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Jose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton win 2017 Hank Aaron Awards

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Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve and Marlins’ right fielder Giancarlo Stanton were named the 2017 Hank Aaron Award winners on Wednesday, and despite the award’s somewhat ridiculous selection process, you’d be hard-pressed to find two players more deserving of the distinction.

The award recognizes the top hitters in each league and is determined by Hank Aaron, a panel of MLB Hall of Famers and online fan-based voting. This year, it went to two All-Stars and MVP contenders, marking Altuve’s first such award and Stanton’s second.

Rivaled only by Yankees’ rookie sensation Aaron Judge, Altuve performed on another level in 2017. He mashed .346/.410/.547 through 662 PA, leading both leagues in batting average and producing an AL-best 204 hits and 112 runs. He was also honored with his third career batting title earlier this year. “There aren’t many players I’d pay to go see play,” Hank Aaron told the Astros’ second baseman. “I’d pay to see you.”

Stanton, meanwhile, destroyed NL pitching with a league-best 59 home runs in the regular season. He finished the year batting .281/.376/.631 in 692 PA and placed first in the league with a franchise-best 132 RBI. He was initially honored with the Hank Aaron Award back in 2014 after racking up 37 homers and an NL-best 299 total bases and .555 slugging percentage.

“I am very proud of these two young men for their great accomplishments on the field, as well as how they carry themselves off the field,” Aaron said while presenting the awards. “Not only are Jose and Giancarlo two tremendous baseball talents, but they also are wonderful ambassadors of our great sport and truly epitomize everything that is dear to me about baseball.”

MLB and MLBPA announce first set of COVID-19 test results

MLB COVID-19 test results
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On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.

There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.

Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.

Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.