Sunday, October 23, 2011
AL Most Valuable Player Picks
This marks the seventh post of our eight-part series highlighting baseball's postseason awards. Today we try our best in analyzing the top candidates for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Jose Bautista - RF Toronto Blue Jays
2011 notable stats: .302/.447/.608, 43 HR, 103 RBI, 1.056 OPS, 8.5 WAR
-"Joey Bats" paced the league in WAR, homers, walks (132), IBB (24), SLG and OPS, while finishing second in OBP and runs created (138.6).
Miguel Cabrera - 1B Detroit Tigers
2011 notable stats: .344/.448/.586, 30 HR, 105 RBI, 48 2B, 7.1 WAR
-Cabrera led the majors in average, OBP, and doubles, was second in the league in OPS and walks, and ranked fourth in wins above replacement (WAR).
Jacoby Ellsbury - CF Boston Red Sox
2011 notable stats: .321/.376/.552, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 39 SB, 7.2 WAR
-The 28-year old tied for third in the league in doubles (46), ranked fourth in stolen bases, was fifth in OPS and average, and did not commit a single error in 394 chances.
Curtis Granderson - CF New York Yankees
2011 notable stats: .262/.364/.552, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 25 SB, 5.2 WAR
-Granderson boasted a league high in runs batted in and runs scored (136), was second in homers, third in triples and sixth in OPS.
Justin Verlander - SP Detroit Tigers
2011 notable stats: 24-5, 2.40 ERA, 251 IP, 0.92 WHIP, 8.6 WAR
-Verlander led the majors in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts (250) and WHIP, was first in the league in ERA, and finished second in BABIP (.230).
Justin Verlander - As much as I hate giving this award to a pitcher, if you interpret the meaning of this honor as literally being the "most valuable player" in the league, than you must bestow it upon Verlander. Although he only truly impacted the outcome of games once every five days, you could pretty much chalk a win up for the Tigers when he did. Yes, his team finished the season with the greatest margin of victory of any division winner (15 games), and yes the AL Central was pretty weak, but no player was more vital to their team's success in 2011 than Verlander. And it's for this reason alone why he deserves to become the first pitcher since Dennis Eckersly in 1993 to win the coveted American League plaque.
Justin Verlander - I've mulled over whether or not a pitcher should win the MVP award for a couple of months now and I've decided that indeed he can. In my opinion there should be an MVP, Cy Young for best pitcher, and a third award for best hitter. That third award would not be easy to pick this year either, but I'd go with Jacoby Ellsbury. However, if MVP truly stands for Most Valuable Player, then it's hard to argue than anyone was more valuable to his team than Verlander. Let's say you were going to start a team and had to pick one player from this list and you would be guaranteed he would have the same season as he did this year: Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson, Adrian Gonzalez, or Verlander, whom all could be considered for the 2011 AL MVP, who would you pick? I would easily go with Verlander. He was the the best player at his position by a mile this year and his team had major success. That's certainly valuable to me.
Remember to check back on the blog tomorrow as we wrap-up our postseason awards series by breaking down the NL MVP Award.