Major League Baseball's MVP Race This Year Is Of Epic Proportions

The 2017 MVP could be MLB's tallest ever or its shortest ever.
Posted at 3:01 PM, Nov 10, 2017

One of MLB's most valuable players this season might be a size we haven't seen for at least 65 years.

The American League's MVP race seems to be down to two players: the Houston Astros' José Altuve and the New York Yankees' Aaron Judge. Altuve and Judge also happen to be the shortest and tallest hitters in the game, respectively.

At 5 feet 6 inches, Altuve is actually the shortest active player in the majors. And at 6 feet 7 inches, Judge is the tallest active position player.

Should Altuve win MVP, he'll tie with baseball players Phil Rizzuto and Bobby Shantz as the shortest player to win an MVP in any of the four major U.S. sports leagues — and they both won it more than 60 years ago.

Should Judge win, he'll become the tallest player in MLB history to take home the award. There have been five 6-foot-5-inch MVPs, but Judge's 6 feet 7 inches easily eclipses that mark.

Both candidates have made a worthy case for MVP. Altuve led the majors in batting average over the regular season and eventually helped lead the Astros to their first ever World Series Championship. Judge broke the rookie record for home runs in a season with 52, pacing the American League in that category, and helped the Yankees reach the postseason, only to be knocked out of the playoffs by Altuve and the Astros.

A lot has been made of Altuve's compact size — even outside of baseball.

"This is not something I usually say at all — I mean never — but good things do come in small packages," said Leslie Jones on "Saturday Night Live."

But his size plays well for his position. Altuve mans second base, which is the league's shortest position on average. In 2014, the average height for a major league second baseman was just over 5 feet 11 inches.

Judge, on the other hand, is tall even for his position in right field. In the same study, the average right fielder stood just over 6 feet 1 inch — a half-foot shorter than Judge. In baseball, it's extremely rare for a position player to be as tall as 6 feet 7 inches; other than Judge, there have only been 10 of them in baseball history.

The average major leaguer stands at 6 feet 1 inch, and over the past 15 years, the average American League MVP has stood even taller, over 6 feet 2 inches.

In the National League, the Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton also has a chance at MVP history this year. He leads the majors in home runs, and at 6 feet 6 inches, he's another contender for tallest MVP ever.

Both MVPs will be announced Nov. 16.