How MLB media's Astros disrespect has reached another level

Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve would like to have a word. Composite image by Jack Brame.

I’ve never bought into Houston fans’ grievance that the national media, even after all of the Astros success in recent years, still doesn’t give the Astros any respect.

I’m starting to believe it now. Two examples from the past week. And they’re lulus.

MLB.com released a list of players who could become first-time MVP Award winners this year. Let’s have a look:

Ronald Acuna Jr.

Marcus Semien

Vlad Guerrero

Jose Ramirez

Matt Chapman

Juan Soto

Nolan Arenado

Pete Alonso

Francisco Lindor

Manny Machado.

Hmm, did MLB forget someone? No need to file a missing person’s report. It’s Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez. Here’s where I could say, whoa, isn’t Alvarez having a better year than some of those guys.

But I won’t. I’m saying Alvarez is having a better year than all of ‘em. Yordan is batting .284 with 14 homers and 48 RBI. Don’t tell me that Alvarez is a DH and maybe that’s why he’s not on the list. Alvarez has played more than half of his games in left field.

The best of the bunch who did make MLB’s list is Acuna Jr. of the Braves. He’s batting .327 but trails Alvarez in homers (11) and RBI (30).

The Rangers’ Semien is having a terrific year hitting .298. But he, too, is behind Alvarez in dingers (8) and RBI (44). Mets crusher Pete Alonso is leading baseball with 20 homers, but he’s behind Alvarez is batting average (.242) and RBI (46). Yes, I still believe in batting average.

Some of the players on the list, frankly, this must be some sort of joke.

Padres third baseman Machado is having a total suck season, hitting .231 with five homers and 19 RBI. Mets shortstop Lindor … seriously? He’s batting .225 with nine homers and 39 RBI.

Except for Acuna Jr. and Alonso, nobody on the list has double-digit home runs.

Alvarez is the most frightening hitter in baseball. And clutch? Remember last year, Game 6 of the World Series against the Phillies, and Game 1 of the Divisional Series against the Mariners?

Alvarez shouldn’t just be on the list. He should be No. 1. You realize, MLB, you can look this stuff up.

Then Jayson Stark of The Athletic added insult to injury (and the Astros don’t need any more injuries) by coming up with his list of “Which active players are on track for baseball’s Hall of Fame?”

He broke it down into seven levels: In right now, in the Red Zone, on a path, I wish there was a path, get back to me in five years, used to be in the Red Zone, and case not closed.

Hard to argue with most of surefire “in right now” candidates who already have the credentials for Cooperstown: Mike Trout, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, Zack Grienke and Joey Votto.

But here’s my gripe: if Votto is a lock for the Hall of Fame, why isn’t Jose Altuve on the list? And where is Altuve anywhere?

He’s down in Tier 3, “on a path,” according to Stark.

As high school history teachers are fond of saying, let’s compare and contrast.

Joey Votto has played 16 years, all with the Cincinnati Reds. That’s commendable. He has a solid .297 career batting average and 2093 total hits. He made six All-Star teams and won an MVP Award in 2010. No Silver Sluggers, though.

Jose Altuve has played 13 years, all with the Astros. His career batting average is .307 with 1946 career hits. He has made eight All-Star teams and won an MVP in 2017. He’s won six Silver Slugger Awards.

Altuve is far from done. He’s 33 years old and batting .355 this season. Votto is 39 and pondering retirement. He is recovering from shoulder surgery and currently is on the team’s injured list. He hasn’t appeared in a single game so far this season. He batted .205 in 91 games last year.

Here’s where Altuve leaves Votto in the dust and is clearly a more deserving prospect for Cooperstown: the postseason. It’s championships that count.

Votto has played in four playoff series. The Reds lost all of them. He has 10 hits in 41 at bats for a .244 average. No home runs. One RBI. No National League pennants, no World Series titles.

Altuve is a postseason monster. Altuve has played in 19 playoff series, hit .271 with 23 homers and 49 RBI. During his time with the Astros, the team has won five American League West titles, four American League pennants and two World Series titles.

So you’re telling me that Votto’s in … and Altuve’s only on a path? Stark may want to go back and check his – and Votto’s and Altuve’s – facts.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
The Texans host the Steelers at NRG this Sunday. Composite Getty Image.

What: Texans vs. Steelers

When: 10/1 12pm CST kickoff

Where: Houston, TX NRG Stadium

TV/Radio: KHOU-TV, KILT-Radio

Betting Lines: Steelers -2.5 (-120), O/U 42 (-110) *As of this writing

The Watt Brother Bowl takes place on Sunday. I'm calling it that because the Texans are honoring their all-time great J.J. while they're playing his younger brother and current hell raising edge rusher for the Steelers T.J. The Steelers have won four of the last five matchups vs. the Texans by an average score of 28-17. The biggest difference is that the Steelers have a second year starter at quarterback in Kenny Pickett, and the Texans have a rookie in C.J. Stroud. When you look at the two quarterbacks, both organizations have full faith in each guy. Both teams have tried to build a defense to help their young signal callers. Both are still trying to surround their franchise guys with weapons.

When the Steelers have the ball: Here's a game where Will Anderson Jr can make headway as a proven EDGE. Stacking consistent performances together and helping your team win games by making winning plays. It helps that Pickett has tiny hands. This was a knock on him during draft season last year. Hand size for a quarterback impacts grip. That can not only impact accuracy, but it could make it easier to strip the ball from him.

While he doesn't have the weapons to torch this defense, Pickett does hand the ball off to Najee Harris who's more than capable. Averaging only 67 yards rushing as a team can't be taken lightly. Denzel Perryman is expected to miss the game Sunday, so hopefully that won't help jumpstart the Steelers' run game. The Texans defense will have to key in on the run, given that they average giving up 117 a game on the ground. Those aforementioned weapons may not be scary, but the injuries to the defensive backs has hurt. Tavierre Thomas is expected to miss the game recovering from hand surgery. Jimmie Ward coming back last week showed what happens when they have a top safety back there, especially when the pass rush is turning up. Hopefully, the Texans can capitalize again this week, with safety Jalen Pitre expected to return to action.

When the Texans have the ball: Good luck stopping Tank Dell and Stroud! These guys have already established themselves as a formidable duo three games into their careers. A great way to get that connection going is to pound the rock. The Steelers are giving up over 150 yards on the ground per game so far this season. That's also a good way to keep T.J. at bay while J.J. watches. With Laremy Tunsil and Josh Jones both expected to miss the game, here are the offensive line starters: Austin Deculus, Kendrick Green, Jarrett Patterson, Shaq Mason, and George Fant.

Making the younger Watt brother slow down a bit instead of going balls to the wall after Stroud because a run could be coming will help the pass game tremendously. Stroud will have to continue to make quick decisions, but even quicker this game. I wouldn't be surprised to see his first pick of his career here, given the pressure he's most likely to be under. Especially when your offensive line starters were mostly all backups to begin this season.

Outcome: I failed to place a money line bet on the Texans last week because the game started and the live bet wasn't as profitable. I wanted to take a chance on them given their recent record against the Jags. Looking at their last five vs. the Steelers, one would say why make that bet this week? It's because I believe in Stroud more than I believe in Pickett. While T.J. Watt is a different kind of monster, Will Anderson Jr is on his way to becoming something special. Texans win/cover, and hit the over, but barely: Texans 24, Steelers 20.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome