Jose Altuve is a big fan of Aaron Judge.
Just not this month.
Altuve and the Houston Astros take on Judge and the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series beginning on Friday night. Altuve and Judge also are the front-runners for the AL MVP award, but Altuve said before Game 1 he would vote for New York's imposing slugger if he had a ballot.
"Maybe [in] another life I want to be Aaron Judge and hit all those homers," Altuve said.
Power isn't the most prominent asset for the five-foot-six Altuve, but he had just the 10th three-homer game in playoff history in the ALDS against Boston. The second baseman led the majors with a .346 batting average this season, and his 204 hits were most in the AL. He was third in the AL with 32 stolen bases and his 112 runs scored ranked second.
The six-foot-seven Judge led the AL with 52 homers and finished second with 114 RBIs. He was first in the AL with 128 runs scored and his 79 extra-base hits ranked second.
The MVP candidates met at this year's All-Star Game and Judge came away impressed with Altuve as well.
"I talked to him a little bit and what a great guy," Judge said. "You see what he does on the baseball field, but the type of person he is you see the passion he has for the game, it's pretty fun to watch."
While Altuve is never shy about complimenting other players, it is nearly impossible to get him to talk about himself. His manager and teammates are all too happy to sing his praises.
That was the case on Friday when Houston manager A.J. Hinch was told Altuve said he would vote for Judge for MVP.
"Yet another reason why Jose Altuve is a perfect player," Hinch said. "He's humble in his own accomplishments and very complimentary of others. ... I will always back Jose Altuve [but] I think in this regard I got to tell him he's wrong; Jose Altuve's the MVP."