By Sergio Rodriguez

Sports Editor and
Former ESPN Analyst


ne of these days someone will explain to me what the criteria is when it comes to voting for the Major League Baseball MVP.  It seems to me that the criteria changes based on who the writers want to vote for on any given year.  

I have seen Alex Rodriguez win an MVP on a last place team but then some years like 1991 they snub Barry Bonds for Terry Pendleton because the Braves had a big turnaround season.  That brings us to the third criteria that writers have used twice in the last 10 years and that’s the “Smurf” criteria.  In 2008 Dustin Pedroia won the American League MVP with 17 Home Runs, 83 RBI’s and .326 Avg.  That same year there was 5 players who had over 30 HR, 100 RBI and Batted over .300.  The difference was none of those guys look like a hot dog vendor at Yankees Stadium like Pedroia does.  Fast forward 10 years and Jose Altuve has a wonderful season statistically and he wins by a large margin over Aaron Judge.  The reason, “The Smurf Criteria”.  Look at the numbers below and they tell a story that cannot be understood.  In fact the only argument someone who voted for Altuve can use is the batting average and strikeout margin over Judge.  Well let’s examine that.  The first one is simple, guys who hit 50 plus Home Runs will always strikeout more except for Brett Gardner who finds a way to strikeout over 100 times while batting under .270 and hitting less than 30 HR but that’s a story for another time.  

What did altuve really accomplish over Judge with his .346 Avg?  

All those hits translated to less runs scored, less RBI and oh yes, a lower on base percentage.  So, the guy who put the ball in play seemingly much less helped his team achieve the goal of the game, produce runs.  If Altuve was 6’3 I bet my life that Judge wins the MVP by the same margin that Altuve just did.  The interesting thing is Altuve would not have even finished second.  And for some of you fans that are not aware of the voting process those votes are in before the playoffs start so Altuve’s playoff heroics do not factor in.  Some day we will get a true answer from sports writers who always have a personal agenda when it comes to voting for awards or the Hall of Fame.