Here are the top Astros candidates poised to make a run at MVP in 2023
Houston Astros power hitter Yordan Álvarez had a strong 2022 season that was capped off by a postseason run that included highlight reel plays that will live in the minds of fans for decades to come.
The 25-year-old slashed .306/.406/.613 along with 37 home runs and 97 runs batted in throughout the regular season, which were by far his strongest and most complete numbers throughout his young career. The Cuban native played in 135 games, making it back-to-back years when he has played in 130 or more games.
Heading into the 2023 season, there is one player on the Astros roster that stands above the rest when it comes to potentially winning the Most Valuable Player award in the American League, and that is none other than Álvarez.
Álvarez’ numbers were comparable to the 2022 AL MVP winner — Aaron Judge. The New York Yankees outfielder slashed .311/.425/.686 and hit 62 bombs and 131 RBI last season. Of course, Judge’s power numbers and runs scored tower over those put up by Álvarez, but Judge also played in 22 more games.
Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani, who was another player right in the mix for the 2022 AL MVP, slashed .273/.356/.519 and put up 34 home runs and 95 RBI for his team last season. Coincidentally, he also played in 22 more games than Álvarez. Ohtani also started in 28 games as a pitcher for the Angels.
When looking at the numbers, it is clear that Álvarez is in the same ballpark as the two front-runners in this season’s race. He certainly has the talent.
While Álvarez will not be stepping on the mound for the Astros anytime soon, Judge showed despite Ohtani’s versatility, he doesn’t necessarily have the award locked down. The biggest question mark could be Álvarez’ availability when it comes to locking down an MVP award.
Álvarez was on pace to hit 43 home runs with 112 RBI had he played in 157 games, just like Judge and Ohtani. In any given year, with similar slashes that he posted in 2022, those numbers will insert Álvarez right in the middle of an MVP race.
As it is every season, there will be other candidates that enter the race for AL MVP, and some could also even be on the Astros roster. Other considerations for Houston begin with second baseman José Altuve.
Altuve slashed .300/.387/.533 in 2022 and hit 28 home runs with 57 RBI, arguably his best season since his MVP year in 2017. Third baseman Alex Bregman also put together his strongest year since 2019 in 2022.
Not only did he play in 155 games for the Astros, but Bregman also slashed .259/.366/.454 with 23 home runs and 93 RBI. Bregman came close to winning the MVP in 2019, but fell short to Mike Trout.
Right fielder Kyle Tucker could also see his name thrown into the hat if he builds off his 2022 season. With 30 home runs, and a team-leading 107 RBI, the Tampa, Florida, native will be motivated to either secure a long-term contract or prove his worthiness of a recently acquired deal.
Jeremy Peña, while it may be a long shot, could be a viable option, especially after the strong postseason run he had in 2022 winning both ALCS and World Series MVP. Houston’s newest face, first baseman José Abreu, won the 2020 AL MVP. While Abreu’s numbers fell in 2022 from his career averages, being inserted into Houston’s lineup could ignite a new run that brings him back to the AL award.
Top to bottom, the Astros have multiple candidates that could realistically put together an MVP-worthy season. However, Álvarez leads the pack heading into 2023. He is currently the sixth favorite to win the award, according to Caesar’s Sportsbook at +1400. Bregman and Tucker are the next Astros on the list with +3500 odds.
One thing is for sure, with a lineup of Álvarez, Altuve, Peña, Bregman, Tucker and Abreu, the Astros will be one of the most high-powered offenses in 2023 again.