Midseason Award Watch: MVP
We'll start with the clearer AL picture.
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (.365/.458/.674, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 5.5 WAR) Well then. After riding the Triple Crown to the MVP last year, Cabrera has a good shot of doing it again. He leads in average and RBIs, and is second to homers to a certain person we’ll get to in a minute. He also leads the league in OBP and is second to SLG to the same certain person, so he could get the so-called Sabermetric Triple Crown as well. At this point, there’s not nearly as much controversy as last year. Cabrera is the heavy favorite at this point to win the award again.
Chris Davis, Orioles (.315/.392/.717, 37 HR, 93 RBI, 4.5 WAR) Chris Davis has always packed a lot of power, but this year, whether was it due to a change in approach or hitting the magical age of 27 or something else, he has put it all together and become Crush Davis. His 37 homers ties an AL record at the All-Star break, and his slugging would be the 26th highest of all-time. It’s been an incredible run, and anyone who knows what Davis will do in the second half is lying.
Manny Machado, Orioles (.310/.337/.470, 7 HR, 45 RBI, 39 doubles, 5.0 WAR) The most impressive thing about Machado is his defense. He is a shortstop who played exactly two games at third base in the minors before coming up to the bigs and playing third exclusively. Despite that, he makes just about every play and occasionally a fantastic one. The doubles are getting the most attention, but it’s with the glove where he’s made the most impact in Baltimore the last two years. The offense so far has been a bonus (and a bit BABIP-added to this point).
Mike Trout, Angels (.322/.399/.565, 15 HR, 59 RBI, 21 SB, 4.6 WAR) Yes, he’s still really good. Trout hasn’t gotten as much attention due to the Angels’ struggles, but he’s backed up his rookie year and then some. The defensive metrics aren’t as kind to him this year for some reason, but those metrics can be volatile, and observation says Trout’s still great with the glove.
David Ortiz, Red Sox (.317/.402/.606, 19 HR, 65 RBI, 2.7 WAR) His rate stats are among his career highs for the 37 year old, and enough to put him 3rd in OPS. Boston’s resurgence can only help his candidacy His two negatives at this point are his late start, which puts him behind in games played, and being a DH, which provides him no defensive value. As such, he has to be undoubtedly the best hitter in the league, and with Cabrera around, that’s not the case.
Robinson Cano, Yankees (.302/.386/.531, 21 HR, 65 RBI, 4.8 WAR) Narratives are always important in an MVP race, and Cano carrying the Yankees offense is going to take hold at some point. Obviously, it helps that it’s essentially true. Cano and Brett Gardner are the only above average bats in that lineup. Despite that, the Yankees are still very much in the mix.
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (.316/.396/.436, 6 HR, 56 RBI, 13 SB, 4.5 WAR) Pedroia is healthy and back to his old self again. He is third in the league in hits and fifth in OBP and WAR. If the Red Sox keep winning, someone will kept MVP consideration, and if it’s not Ortiz, it’ll be the other long time Red Sock.
Others to Consider: Josh Donaldson is hitting .301/.379/.522 to lead the no-name Athletics. Jason Kipnis has been on a tear lately for a hot Indians team. Joe Mauer again has an OBP over .400 and again no one seems to notice. The above three are 7th-9th in AL WAR. Evan Longoria rounds out the top 10. No pitchers appear to be brilliant enough in the AL to get consideration.
If I Had to Vote Now: 1. Cabrera, 2. Machado, 3. Davis, 4. Trout, 5. Cano
I may be a homer, but I’m not stupid.
How I Think It Will End Up: 1. Cabrera, 2. Cano, 3. Davis, 4. Trout, 5. Pedroia
Cabrera almost feels like a lock already. The rest I tried to guess how the narratives would go.
Turn the page for the NL contenders.