I know what you're all thinking...'How can anyone make an argument against Joe Mauer not being the AL MVP?' And no, I'm not one of those people that thinks the MVP has to be from a team that goes to the playoffs either.
My answer as to why is simple: Run Production.
Mauer is currently on pace to have 97 RBI and 96 runs scored by the end of the season. Can you name the last non-pitcher to win AL MVP without having triple-digits in either of those categories? I doubt it.
Well, the answer is Elston Howard for the New York Yankees in 1963! Yes he is close in those categories, but it's unlikely he'll get to triple digits in either of those categories (especially without having Morneau to protect him for the rest of the year).
You can name all these sabermetrics, and average numbers including OPS and SLG, but scoring and run production is what makes a team win. You can argue that he missed a full month of the season, well my argument is that him missing time also makes him less valuable.
You can argue that he is in a inferior lineup to other MVP candidates. I say, he's had both Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer (who is having a career year) hitting behind him. I'm not saying Mauer doesn't deserve consideration or votes, I'm just saying my vote would not be for him.
My vote goes to the league leader in run production (runs + RBI) Mark Teixeira. Teixeira got off to a slow start, but has consistently been the best hitter in the best lineup in baseball since May. Not only does he lead the league in RBI and is 8th in runs scored, but his defense is superb.
Does anyone wonder why the Yankees team defense has improved so drastically from a year ago? As great as their coaching staff is the #1 reason is Teixeira. Not only has he only committed 3 errors all year, but he's saved his infielders dozens more.
There's no wonder that every big market team wanted his services when he was a free agent in the off season. The guy is a stud and he's proving it in one of the biggest and most critical sports markets in the world.
Mauer for MVP? I wouldn't be surprised. But I also wouldn't think it would be the correct choice.
Top 5 AL MVP Candidates:
1) Mark Teixeira
2) Joe Mauer
3) Kevin Youkilis
4) Derek Jeter
5) Miguel Cabrera