The MLB playoff race can conceivably be boiled down to about 12 teams, with one or two more on the fringes but looking less realistic by the day. Those 12 teams are in different spots. Some will feel better than others about their chances of making an impact in the playoffs, but each team has at least one player upon whom they can rely.
Here’s a look at each contender’s most important player.
Arizona Diamondbacks — Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
For a team that has often been known for having a powerhouse offense, the Diamondbacks have at times struggled to get men on base this season. That has not been a problem for Goldschmidt, who remains one of the game’s more overlooked stars. For the fifth time in seven seasons, he has surpassed 30 home runs and is the centerpiece of Arizona’s offense. When he does well, they do well.
Jose Altuve is expected to return from the 10-day disabled list for the Houston Astros’ game on Tuesday.
Altuve has been out of action since late July due to soreness in his right knee. The injury caused the reigning American League MVP to land on the disabled list for the first time in his big league career. Fresh off of a rehab stint that saw Altuve record his first hit at the Triple-A level, the plan is for the Astros’ second baseman to be activated prior to Tuesday’s game.
Hinch said the plan is for Jose Altuve to be activated tomorrow.
Altuve last played on July 25. At that time, Houston had a five game lead in the AL West over the Seattle Mariners. The Astros currently have just a one game lead on the Oakland A’s, who have surpassed the Mariners. A healthy Altuve will certainly help the Astros’ chances of holding on to the top spot in their division.
This will be the first Triple-A appearance of Altuve’s career. He went directly from Double-A Corpus Christi to the majors in 2011, and has never looked back since. Add in the fact that this is the first time in his big league career that Altuve has landed on the disabled list and you have a lot of firsts — and not just for Altuve himself, either.
Jose Altuve will test his injured knee this weekend to determine if rest has helped.
Altuve was placed on the 10-day disabled list last month for the first time in his big league career due to soreness in his right knee. He was taken out of the Houston Astros’ game on July 25 in the fourth inning due to discomfort and has not played since.
Last year’s American League MVP is eligible to come off the disabled list, but that will not happen until Altuve is back to 100 percent. Altuve will see how his knee has responded to rest this weekend by testing it out with some running.
“I don’t think it’s going to be too long,” Altuve told MLB.com. “It’s not easy to come here and not to be in the lineup. I’m supporting my teammates. I’m going out there and supporting them. Hopefully, we’re going to win a lot of games and see what happens.”
Altuve was not happy about his first DL stint. Houston reportedly does not expect Altuve to be out for an extended period time. For Altuve, any day longer than ten days is too long.
Jose Altuve had never been placed on the disabled list in his eight-year MLB career, and he’s not too pleased to see that streak come to an end.
The Houston Astros second baseman was placed on the 10-day DL Saturday due to right knee discomfort, an issue that forced him to exit Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies early. Speaking with reporters after the move was announced, Altuve said that he was “not really happy about it,” per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. He also said, “You gotta ask them,” multiple times in response to questions about the specifics and severity of his injury.
Jose Altuve talks about going on the DL for the first tjme in his career. "I'm not really happy about it." pic.twitter.com/aARViDPLwO
Altuve, 28, has been something of an iron man throughout his career, playing in 150 or more games in each of the last five seasons. As for the Astros, they have lost four of their seven contests since the All-Star break and now have a crucial series against the division rival Seattle Mariners coming up, one that the former AL MVP Altuve will be sidelined for.
While Altuve is, like usual, still leading the Astros in most offensive metrics this season, it has been a rather bizarre year for him in more ways than one. His first-ever trip to the disabled list will continue on that theme.
Jose Altuve had a great reaction to receiving the silent treatment after hitting his first home run of the season.
During Wednesday’s game between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels, the reigning American League MVP went deep for the first time in 2018. When Altuve returned to the dugout, his teammates (momentarily) had no reaction to what happened and showed not emotion whatsoever. That didn’t stop Altuve from celebrating.
The MLB season gets underway on Thursday, so the focus will inevitably be on the playoff race and who is contending for a World Series title. There is another worthwhile subplot to watch out for, and that is the race for the Most Valuable Player award in each league.
There are many players who could win it, but we’ve narrowed it down to five big candidates in each league. Of course, there are other worthy candidates, and this certainly doesn’t rule out a dark horse candidate emerging and putting together a season worthy of award recognition.
Here are ten big preseason candidates for the Most Valuable Player awards in both the American and National League.
1) Mike Trout, Angels
Trout is pretty much atop this list in perpetuity. His fourth-place finish in last year’s MVP voting was actually his worst since catching on as a full-time player, but that had more to do with missed time due to injury than production. He still hit .306 with a career-best 1.071 OPS, plus 33 home runs. He’ll be heavily featured in the conversation as long as he stays healthy, even if the Angels aren’t a huge factor in the playoff race.
Altuve was already a superstar, but he firmly established himself as the heart and soul of the Astros with a series of remarkable postseason performances. He had been on a ridiculously team-friendly contract that covered five years for just $18.5 million. This should compensate him more fairly — and he’ll still only be 29 when it kicks in, making it a win-win proposition for team and player.
Jose Altuve stole the show when the Houston Astros visited the White House on Monday to be recognized for winning the World Series, and the reigning AL MVP insists it was not intentional.
Several photos and videos showed Altuve standing behind Donald Trump with a very serious look on his face while the president was delivering his speech. On Tuesday, Altuve said it was an “honor” to be at the White House and said he was just trying to be respectful.
Jose Altuve spoke to reporters today about the reaction to his expression during yesterday’s White House visit. "The president was talking. What do you want me to do? I was just standing there listening. It was an honor to be there. If I didn't want to go, I just wouldn't go."
The internet, of course, drew its own conclusions about what may have been on Altuve’s mind. Many felt Altuve’s body language was his way of making a political statement, and there was one very awkward moment where it appeared Trump intentionally skipped over Altuve while dishing out handshakes.
It’s possible that Altuve disagrees with Trump’s policies, but that doesn’t mean his facial expressions on Monday were indicative of that. If he felt strongly enough about not going, he would have stayed home like Carlos Correa.
Championship team visits to the White House have become a little bit more newsworthy these days, and that was certainly true once again this week.
The World Series champion Houston Astros visited President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday, and it was highlighted by some awkward moments that Astros star Jose Altuve had with the commander-in-chief.
The reigning AL MVP stood behind Trump for the balance of the ceremony and was photographed with some rather meme-worthy facial expressions.
Oh, the Jose Altuve deathstare images are getting even better.
Not to worry though — a Trump-Altuve handshake eventually happened … it just descended into a bizarre arm wrestle of sorts before Trump cracked a joke about Altuve’s height and then seemed to nearly lose his balance.