A Quick Look at the AL MVP Possibilities

For about a month now Yankees fans have been chanting ‘MVP, MVP’ during most of Curtis Granderson‘s at bats and the few fans that haven’t gotten behind him as the MVP have turned to Robinson Cano as their favorite for the award.

It’s safe to say that if it were up to us that one of these two would win it, but since they are ranked at 6th and 13th respectively among American League hitters in terms of fWAR (CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander both at least tied with C-Grand not counted) we should at least consider some other players.

Jacoby Ellsbury lead the AL with a 9.4 fWAR and Jose Bautista was second at 8.3. Both of them have to get serious consideration. Miguel Cabrera finished second in the league with a 1.033 OPS in a year where offense is down to 1992 levels so he should get serious consideration as well. Then there is Verlander who might become the first pitcher to win the MVP in quite some time.

Three others whom I consider more fringey are Dustin Pedrioa, Ian Kinsler, and Adrian Gonzalez. Alex Gordon and Adrian Beltre are two others who could garner some votes as well. And if we consider Verlander we have to at least put CC into the discussion.

Going back to Verlander for a second, to me he has to be considered as his dominance clearly put the Tigers ahead of the White Sox and Indians in the AL Central, otherwise there might have been a serious divisional race there where there was none.

So who among them is deserving of the award? At first glace it is a tough call. I’ve thought of Granderson as an MVP for so much of this season it is hard to discount him, but Ellsbury’s numbers are unreal, especially considering the bounce back he had from last season. At the same time the two Tigers keep popping back into my head.

I’m going to leave  you with some stats and hopefully this will generate some decent discussion as I really have no idea whom I would pick right now. I’m going to have to mull it over a bit. I’d love to have my opinion swayed by a reader though.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ ▾
Jose Bautista 149 513 105 155 24 2 43 103 9 5 132 111 .302 .447 .608 1.056 181
Miguel Cabrera 161 572 111 197 48 0 30 105 2 1 108 89 .344 .448 .586 1.033 181
Adrian Gonzalez* 159 630 108 213 45 3 27 117 1 0 74 119 .338 .410 .548 .957 155
David Ortiz* 146 525 84 162 40 1 29 96 1 1 78 83 .309 .398 .554 .953 154
Jacoby Ellsbury* 158 660 119 212 46 5 32 105 39 15 52 98 .321 .376 .552 .928 146
Alex Gordon* 151 611 101 185 45 4 23 87 17 8 67 139 .303 .376 .502 .879 140
Curtis Granderson* 156 583 136 153 26 10 41 119 25 10 85 169 .262 .364 .552 .916 138
Dustin Pedroia 159 635 102 195 37 3 21 91 26 8 86 85 .307 .387 .474 .861 131
Adrian Beltre 124 487 82 144 33 0 32 105 1 1 25 53 .296 .331 .561 .892 129
Robinson Cano* 159 623 104 188 46 7 28 118 8 2 38 96 .302 .349 .533 .882 129
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/30/2011.
W L ERA GS CG SHO IP BB SO ERA+ ▾ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
Justin Verlander 24 5 2.40 34 4 2 251.0 57 250 170 0.920 6.2 0.9 2.0 9.0
CC Sabathia* 19 8 3.00 33 3 1 237.1 61 230 147 1.226 8.7 0.6 2.3 8.7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/30/2011.
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3 Responses to A Quick Look at the AL MVP Possibilities

  1. Fred says:

    It has to be one of the Tigers in my mind. Granderson and Robbie put up excellent stats, but there was a better batter that also made the playoffs: Miguel Cabrera. I mean, he's better than Grandy and Cano across the boards offensively (with the sole exception of Grandy's homers) and isn't a defensive liability.

    The only competition for who I think is the best position player in the postseason? The best pitcher on the same team. Trying to figure out who was more "valuable" for the Tigers is a tough one though. They almost certainly wouldn't be where they are not without either player. I lean towards Verlander just because his numbers seem more historically significant, with the steroid era in the rearview window.

    For the record, I don't necessarily agree that the MVP should only come from a playoff team, but that seems to be the trend for quite some time in baseball. I'm just assuming the voters won't have a huge change of heart on that issue, otherwise it becomes a lot more muddy.

    • Fuzz says:

      I don't think Cabrera is even in the mix…Verlander for sure….but I would take Bautista and even Granderson and Cano before Cabrera this year…I look at Grandersons numbers which are the meatiest and then I look at Bautista's…and the difference….Jose walked some 50 times more than Curtis…gimme half those as proper plate appearances for Jose and his numbers are monster…probably with 5o plus hrs again…but because he was on a 4th place team…he doesn't get a sniff…I would like to see Verlander or Bautista win…but the sportswriters will pick a yankee or red sox…..typical voting from a bunch of knuckleheads who just don't get it…

  2. Mike Sommer says:

    The biggest problem is this: Granderson ended at .262. The lowest B.A. for an AL MVP (not counting pitchers) is Maris' .269 in 1961. NL? Marion .263 in 1944 (a WWII season). If the Grandy Man gets it, it'll be with the lowest B.A. by any non-pitcher ever.