Flushing, NY- Since 1989, the LatinoMVP has become one of the most prestigious awards given to Latino baseball players. Latino Sports has recognized individuals who are genuinely ingrained in the sport we all love and cherish. Determined by their yearly statistics and off-the-field contributions, the famed LatinoMVP has been thought of as a “Latino Grammy” by many across the sports industry, including former and current All-Stars. “This award is to allow Latino players to get the recognition they deserve and become the models that many young Latinos should see,” said Latino Sports founder, Julio Pabón.
Francisco Lindor was named the AL LatinoMVP for his 2016 incredible season with the Cleveland Indians, now better known as the Cleveland Guardians. The following year in 2017, Houston Astros Jose Altuve was awarded the highly coveted AL LatinoMVP.
Over the last week, in a 4-game series between the Astros and Mets, (two at Minute Maid Park and two at Citi Field), Altuve led Houston to a clean 4-game sweep. With LatinoMVP action going down in this matchup, Lindor and Altuve were must-watch on the playing diamond. Between the two, Altuve and Lindor have combined for a total of three Gold Glove awards and 11 All-Star appearances.
2B: Jose Altuve, 32-year-old from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela – 2017 AL LatinoMVP
2022 season statistics: .269 BA, 15 HR, 26 RBI, 61 Hits, .358 OBP
Altuve is performing at a pace that could earn him on the ballot for LatinoMVP this year. The work ethic in Altuve has got him to where he is today, a 7x All-Star, 5x Silver Slugger, World Series champion along with the prestigious 2017 AL LatinoMVP.
Altuve stands at the top when it comes to productive hitting. Since making his pro-debut in 2011, he leads MLB in multi-hit games (524), 3+ hit games (168) and 4+ hit games (33). Totaling less than 12 errors each season in his career, Altuve has proven that the 5’6 height is not a problem.
In 2018, Altuve partnered with Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder, David Peralta in hosting a youth baseball clinic located in Phoenix, Arizona. During the lead-up to the event and as the clinic took place, donations of baseball equipment such as gloves, helmets, bats were collected, organized, then delivered to their native country of Venezuela for kids in need during times of economic crisis. Both born and raised in Venezuela, Peralta grew up in Valencia and Altuve in Puerto Cabello, which is less than two hours driving distance from one another.
Days after the clinic, Altuve gave his thoughts on providing for his native country and people in need, “Everything I can do to help my country or help anybody, I’m really happy to do it. Believe it or not, it’s really hard to get a glove, to get a bat when your parents can’t afford it. In order for us to collect that equipment and send it there, it’s going to be a good cause.”
Altuve added, “If now I am able to help people… it feels really good when you do two things at the same time. You are helping kids to get better, and you are helping people back home. It was a really nice event.” Venezuelan ball players continue to showcase their talents across MLB, but more importantly off the playing diamond by making an impact in their communities across Latin America.
SS: Francisco Lindor, 28-year-old from Caguas, Puerto Rico – 2016 AL LatinoMVP
2022 season statistics: .241 BA, 12 HR, 56 RBI, 51 Hits, .318 OBP
In his second season in Queens, Lindor has become well-adjusted to the New York atmosphere. Along with Pete Alonso leading MLB with 69 RBI on the season, Lindor has become the focal point to the Mets success in their first 76 games played. Entering today with a 47-29 record, the Mets lead the National League East division by 3.0 games over the Atlanta Braves.
Lindor ranks among the top shortstops across MLB this season in a variety of categories. Take a look.
Tied 1st in RBI: 56 RBI
Tied 4th in HR: 12 HR
2nd in WAR: 2.6 WAR
6th in Hits: 70 H
3rd in Runs: 45 R
Tied 2nd in Walks: 29 BB
Tied 6th in OPS: .735 OPS
In the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Lindor represented Puerto Rico by playing on the National Team alongside many perennial All-Star names such as Edwin Díaz, Yadier Molina, Javier Báez and Carlos Correa. Fans were able to experience on full display that authentic emotion and energy, Latino ball players contain. In tournament play, viewers were splashed with bat-flips and celebratory trots around the bases.
Along with Puerto Rico, the star-studded lineup of the Dominican Republic National team brought out the best of baseball throughout the 2017 WBC. That being, the stadium prepared to erupt each and every pitch with players laser-focused and the crowd locked in as if it’s Game 7 of the World Series.
Lindor explained, “It’s different. We’re playing for our countries. This is how we play the game in our countries. There’s a lot of emotions… That’s how we play. We’re not trying to disrespect anybody, not trying to disrespect the game. We’re just enjoying it. We’re doing it for our country.”
Year by year, we have seen the increase in bat-flips and exciting celebratory moves by players across MLB. In a sport where the pace of play is more than 3 hours per game, this type of emotion adds to the intensity and joy level for fans. Overall, Lindors passion and energy, similar to many more Latino players across the sport, has progressed MLB into where it stands today. A global sport where fans tune in for highly competitive, intense action.
Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports and NY Sports Day
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