I do not normally make bold predictions. It is usually best to leave that up to the Nostradamus’s of the world.
Yet every now and then I get the mosquito itch to pick up the old magic eight ball and shake it. (Hey, please do not judge, for I am only human. After all, the magic eight ball is one addicting fortune-telling contraption)
Recently, I begged the question, while shaking the ball like a fresh container of orange juice: Could New York Yankees center field extraordinaire Curtis Granderson sneak up into the AL MVP race this season?
Suddenly, the bluish ink and bubbles cleared.
As I see it, yes the ball replied.
To this response, I could only shake my head.
“How?” I asked, only to realize this ball was not equipped to answer this question. “How in the world could a ballplayer currently hitting .249 possibly climb the ladder in the AL MVP race?”
Alas, I brainstormed, and developed a slideshow that highlights four ways Granderson can achieve this feat.
To prevent voters from laughing at the idea Granderson deserves the AL MVP, Granderson needs to go on a massive hit streak.
It is no surprise Texas Rangers superstar Josh Hamilton has his sights set on the AL Triple Crown. With a .341 batting average, 21 home runs, and 58 RBI Hamilton is well on his way to doing this. Even if Hamilton does not, he is still crushing the competition in the AL MVP race.
Lurking in Hamilton’s shadow is Miguel Cabrera, Paul Konerko and a resurgent Adam Dunn.
With a .249 batting average, Granderson needs to significantly raise his batting average to even have a shot at earning the AL MVP.
Nonetheless, Granderson has performed fairly well in several categories.
Batting second in the Yanks lineup, Granderson is third in the AL in home runs (17). Only Hamilton (21) and Dunn (18) have more. Granderson is also fifth in in runs scored (39), eighth in walks (30), 11th in slugging percent (.532) and 14th in OPS (.862). His 33 RBI are good for 19th in the AL.
A nice hot streak will certainly boost these rankings for Granderson. But Granderson will not be able to put a dent in things unless the rest of the Yankees lineup starts hitting.
Right now, the team is not doing this, which does not bode well for Granderson.
To give Granderson a better chance to forge a hot steak, Yanks manager Joe Girardi should shake things up a bit by moving Granderson to fifth in the lineup.
Moving Granderson to this position will take significant pressure off him. It will also give Granderson more opportunities to wreak havoc behind the team's heavy thumpers (who also need to get going).
Robinson Cano could move to the second spot, where he may prove a better one-two punch alongside shortstop Derek Jeter.
Playing great defense can help Granderson bolster his chances to sneak into the AL MVP race.
Traditionally, Granderson has been an exceptional center fielder. This year is no exception, for he has cashed in on 117 of 118 putout opportunities with zero errors committed. This is tops in the AL.
Even if Granderson is unable to put all the pieces together for AL MVP, at least he would be in line to win a Gold Glove.
I really hate it when the cynic in me rears its ugly head.
But when one looks at how Hamilton, Konerko, Cabrera and Mark Trumbo are playing, it is hard to imagine Granderson going on such an enormous tear that would warrant him worthy of the AL MVP.
But the great thing about the game of baseball is that anything can happen. Granderson is surely able to take his game to the next level to warrant a few votes for one of baseball’s highest honors.
Yet at the end of the day, I can only stare at the magic eight ball I just shook and tell myself—save bold prediction for another time.