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.”