August 4, 2009

Morneau and Jeter top MVP candidates; Déjà vu?

Rebecca from This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes guest posted Derek Jeter for MVP on River Avenue Blues this morning, and it got me thinking. It’s a little early to be starting MVP talk, but it’s also a pretty slow news day. If the season ended today, here is my top five for the American League.

1. Justin Morneau
He leads the AL in homers (28) and RBI (86), while sporting a .308/.391/.588 hitting line. As Rebecca said, this is a season where nobody in the AL is having a “Pujols-like” season. However, when one player leads in two of the three major hitting categories, he has to be the favorite. Especially with his lockdown defense at first base and very respectable hitting percentages.

2. Derek Jeter
Just like 2006, Jeter will finish in a close second to Morneau, as sad as that sounds to me. He is posting excellent numbers as a leadoff hitter (11 HR, 44 RBI & 19 SB), and is doing it for the best team in the American League (by record). His defense has also been surprisingly good. Key word there is surprising. I feel like a surprise player should do better in an MVP vote because it’s sort of a denotation for valuable. If you expect mediocre, and you get excellent, doesn’t that make a player more valuable? I’d love to see the voters just give in to Jeter’s long-time success as a Yankee, but it’s unlikely.

3. Joe Mauer
Mauer’s percentages are flat-out ridiculous. He leads in both OBP (.426) and SLG (.592), and is a close second to Ichiro with a .355 BA. However, all of his percentages have declined significantly by month, so I would doubt he ranks as high as he does now at the end of the season. He still has 18 homers and 59 RBI, making him a quality MVP candidate no matter what.

4. Mark Teixeira
Yes, another Yankee is deserving of the MVP this season. He’s very comparable to Morneau, but his numbers are just slightly lower. Twenty-six homers, 77 RBI and .283/.380/.548 for percentages. If Tex has a strong finish to the season and finishes ahead of Morneau, he might just win the MVP!

5. Bobby Abreu
The Angels are hot, and so is Abreu. He has less homers than Jeter (8) but his RBI total is still very high (73). His percentages are also quite good (.322/.417/.455). Add on 22 steals, and he’s a top candidate for the award.

What’s your order?

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