Houston may be on the verge of a major storm. Lots of hot air, blow hards and the potential for something big to happen.
No, we are not talking Harvey, but the latest in a recent long line of MVP debates involving Houston athletes.
J.J. Watt came up short. So, too, did James Harden. Twice. Jose Altuve is already short. But he is a statistical monster, and squarely in the MVP debate with just over a month left in the season.
There are many opinions out there. CBS has it as a two horse race with Altuve and Aaron Judge of the Yankees. Fansided makes a case for Mike Trout despite missing significant time. One fan web site for the Angels makes a case for Andrelton Simmons. It’s a poor case, but it’s out there. Trout in particular could still make a run at it, especially if the Angels can close the gap on the Astros, who have been pretty average since their magnificent start.
Boston’s Chris Sale should also be in the conversation.
But if Altuve can carry the Astros down the stretch, he has a realistic shot of pulling it off.
Judge has a big advantage playing for the Yankees. His gaudy HR/RBI numbers (37/81) will be hard to ignore, and let’s face it — doing big things in New York gets you attention. But if he finishes slow, it could open the door for the diminutive Altuve.
Altuve entered Wednesday’s game with the Nationals leading the league with a .358 average, 19 HRs, 67 RBI and 29 steals. He is simply playing at a Hall of Fame level. He leads the league not just in batting average, but in WAR and offensive WAR, total bases, stolen bases, runs created, and several other minor categories. Search 2017 American League batting leaders, and you see Altuve’s name far more than any other player.
Altuve finished third last year, so he is no stranger to the MVP race.
This might be his year. There is a lot of baseball left, but a storm of debate is brewing. And this one might be the real deal.