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World Series: Jose Altuve named AL Hank Aaron Award winner

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve after hitting a

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve after hitting a solo home run during Game 7 of the ALCS against the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Oct. 21, 2017. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

LOS ANGELES — Wednesday night Jose Altuve collected the first of what is likely to be multiple post-regular season awards coming his way.

The Astros second baseman, the favorite to win the American League MVP, was presented with the Hank Aaron Award before Game 2 of the World Series.

“You have been wonderful,” Aaron told Altuve during a ceremony before Game 2 of the World Series. “Not many people I would pay to go see, but I tell you, I would pay to go see him.”

The Hank Aaron Award recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league and is voted on by a panel that included Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 homers for the Marlins, was named the NL winner.

Stanton has been the subject of trade rumors since the Marlins’ new ownership group, of which Derek Jeter is a part, took over last month. Stanton said he has not yet heard from Jeter, or anyone in the new group, which has stated a desire to reduce payroll.

Asked if he had a “gut” feeling if he’d be dealt this offseason, Stanton said: “I don’t know, to be honest. I’ve had thoughts on both sides, but I don’t know any specifics.”

There are no such rumors, of course, surrounding Altuve.

The 5-6 second baseman led the AL in batting average (.346), hits (204), Baseball-Reference’s calculation of WAR (8.4) and continued putting up such numbers in the playoffs.

He went 8-for-15 with three homers and a 1.765 OPS in a four-game Division Series victory over the Red Sox and went 8-for-25 with two homers and a .974 OPS in the Astros’ seven-game ALCS victory over the Yankees.

“It doesn’t make any difference whether you’re five feet tall or six feet tall,” Aaron said. “As long as you’ve got the warmth and the know-how and the drive to do it, and you have demonstrated that.”

The 27-year-old Altuve smiled throughout the presentation.

“I’m more nervous now than I was yesterday while I was playing,” Altuve said. “I don’t know why. But I feel blessed to be here. I thank God for the opportunity to be sitting here with Giancarlo, with the commissioner and Mr. Hank. What can I say? Thanks to all the Hall of Famers and fans, that made this dream come true. This is so important for me.”

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