American League MVP Candidates

With About A Month Left In The Season, Who's Leading The Pack For AL MVP?

8/31/09 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

The MLB season wraps up in about a month, so we'll be taking a few days to check out the leading candidates for each of the major awards. Today, we start with the American League MVP award. I'll be going through a list of a few candidates, and listing reasons why they should win the MVP, potentially reasons why they might not be the best candidate, or might not win.


Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees

Pros: After Teixeira signed his 8 year, $180M contract with the Yankees in the offseason, it became obvious that he was going to be a prominent figure in either the MVP conversation, or the "most overpaid" discussion. Fair or not, he was thrust into the spotlight the day he signed that deal. Fortunately for Teixeira, he has performed as well as the Yankees ever could have expected.

Teixeira leads the league in RBI's with 101 as the month of August comes to a close, and is second in the AL in HR with 32. He's also batting a very respectable .284, with an OPS of .927, good for 6th in the league.

Lest we forget, he's also giving the Yankees Gold Glove defense at first base.

Cons: His teammate Derek Jeter is also getting some attention as a prominent MVP candidate. This isn't really a knock against Teixeira at all, but it's hard to consider a player as the most valuable, when there is someone who is considered to be equally valuable on the roster.


Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees

Pros: Speaking of Jeter, he's another strong candidate. He's 5th in the league with a .335 batting average, will probably finish with 20+ HR and around 75 RBI, and has been playing much improved defense, after being known as one of the worst defensive shortstops in the league for the bulk of his career.

Jeter is also as much of a threat on the basepaths as he has ever been, with 23 stolen bases. He is also likely to rack up 200 hits, for the 7th time in his career. At age 35, the Yankees captain is playing as well as he has in years, and is contributing to the Yankees in all categories of the box score.

Cons: He's not the best player on his team. And just like Teixeira might take a hit for having fellow MVP candidate Jeter in the same lineup, Jeter might have the same problem when voters take a look at the big picture.


Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins

Pros: Mauer is everything that any team would want from their catcher. Literally. The guy's game has almost no weaknesses whatsoever. Before this year, the only thing that anyone could possibly consider a weakness was his power numbers. It really wasn't a weakness, it just wasn't a strength. And compared to the rest of Mauer's game, it just looked like a weakness, because he's just so good at everything he does.

He currently leads the league in OPS, which is generally considered the most telling statistic in terms of overall offensive production. He also plays outstanding defense behind the plate, and could win his second Gold Glove this year. And as impressive as his numbers are, he missed the entire month of April due to injury, and is still having a season for the ages.

Cons: I almost feel guilty for trying to make any kind of case against Mauer for MVP, but the fact is that the Twins right now are on pace to miss the playoffs. While there's no doubt that they would be in far worse shape without Mauer, many people subscribe to the argument that a player isn't really that valuable if his team misses the playoffs, since they could have missed the playoffs just the same without him.


Kendry Morales, 1B, Los Angeles Angels


Pros:
He is best known as "the guy replacing Mark Teixeira", but the fact is that he has done an excellent job replacing a player whom many thought of as irreplaceable. He's batting .311 (11th in the AL) with 30 HR (5th), 94 RBI (3rd) and a .948 OPS (4th). He's having a breakout year, and is a huge reason why the Angels overtook the Rangers to jump into first place in the AL West and the 2nd best record in all of baseball, despite tons of injuries (and even one death) in their pitching staff.

Cons: East Coast bias. It's unfortunate, but it's true. Since he doesn't play against the Red Sox or Yankees 18 times each, and he wasn't a big name coming into this season, he might be a bit forgotten when the voters cast their ballots. It's not fair, and he will probably end up several places lower than he should be, but that's the case.


Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

Pros: He's tearing the cover off the ball this year for a 1st place team. He's 4th in the league with a .335 batting average, 3rd in OPS, 10th in home runs and 11th in RBI. He has been a huge part of the Tigers lineup this year, and has been one of the most consistent hitters in the league.

Cabrera has been hitting .364, and is on pace to top 100 RBI's for the 6th year in a row.

Cons: His numbers are solid, and his team is doing well, but the Tigers' pitching staff has gotten a lot of attention, with guys like Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and company putting in great efforts. The simple fact that the Tigers' pitching has been so good might actually hurt his chances to win the MVP.


Honorable Mentions:
Ben Zobrist, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota Twins
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Boston Red Sox


In the end, my pick would have to be Joe Mauer. If the Twins miss the playoffs, it won't be by very many games at all. And his season has been a legendary one, arguably the best ever by a catcher. Considering the fact that he's also giving his team top-notch defense from one of the hardest positions on the field, he gets my vote.

Who would you pick for the 2009 AL MVP?
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

9/1/09   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

wrote:
Pujols is in the National League!

Yes he is, but the person above you was replying to a comment which said "Mauer, for one, is the MVP of the majors, not just the AL."  Hence the reference to Pujols, who is the runaway candidate for NL MVP and would be one of the top 2 candidates if they had a MVP award for the entire league.

9/1/09   |   MarkTheShark   |   590 respect

twins_10m wrote:
Mauer, for one, is the MVP of the majors, not just the AL. the twins would be behind the white sox  and indians at this point if not for Mauer, and a batting title and gold glove are going to happen too. think about this, if the rays had Mauer would he be condtending for MVP? yes. it is all about the stats, not how far your team goes, 

Especially  if the team was contending most of the season. Mauer Wins!

Easy there, champ.
Albert Pujols is not chopped liver.

9/1/09   |   janet011685   |   25875 respect

I'm going with Teixeira ... they're all great candidates, but mark my words.    All you Mauer supporters will rue the day!

9/1/09   |   VoodooChild1970

Kendry Morales  #19  1B
2009 STATS
BA HR RBI OBP SLG
.314 30 94 .359 .598

Joe Mauer  #7  C
 
2009 STATS
BA HR RBI OBP SLG
.368 26 80 .436 .615

Mauer has also played 16 less games then Morales.  So their power numbers are about the same, Mauer has a much higher average and OBP.  I think his numbers outweigh the fact that his team isn't the best team in the AL.

9/1/09   |   coach7   |   32 respect

Joe Mauer is the best pure hitter in the AL bar none.

9/1/09   |   twins_10m   |   34 respect

Mauer, for one, is the MVP of the majors, not just the AL. the twins would be behind the white sox  and indians at this point if not for Mauer, and a batting title and gold glove are going to happen too. think about this, if the rays had Mauer would he be condtending for MVP? yes. it is all about the stats, not how far your team goes, 

Especially  if the team was contending most of the season. Mauer Wins!

9/1/09   |   mxavier7

Derek Jeter has consistently shown that he can play at the highest level of the game, no on else in the running for MVP can be compared to him.

9/1/09   |   mjc613   |   78 respect

The FIRST PLACE Angels have used 13 different starting pitchers this year, including 5 Rookies... the rotation has an ERA of 4.91, which is 23rd in MLB. Trading for Scott Kazmir is needed, necessary and HUGE. The rotation now includes 4 All Stars, John Lackey, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana &, Scott Kazmir and an All Star that should have been in Jared Weaver.

9/1/09   |   mjc613   |   78 respect

SusanVette wrote:
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers no reason to read further... :-)

Well...... let's see just looking at the division leaders, certinally Cabrerra, Mark Teixtera, Kendery Morales from the Angels has put up incrediable numbers (with an awful swing), to name a few...

9/1/09   |   fourtime7   |   8 respect

i like the underdog morales. look at all the angels overcame and is poise for a playoff run

9/1/09   |   YankeeDudeL   |   15 respect

Yankee hate all over.  I love it.  But just so u know, I'd give it to Mauer, too.  The guy is simply fantastic.

9/1/09   |   lukey331   |   391 respect

VoodooChild1970 wrote:
If you are going to make that argument I would just put this out there.  Think of where the Twins would be without Joe Mauer.  Justin Morneau is a good player, but Joe Mauer is the only thing keeping them alive at the moment.  They are only 4 games out in the Central, so by no means are they dead in the water.  If Pujols were on a losing team I think he would still deserve to win the NL MVP, and even if the Twins miss the postseason I think Mauer should win it in the AL.

It's fine I put him in his place with my reply to his statement. Find my reply around here somewhere.

9/1/09   |   lukey331   |   391 respect

winitall18 wrote:
It's the classic argument: can a player on a bad team win the MVP? my answer is NO. and therefore since the Yankees are the BEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE then Mark Texiera is my MVP. he has been a savior on defense and the most consistent guy on offense from all the candidates. (yes since A-rod started)

Well your so called classic argument is WRONG.

Who won the MVP in the NL last year? Oh yes a little known player named Albert Pujols. What position did the Cardinals finish in the Central division? Oh yes it was 4th. A whole 11.5 games back from the cubs. And if you think this is one case I can name several other times the MVP was not on the best or even second best team. Heck I could name times when the very last place teams had MVP winners.

9/1/09   |   SusanVette   |   9508 respect

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers no reason to read further... :-)

8/31/09   |   mnstar1959   |   376 respect

Just throwing this out there, Mauer hit No. 26 tonight

8/31/09   |   VoodooChild1970

winitall18 wrote:
It's the classic argument: can a player on a bad team win the MVP? my answer is NO. and therefore since the Yankees are the BEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE then Mark Texiera is my MVP. he has been a savior on defense and the most consistent guy on offense from all the candidates. (yes since A-rod started)

If you are going to make that argument I would just put this out there.  Think of where the Twins would be without Joe Mauer.  Justin Morneau is a good player, but Joe Mauer is the only thing keeping them alive at the moment.  They are only 4 games out in the Central, so by no means are they dead in the water.  If Pujols were on a losing team I think he would still deserve to win the NL MVP, and even if the Twins miss the postseason I think Mauer should win it in the AL.

8/31/09   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

winitall18 wrote:
It's the classic argument: can a player on a bad team win the MVP? my answer is NO. and therefore since the Yankees are the BEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE then Mark Texiera is my MVP. he has been a savior on defense and the most consistent guy on offense from all the candidates. (yes since A-rod started)

For starters, the Twins aren't a bad team. Second, it CAN happen. In fact, it HAS happened. More than once.

8/31/09   |   hartley51592   |   2462 respect

Agreed with Mauer, simply incredible what he's done for a catcher.

Any love for Victor Martinez? Since he's come to Boston, the offense has been bolstered. Ortiz and Youkilis have both gotten hot around him.

8/31/09   |   winitall18

It's the classic argument: can a player on a bad team win the MVP? my answer is NO. and therefore since the Yankees are the BEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE then Mark Texiera is my MVP. he has been a savior on defense and the most consistent guy on offense from all the candidates. (yes since A-rod started)

8/31/09   |   Heyhey1970   |   194 respect

It doesn't seem that long ago that lots of people were wondering if Mauer would ever be 100% again.  He's been the best AL player all year, and the Yankees guys will cancel each other out.

8/31/09   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

phlyerphan12 wrote:
Want some proof that Mauer should be the runaway choice? As of last Thursday, his batting average was .373, his OBP was .442, and his SLG was .662. Since the 1930s, only five players have finished a season with numbers that high in all three categories: Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Larry Walker, and George Brett.

To deny Mauer the MVP would be to ignore one of the greatest statistical seasons of all time, and from one of the league's premiere defensive catchers, no less.

Teixeira's getting a lot of support from...well...absolute morons who get lost in counting stats and the wonderful, all-powerful New York Yankees, but consider the following: in 2005, Teixiera posted a .301 average, .379 OBP, 43 homers, and 144 RBIs while leading the league in total bases. Those stats were good enough for SEVENTH overall in the AL MVP voting. He's on pace to fall short of every one of those numbers, and yet because now he's on the Yankees, he's the best player in the league? Please.

Unfortunately, many of those morons will be voting for the award.

8/31/09   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

Andy_vikingsfan wrote:
I think the Twins are more than capable of winning the AL Central. They have been very hot recently thanks to their pitching staff getting things together. Even if the Twins don't make it, they won't be that far out. The Twins would be nothing without Mauer. Mauer is having a legendary season for a catcher.

People like to discredit his nomination because he missed a month, or 22 games. Let me ask all of you, why shouldn't he win if the Twins win the division? Catchers aren't every day players. They get a rest every 3-4 games. Take that into account, Mauer has missed anywhere from 15-18 games. That's a trip to the DL. So if a player goes on the DL, he shouldn't be the MVP? Sounds pretty stupid to me...

Excellent points. I think that if you look at what he has done for that team, and how ridiculous of a season he is having, it's hard to vote for anyone else.

Joe Mauer is what you would end up with, if you were trying to create a perfect catcher (offensively and defensively) for a video game. He's that good.

8/31/09   |   Andy_vikingsfan   |   2 respect

I think the Twins are more than capable of winning the AL Central. They have been very hot recently thanks to their pitching staff getting things together. Even if the Twins don't make it, they won't be that far out. The Twins would be nothing without Mauer. Mauer is having a legendary season for a catcher.

People like to discredit his nomination because he missed a month, or 22 games. Let me ask all of you, why shouldn't he win if the Twins win the division? Catchers aren't every day players. They get a rest every 3-4 games. Take that into account, Mauer has missed anywhere from 15-18 games. That's a trip to the DL. So if a player goes on the DL, he shouldn't be the MVP? Sounds pretty stupid to me...

8/31/09   |   tron8808   |   1 respect

 Pujols wins AL MVP too, I figure he will a couple times the next few years just to make up for all the ones Bonds stole from him. 

8/31/09   |   phlyerphan12

Want some proof that Mauer should be the runaway choice? As of last Thursday, his batting average was .373, his OBP was .442, and his SLG was .662. Since the 1930s, only five players have finished a season with numbers that high in all three categories: Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Larry Walker, and George Brett.

To deny Mauer the MVP would be to ignore one of the greatest statistical seasons of all time, and from one of the league's premiere defensive catchers, no less.

Teixeira's getting a lot of support from...well...absolute morons who get lost in counting stats and the wonderful, all-powerful New York Yankees, but consider the following: in 2005, Teixiera posted a .301 average, .379 OBP, 43 homers, and 144 RBIs while leading the league in total bases. Those stats were good enough for SEVENTH overall in the AL MVP voting. He's on pace to fall short of every one of those numbers, and yet because now he's on the Yankees, he's the best player in the league? Please.

8/31/09   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

I'd go with Mauer by a long shot.  Whether the Twins make the playoffs or not, you can't discredit Mauer himself for that, he's gone above and beyond any catcher ever has with his numbers this year.  If he doesn't win it'll be a travesty.

8/31/09   |   truely   |   77 respect

my vote goes to Cabrera GO TIGERS

8/31/09   |   MarkTheShark   |   590 respect

First, GREAT piece, Pat. /////////////////////////I think I would go Mauer. He came off the DL jumpin! That just doesn't happen in any sport..... I would change to Teixeira if he noticably outperforms Mauer in September.

8/31/09   |   mnstar1959   |   376 respect

I agree with the CPT.; right now, today, it has to be Mauer. He is giving the Twins a chance but Morneau is known for coming on in Sept. and could still get RBI and HR (hr not likely) title doesn't that pump up his chances and hurt Mauer's?  Joe needs to hit .385 if the Twins don't catch Det. .380 if they do as the NY duo will still be in the running playing in NY.

8/31/09   |   Captain_Chaos   |   287 respect

I agree with Mauer - he has been really good all year. Kendry as well has played nice. I don't see Jeter getting it, but I see a close finish between Teixeira and Mauer.

8/31/09   |   keppieboy   |   158 respect

100%InjuryRate wrote:
Should be Mauer, no question. I don't want to see Jeter get some kind of lame-ass "lifetime achievement" award when he isn't even the best player on his own team.

 The Twins need to win if he is going to win it.

8/31/09   |   VoodooChild1970

100%InjuryRate wrote:
Should be Mauer, no question. I don't want to see Jeter get some kind of lame-ass "lifetime achievement" award when he isn't even the best player on his own team.

Yeah I agree completely.  Joe Mauer has been outplaying everyone in the AL season.  He has an astronomical average and is hitting for power too.  Not only that, he is playing gold glove caliber defense at the same time in one of the most taxing positions on the field.  I look at the AL mvp the same way I view the NL, there is only one player in each league (Pujols, Mauer) that deserves the award.

8/31/09   |   keppieboy   |   158 respect

 Kendry has some really good numbers I could see him winning.

8/31/09   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

Should be Mauer, no question. I don't want to see Jeter get some kind of lame-ass "lifetime achievement" award when he isn't even the best player on his own team.