Power Ranking the Last 10 MLB Most Valuable Player Duos
Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey were both good choices for MVP this year, but were they the best MVP duo of the last 10 years?
The last decade has featured players like Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Joe Mauer win the award. Each had great seasons and (at one time or another) were considered Hall of Fame locks.
Earlier this week, I ranked the top Rookie of the Year duos over the last 10 years, declaring Mike Trout and Bryce Harper as the best ever.
Here's a look at the top MVP duos over the last 10 years.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.
10. Joey Votto/Josh Hamilton: 2010
Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton easily won MVP awards for their leagues in 2010.
Votto batted .324/.424/.600 with 37 home runs and 113 RBI for the Cincinnati Reds. He took 31 of the 32 first-place votes, easily outdistancing Albert Pujols.
Hamilton (Texas Rangers) batted .359/.411/.633 with 32 home runs and 100 RBI and garnered 22 of the 28 first-place votes.
These seasons weren't spectacular, which is why they're not ranked as high.
The batting lines looked good, but the power numbers were some of the lowest for MVP winners over the last 10 years.
9. Albert Pujols/Joe Mauer: 2009
Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols dominated MVP voting in 2009.
Mauer (Minnesota Twins) took 27 of the 28 first-place votes in the AL, while Pujols garnered all 32 first-place votes in the NL.
Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals) batted .327/.443/.658 with 47 home runs and 135 RBI. His 9.4 wins above replacement was also the best in baseball for position players.
Mauer batted .365/.444/.587 with 28 home runs and 96 RBI.
Mauer's only real strength was his batting average. Pujols had the all-around numbers, but Mauer was missing the power numbers to make this a dynamic duo.
8. Barry Bonds/Alex Rodriguez: 2003
The 2003 race for the AL MVP was one of the most wide open in history.
The winner was Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez in his final season in Arlington. Rodriguez batted .298/.396/.600 with 47 home runs and 118 RBI.
But he only received six first-place votes. Ten players garnered at least one first-place vote, with four other players (Carlos Delgado, Jorge Posada, Shannon Stewart and David Ortiz) getting at least three first-place votes.
In the end, Rodriguez won by 29 points.
For the National League, San Francisco's Barry Bonds got 28 of 32 first-place votes to easily win the NL MVP.
For the year, Bonds batted .341/.529/.749 with 45 home runs and 90 RBI.
While not his best year on record, it was still enough to win the MVP.
7. Albert Pujols/Alex Rodriguez: 2005
Pujols garnered 18 of 32 first-place votes to edge out Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones for the NL MVP.
Pujols batted .330/.430/.609 with 41 home runs and 117 RBI.
Jones' .263 average likely hurt his chances, even though he hit 51 home runs and had 128 RBI.
Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) won the AL MVP in his second season in the Bronx. He batted .321/.421/.610 with 48 home runs and 130 RBI.
He took home 16 of the 28 first-place votes to edge out Boston's David Ortiz, who had a great season of his own with 47 home runs and 148 RBI.
6. Buster Posey/Miguel Cabrera: 2012
The 2012 season was all about Miguel Cabrera's chase for the Triple Crown. Even though he became the first Triple Crown winner since 1967, there was still some skepticism as to whether he would win the MVP.
For the year, Cabrera hit .330/.393/.606 with 44 home runs and 139 RBI.
AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout was also considered, mainly because of his 10.7 wins above replacement to go along with a batting line of .326/.399/.564.
In the end, Cabrera took 22 of the 28 first-place votes to win the MVP.
On the NL side, Posey easily beat out Ryan Braun and others for the award. He hit .336/.408/.549 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI.
The cases could be made for Braun and Trout to win the award in their leagues, but Cabrera and Posey certainly earned the honor.
5. Albert Pujols/Dustin Pedroia: 2008
The 2008 season MVPs featured the reigning AL Rookie of the Year in Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia and one of the best hitters in the game in Pujols.
Pedroia got it done on all fronts as he batted .326/.376/.493 with 17 home runs, 83 RBI, 20 stolen bases and 118 runs scored. He contributed to the Red Sox in a big way in every category.
Pujols, on the other hand, continued to show off his power as he batted .357/.462/.653 with 37 home runs, 116 RBI and 100 runs scored.
Both players had great all-around numbers, which helps rank this duo higher than most would think.
4. Ryan Braun/Justin Verlander: 2011
Although Ryan Braun and Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers) didn't win the 2011 MVPs by a large margin, they were still the two best in their respective leagues.
Braun batted .332/.397/.597 with 33 home runs, 111 RBI and 33 stolen bases with the Milwaukee Brewers. He received 20 of 32 first-place votes.
Matt Kemp (Los Angeles Dodgers) was also one of the front-runners for the NL award, but couldn't garner enough votes to take home the award.
Verlander won the AL Cy Young award as well in 2011, having one of the best pitching seasons in recent memory. For the year, Verlander went 24-5 with 2.40 ERA, 0.920 WHIP and 250 strikeouts, the pitcher's version of the Triple Crown.
There's always a case for another person to win an MVP award. While some will say Verlander shouldn't have won the award (since he won the Cy Young), there's no disputing how dominant he was on the mound.
3. Jimmy Rollins/Alex Rodriguez: 2007
Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins may be the most surprising player to win an MVP award in the last decade.
He certainly deserved the award, but nobody even considered Rollins an MVP candidate before the season and even during the majority of it.
But he continued to get the job done every day.
During the 2007 season, Rollins batted .296/.344/.531 with 30 home runs, 94 RBI and 41 stolen bases. He also led the league in runs scored (139) and triples (20).
Rodriguez won the AL award batting .314/.422/.645 with a league-leading 54 home runs and 156 RBI. He also swiped 24 bases and scored 143 runs.
This is another pair of guys with great all-around numbers, with both doing it at the plate and on the base paths.
2. Ryan Howard/Justin Morneau: 2006
Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau had the best seasons of their careers in 2006, winning tightly contested MVP races that shouldn't have been that close.
Howard batted .313/.425/.659 with 58 home runs and 149 RBI. All this just one year after winning the NL Rookie of the Year.
The young first baseman beat out Pujols by garnering 20 of the 32 first-place votes.
Morneau (Minnesota Twins) was equally as dominant as he batted .321/.375/.559 with 34 home runs and 130 RBI.
In the vote, Morneau edged out Derek Jeter by garnering 15 of the 28 first-place votes.
1. Barry Bonds/Vladimir Guerrero: 2004
Barry Bonds' numbers were unmatched in 2004 for the Giants.
Batting .362/.609/.812 with 45 home runs and 101 RBI, Bonds simply dominated when he was at the plate. Considering he was also walked an MLB-record 232 times, it just goes to show how much teams didn't want to pitch to him.
Nothing against Adrian Beltre and the season he had, but how did he get six first-place votes?
Vladimir Guerrero had a good season for the Anaheim Angels as well. Guerrero batted .337/.391/.598 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI.
While Guerrero's MVP season was average to above-average for MVP seasons, Bonds' stats were truly special. Combined, the sluggers deserve their place at the top of this list.