David Ortiz: Can Big Papi Legitimately Win MVP at 36 Years Old?

Brian Roach@BrianRoachJrCorrespondent IMay 8, 2012

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after hitting a home run off of Tommy Milone #57 of the Oakland Athletics in the second inning at Fenway Park April 30, 2012  in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

David Ortiz started 2012 with the hottest April start of his career and is currently in contention for the lead in every major league batting category. But does this mean he can keep tearing the cover off the ball and contend for AL MVP at the end of the year?

Ortiz is second in the American League with a .380 batting average and is tied for sixth with seven home runs through his first 28 games played. He is also tied for fourth with 23 RBI.

The only real competition for Ortiz would have to be Josh Hamilton. Hamilton is hitting .376 with 10 homers and has driven in an AL-leading 28 runs. If Hamilton stays healthy, then Ortiz will not be able to win MVP easily. He will still get some votes, but he won't be able to win the race.

The Boston Red Sox are staying afloat thanks to the offensive prowess of Big Papi at 36 years old, and Ortiz is showing that he can crush lefties so far this season.

Through 37 at-bats, Big Papi is hitting a robust .432 against left-handers, and four out of his seven homers are off of lefties. Ortiz has never hit lefties well, and now it seems as if being in the same lineup as Adrian Gonzalez, another lefty who can handle left-handed pitching, has really helped Ortiz at an older age.

The DH's offense is nothing to sneeze at, but what hurts him the most is not being in the field on a daily basis. Hamilton is at least an outfielder who can also speak with his diving catches in the field, but all Ortiz can do is hit. He is raking through 28 games, but if he can keep it up, then can he win the AL MVP?

He definitely can, but the 36-year-old will need to put on a show for the rest of the league over the summer in order to legitimately contend with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Hamilton as the season progresses.