Morneau won the Most Valuable Player award in 2006... and he's still underrated. Morneau won the home run derby in 2008... and he's still underrated.
In 2006, when Morneau won the MVP award, the focus was on how Derek Jeter was snubbed out of the award, not on how great of a player Morneau was.
In 2008, when Morneau won the home run derby, the focus was on how great of a performance Josh Hamilton had, not on the power of Justin Morneau.
Now, we still can see that Justin Morneau is one of the most underrated players in the game. He's constantly being overlooked by writers and bloggers for the First Basemen on the East Coast. To be honest, Morneau is better than Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira. The numbers don't lie:
|Player||BAvg||HR ||RBI ||OPS
Keep in mind, Justin Morneau doesn't have the players around him that Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis do. Minnesota has about one-third the budget of the Yankees and about one-half the budget of the Red Sox. The point? He produces more with less. Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, David Ortiz, Jason Bay, and Jason Varitek provide a lot more protection than Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and Joe Crede.
Offensively, Morneau gets the nod. What about defense? Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis play great defense at first. But what about Morneau? He also plays great defense. His glove is by far underrated. He has committed just as few errors (one) as Youkilis and Teixeira at first base and has also made excellent defensive plays.
Not only is Morneau overlooked because of the East Coast first basemen, he's also underrated because of the other Twin on team, Joe Mauer. Yes, Joe Mauer is great. But this offense is still centered around Justin Morneau. Without Morneau, this offense would be nowhere. No player in the American League has created more runs than Justin Morneau.
So people, please recognize who the premier first baseman in the American League is. It's not Kevin Youkilis, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Pena, or Miguel Cabrera. It's Justin Morneau, and it's time that he starts getting respect.