AL MVP Rankings: Can Derek Jeter Finally Take Home the Hardware?

Steven Goldman@GoStevenGoldmanMLB Lead BloggerApril 30, 2012

AL MVP Rankings: Can Derek Jeter Finally Take Home the Hardware?

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    It's still too early to try to project who the league MVP is beyond who is standing out at this very moment.

    But let's try a little experiment: As we do these rankings each week, we'll keep a running points total—a simple 5-4-3-2-1 system—crediting a player each time he appears here. That way, we can see not only who is leading at any particular moment, but risers and fallers throughout the season.

    The results will still be subjective, but few things in this world are more subjective than MVP rankings.

5. Evan Longoria

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    The Rays are leading the East, and Evan Longoria is leading the Rays—it's that simple.

    It also doesn't get that much more exciting these days than Rays versus Rangers, the series that concluded last night. Longoria went 5-for-12 with a home run and five RBI in the three games.

4. Paul Konerko

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    At .383/.444/.679, Konerko is almost single-handedly saving a poor White Sox offense from itself and projecting the team into contention—which, in this case, means a .500 record in the AL Central.

    So few players are off to good starts in what is shaping up to be a down year for offense that Konerko's production really jumps out at you.

3. Josh Willingham

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    Willingham played only one game this weekend because he was out on paternity leave, though he did go 3-for-5.

    Willingham is spectacularly unlikely to win an MVP award in any season, especially playing for a nowhere team like the Twins, but we're taking snapshots of a moment in time right now. If you froze the season right here, this is where Willingham deserves to be given his .353/.457/.706 start.

2. Derek Jeter

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    The Yankees are only a close third right now, but the Jeter renaissance continues at .396/.440/.593. Note that though he went only 2-for-10 against the Tigers this weekend, he still picked up four walks for a .429 on-base percentage. That's helping even when you're not helping.

1. Josh Hamilton

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    Josh Hamilton had to pull himself from Sunday night's game with back stiffness. This is what Hamilton does—kill the ball and take periodic breaks due to injury. He continues to lead the American League in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage, and he is hitting .395.

    The difference between him and Jeter in terms of value, given positional differences, is barely discernible with the naked eye. So you can flip 'em if you want. I award Hamilton a slight edge based on the fact that his team is playing like the '27 Yankees.


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    So here are our standings after two weeks:

    1. Josh Hamilton 10
    2. Derek Jeter 8
    3. Evan Longoria 3
    4. Justin Verlander 3
    5. Josh Willingham 3
    6. Paul Konerko 2
    7. A.J. Pierzynski 1