BRONX, NY — The Houston Astros are LatinoMVP Royalty. Now, you might ask, why is that?
On the Official Ballot of the 33rd Annual LatinoMVP awards, the oldest and most prestigious award given to Latino baseball players, dating back to 1990, the Astros had a grand total of six finalists (6) — a record-amount for one respective MLB franchise.
Here are some details on each respective Astros player with their age, birthplace, and award category/history:
Yordan Álvarez, 26, of Las Tunas, Cuba – recipient of 2022 AL LatinoMVP award, and 2019 AL LatinoMVP Rookie award
José Altuve, 33, of Maracay, Venezuela – finalist of 2022 AL LatinoMVP, and recipient of 2017 AL LatinoMVP award
Framber Valdez, 29, of Palenque, Dominican Republic – finalist of 2022 AL LatinoMVP Starting Pitcher award
Cristian Javier, 26, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – finalist of 2022 AL LatinoMVP Starting Pitcher award
Jeremy Peña, 25, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – finalist of 2022 AL LatinoMVP Rookie award
Bryan Abreu, 26, of Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic – finalist of 2022 AL LatinoMVP Reliever/Closer award
Quite the array of LatinoMVP Royalty, if you ask me. Year-by-year, the sentiment within MLB clubhouses by players and coaches is that the LatinoMVP award falls in comparison to winning a ‘Latin Grammy.’
So, how do the Astros feel about it? What are their thoughts?
“I am very happy,” Cristian Javier said about appearing on the 2022 LatinoMVP award ballot. “I am proud to be on that list and that my hard work is being recognized. Proud to know that there has been some focus on me and that I am being considered to have been put on that list. I am glad to participate in this.”
“Thank you, and thanks to God for illuminating me as he has always done.”
His teammate and partner in the starting pitching rotation, Framber Valdez, who recorded a no-hitter last Tuesday night, went into depth on receiving the same honor: “It feels good. It means a lot for me and my career. It means a lot for my family and it also feels good, people are recognizing all the hard work that it took to turn into the good pitcher that I am today.”
Valdez then described the importance of the LatinoMVP: “I think it’s good, especially for the guys representing their countries, representing the Dominican Republic abroad. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that kind of award. It just says to us, ‘Even if you didn’t win the MVP or the Cy Young, it’s something you can show and people can recognize all the hard work you’ve been doing abroad away from your country.’”
Jeremy Peña, the 2022 ALCS MVP and World Series MVP, alluded to a similar thought by explaining how an award only given to Latinos is something that carries pride for big-leaguers, as well as for their families, loved ones, teammates, and supporters.
“Baseball is everything to us,” Peña said. “Baseball to us is a way out, a way to move forward, a way to take care of your family. So yeah, being recognized is good.”
As you can see, the LatinoMVP award runs deep within the Astros clubhouse…
Uniquely enough, Houston has led MLB franchises for three consecutive seasons with the most internationally-born players listed on their roster. And since the start of that run (2021), the Astros won back-to-back American League pennants, including the 2022 World Series championship.
Could 2023 mark three years in a row of the American League running through H-Town?
Perhaps so, because the Astros have a winning recipe cookin’ up — scouting, developing, and utilizing their LatinoMVP Royalty!
Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com
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