On top at the end:
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins C:
Mauer has long been knocked by those who follow Twins baseball for not having enough power.
He knocked their meatballs off the blue baggie in the Metrodome's right field, hitting 27 career home runs to this point...more than double his previous career high of 13. He passed his career high of 85 RBI from the No. 3 spot in the lineup.
Given his flirtation with .400 earlier in the year, he's ONLY batting .349 in September.
Big-game players step up when their team needs them, and that's in September. Additionally, the Twins lost 2007 MVP Justin Morneau to a back injury last week; Mauer responded and has hit .770 (10-13) since Morneau was shelved.
I hear the argument that MVPs need to come from teams that make the playoffs. The Twins are still deeply in contention and a big reason comes from Mauer putting the plucky small-market team on his shoulders.
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees SS:
The Yankee Captain broke one of the all-time Yankee franchise records, and he will undoubtedly get votes for passing Lou Gehrig’s mark. Add to that Jeter having one of his best seasons yet statistically at age 35 and batting leadoff for a Yankee team that was an offensive powerhouse once Alex Rodriguez returned from injury.
That said...Rodriguez's return also sparked...
Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees 1B
The signing of Marky Baseball looked to be a bust after a painfully slow start when he was seen hovering around the Mendoza line.
A-Rod returned and Teixeira embarked on his trademark productive season, bolstered by teammates all around him who also knocked the ball out of the sandbox known as Yankee Stadium at a record pace. He continued to show Gold Glove quality defense at first.
However, the inclusion of Jeter on the MVP ballot leads to split votes...which serves to sink both men in pinstripes.
Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angels 1B:
I can't remember a player on a top contender that has hit .307/30/98 with a .914 OPS and managed to fly completely under the radar like Morales has.
He deserves a lot more consideration than he's getting. The Angels have dealt with injuries to SP John Lackey, CF Torii Hunter, SP Ervin Santana, LF Vladimir Guerrero, a death of a pitcher, the ups and downs of guys like Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders in the rotation and through it all, he has remained the one constant.
Unfortunately, on a team where the entire lineup batted .300 or better at one point, singling out one player as Most Valuable is a difficult task.
Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox LF:
If the award was given out at the end of May, Bay runs away with it.
He had baseball crazy Boston saying "Manny who?" Batting .290 with 15 home runs, Bay led Boston to a double-digit lead in the AL East. When the fall came, it came hard, and Bay batted .230 in June with 4 home runs, and a dismal .192 in July with a lone home run.
While he has gained momentum in September hitting .327, those months in the dead of summer had Boston sports fans questioning his ability to fill the large shoes of past Red Sox clean-up hitters.
On Deck: National League MVP