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Why Judge And Stanton Shouldn’t Be MVPs

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2017 was one heck of a year for homers in Major League Baseball. Five players hit more than 40 and one almost hit 60. A rookie record was broken, and a 21-year-old hit 39 on top of that.

Entering this year, the 2000 season owned the all-time record for most home runs with 5,693. Mind you that 2000 was in the heart of the Steroid Era. The 2017 season shattered that record by over 400 with 6,105.

One of the most captivating stories of the year was the electrical storm put on by two guys who look like the Twin Towers when standing next to each other. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton reclaimed his place as the league’s most feared hitter, leading the MLB with 59 homers and 132 RBI. Not far behind him was Yankees phenom Aaron Judge, who broke Mark McGwire’s 29-year-old record for moonshots by a rookie with 52.

As one could probably gauge, Stanton and Judge are both finalists for their respective league’s MVP crown. Both are the favorites for the hardware pretty much solely because their long ball totals and their chances of winning right now are pretty good. That should not be the case.

Everyone knows that homers are the most exciting part of the game. “Home run hitters drive Cadillacs, singles hitters drive Fords,” said the late great Ralph Kiner. Baseball media has always admired the power strokes and power hitters always receive the most attention and praise. It’s something all fans accept because it’s the way it’s been for so long.

However, while Stanton and Judge were bombing away this season, two players behind them were also putting together stellar years and demonstrating that there’s far more to the game than just moonshots.

Aaron Judge’s first full season got off to a stellar start.  In the fist half he broke Joe DiMaggio’s record for homers by a Yankee rookie by hitting 30 and driving in 66. The feat earned him a well-deserved All-Star Game start, at which he also won the Home Run Derby. It was not the same story in the second half.

Almost as quickly as he rose to prominence, Judge faltered, striking out in 37 consecutive games. He batted .230 in July and just .185 in August. Equally impressive, however, was how well Judge regained himself. Once the calendar turned to September, the sleeping giant awoke and recorded a monster final month to finish the year with a .284 AVG, 114 RBI and 52 HR. But while he was MIA in for that month and half, another player was doing business as usual.

If Jose Altuve isn’t the best pure hitter in baseball right now, I don’t know who is. Never letting his short stature be an excuse, the second baseman led the majors in hitting for the second straight year, batting .346. He drove in 81 with 24 homers and a .957 OPS, leading Houston to its first ever World Championship.

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Jose Altuve’s undeviating excellence in 2017 fell in the shadow of Aaron Judge’s home run parade. (Sports Illustrated)

While Judge’s totals are better in all of those categories except average, Altuve had the better year. Here’s the proof. Judge batted .230 in July and .185 in August, Altuve batted .485 and .304 in those months. While The Judge temporarily abdicated his bench,  ‘Tuve lit up every pitcher he faced.

The MVP award should be awarded to the player who was consistently the best throughout the entire season, not just parts of it. Judge’s final line for the year was largely better than that of his diminutive contemporary, but Altuve was a force from game one to game 162. For that, he should be AL MVP.

It’s a similar case for Giancarlo Stanton in the National League. This year the right fielder proved to any doubters that he is the MLB’s premier power hitter and finished with a .281 AVG, 59 HR, 132 RBI, a .376 OBP and 1.007 OPS. His second half performance that included 23 homers in 35 games was as enthralling as it was impressive. It wasn’t the best showing of the year in the Senior Circuit, however.

While the man formerly know as Mike was hammering away at every pitch, Cincinnati stalwart Joey Votto (six years his senior) quietly put together an incredible run of his own. The 34-year-old amassed arguably the most formidable all-around offensive performance of the year, finishing with a .320 AVG, 36 HR, 100 RBI, a .454 OBP and a 1.032 OPS.

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The 2017 spotlight was fixed on Giancarlo Stanton, making many unaware of just how good Joey Votto was. (USA Today)

In contrast to Stanton, Votto had far less homers and RBI, but he boasted a far superior batting average and on-base percentage. Similar to the American League race also is that Votto was in the zone all year while the Stanton parade largely didn’t begin until the second half. The fans voted Stanton the winner of the NL’s Hank Aaron Award, but the true title of MVP belongs to Joey Votto.

Even against Stanton’s far superior tally of homers and RBI, Votto’s line is much better as a whole. Stanton excelled at hitting the ball 500 miles this season, but his stats beyond that are not as impressive, while Votto’s show he excelled everywhere.

The MVP hardware will be awarded tonight on the MLB Network. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if both Judge and Stanton won because, as I said, we all know how much the MLB loves homers. But there’s more to America’s past time than just that. Hopefully the BBWAA will remember that.

Check back with us on HR Daily tonight for the winner!

American League

Yankees’ Luis Severino Alters Diet to Improve Late-Season Energy

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New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino will be entering an important season as he tries to prove that he is a legit ace for a team that bolstered it’s starting rotation this offseason.

And that means a change in his diet.

Severino has altered his diet, cutting a number of snacks, including his favorite twice-fried plantains, out of his diet in an effort to avoid late-season fatigue.

“It’s not easy, it’s tough” Severino said, according to ESPN’s Coley Harvey.

“When you are at the finish line and you feel like you need a little bit more than five days to be ready, you know that something’s going on,” Severino said.

Severino made the decision to change his diet following the Yankees’ Divisional Series lost to World Series Champions the Boston Red Sox.

“Even though I feel like he was certainly healthy, he probably dealt with some fatigue issues with being a young pitcher in this league, and for the second consecutive year kind of getting around that 200-inning standpoint,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

“But in a lot of ways, we saw the normal progression of a young star pitcher. And even though he had some struggles in the second half, he had some flashes where he pitched really well for us, righted the ship a little bit.”

Severino still could be the starter on Opening Day.

“I would say there’s a very good chance of that,” Boone said. “We hadn’t had those kind of conversations exactly yet. But my expectation is that he would be that guy.”

Severino noted that the diet change was hard.

“I hate eating vegetables,” Severino said.


Where I came from, we just eat anything we see in the fridge, fried and fast food,” Severino said. “But we’re eating more vegetables and stuff like that, and get your body going faster and then recover fast. So that’s my main stuff, focusing on my workouts and avoiding doing a lot of weights that maybe make me a lot more tired.”

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American League

Yankees Keeping Tabs on Manny Machado

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Don’t completely count the New York Yankees out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes just yet, because they are simply playing the waiting game.

According to SNY.tv’s Andy Martino, the Yankees are keeping tabs on Machado with the hopes that a golden opportunity arises.

While they aren’t interested in Machado at shortstop, they would play him at third base and move Miguel Andujar to first base should they be able to haul in Machado.

While nothing is imminent, and even though the report states that a deal is unlikely, there is no counting the Yankees out of it just yet as Spring Training approaches.

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American League

Athletics Sign Brett Anderson

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The Oakland Athletics have agreed to terms with left hander Brett Anderson, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.

Anderson is taking a physical on Tuesday.

Anderson pitched to the tune of a 4.48 ERA for the A’s last season.

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