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Stanton, Altuve Baseball MVPs

For the second straight season, a league MVP is a reigning World Series champion.
Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Astros second baseman Jose Altuve won the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player award Thursday. Altuve and the Astros clinched the first World Series title in franchise history earlier this month. Last year Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was named NL MVP after winning the World Series.
Altuve picked up 27 of a possible 30 first-place votes, beating Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year, by a 405-279 margin. Judge earned two first-place votes as well as 27 second-place votes and one for third place. Indians infielder Jose Ramirez placed third.  
This season Altuve led the AL in hits for the fourth straight year and finished with a .346/.410/.547 (164 OPS+) batting line with 24 home runs and 32 stolen bases. His batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and OPS+ are all new career highs. He also led all players -- that includes position players and pitchers, AL and NL -- with 8.3 WAR in 2017.
Altuve has gradually climbed the AL MVP voting ranks over the years, going from 13th in the voting in 2014 to 10th in 2015 to third in 2016 to winning the award in 2017. He is the second Astros player to be named league MVP, joining Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell won the 1994 NL MVP award, when the Astros were still in the Senior Circuit.
Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the National League trophy. Joey Votto finished two points behind in second, and Paul Goldschmidt finished third.
Stanton led NL hitters in Wins Above Replacement, albeit narrowly, according to Baseball Reference. His 7.6 figure trumped Votto's 7.5 and Nolan Arenado's 7.2 by the slimmest of margins. Of course, it's more likely that voters were swayed by the facts that Stanton homered 59 times (the most in baseball), finished first in runs batted in, and slotted in second behind Votto in OPS. The Marlins also won more games than the Reds did (nine), which couldn't have hurt.
Even though Stanton finished with more home runs and runs batted in, Votto was likely the best hitter in the NL. He led the league in OPS by 25 points, due in large part to his ridiculous .454 on-base percentage -- Stanton, for reference, failed to finish in the top 10 of that measure. Votto also had a higher batting average than Stanton. (Stanton ranked first in slugging, as compared to Votto's seventh-place finish.) For all intents and purposes, Votto essentially tied Stanton in Wins Above Replacement too. 

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