes after."
Altuve joins a club of winners that includes three-time winners Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Trout. He's the first second baseman ever to win the award, which was launched in 1998, and the first infielder since Rodriguez won as a third baseman in 2007. That was the year Altuve signed with the Astros as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela. He headlines BA's All-MLB team that includes Trout, 2017 Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, fresh off his 59-home run campaign.
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BASEBALL AMERICA MLB PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
1998 • Mark McGwire, 1b, Cardinals
1999 • Pedro Martinez, rhp, Red Sox
2000 • Alex Rodriguez, ss, Mariners
2001 • Barry Bonds, of, Giants
2002 • Alex Rodriguez, ss, Rangers
2003 • Barry Bonds, of, Giants
2004 • Barry Bonds, of, Giants
2005 • Albert Pujols, 1b, Cardinals
2006 • Johan Santana, lhp, Twins
2007 • Alex Rodriguez, 3b, Yankees
2008 • CC Sabathia, lhp, Indians/Brewers
2009 • Joe Mauer, c, Twins
2010 • Roy Halladay, rhp, Phillies
2011 • Matt Kemp, of, Dodgers
2012 • Mike Trout, of, Angels
2013 • Mike Trout, of, Angels
2014 • Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Dodgers
2015 • Bryce Harper, of, Nationals
2016 • Mike Trout, of, Angels
BASEBALL AMERICA ALL-MLB TEAM
|C||Buster Posey, Giants||.320||.400||.462||494||62||158||34||0||12||67||6|
|1B||Joey Votto, Reds||.320||.454||.578||559||106||179||34||1||36||100||5|
|2B||Jose Altuve, Astros||.346||.410||.547||590||112||204||39||4||24||81||32|
|3B||Nolan Arenado, Rockies||.309||.373||.586||606||100||187||43||7||37||130||3|
|SS||Francisco Lindor, Indians||.273||.337||.505||651||99||178||44||4||33||89||15|
|CF||Mike Trout, Angels||.306||.442||.629||402||92||123||25||3||33||72||22|
|OF||Aaron Judge, Yankees||.284||.422||.627||542||128||154||24||3||52||114||9|
|OF||Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins||.281||.376||.631||597||123||168||32||0||59||132||2|
|DH||Jose Ramirez, Indians||.318||.374||.583||585||107||186||56||6||29||83||17|
|SP||Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers||18||4||2.31||27||0||175||136||49||45||30||202|
|SP||Corey Kluber, Indians||18||4||2.25||29||0||203.2||141||56||51||36||265|
|SP||Chris Sale, Red Sox||17||8||2.90||32||0||214.1||165||73||69||43||308|
|SP||Max Scherzer, Nationals||16||6||2.51||31||0||200.2||126||62||56||55||268|
|RP||Kenley Jansen, Dodgers||5||0||1.32||65||41||68.1||44||11||10||7||109|
|RP||Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox||5||0||1.43||67||35||69||33||11||11||14||126|
*DH not limited to players who primarily played DH