We all love the story of an underdog. Guys like Lance Berkman, Grady Sizemore, Josh Hamilton, and Adrian Gonzalez have been the leaders of their respective underdog teams all season long.
You point to their stats, and ask, why aren't they considered in the MVP voting? Their seasons are just as good as someone on a playoff team.
The definition of an MVP is someone who makes the biggest positive difference on his respective team. The aforementioned players have a huge influence on their teams, so what gives? Here is the reason why I believe the MVP shouldn't be given to players on teams with poor records.
The teams themselves do not influence the rest of the league enough for the player to be the Most Valuable Player.
Think about it. Sure the league wouldn't want to face any of those players in a game, but if a team is good enough to reach the playoffs, the team suddenly won't have to worry about them for the rest of the way. Grady Sizemore isn't going to rise up from the cemetery of the 2008 season and haunt the AL playoff contenders. He's gone from the picture once October begins, because he wasn't enough to carry his team to the playoffs.
If you want to argue that a players' supporting cast on a team effects how well he does and how well his team does, think back to the offseason. The Marlins traded one of the top hitters in baseball in Miguel Cabrera, and their ace starting pitcher, Dontrelle Willis, to the Tigers for minor league players that were meant to help them in the future. Many believed that the Tigers were far and away a better team than the Marlins on paper. After the season started, both teams surprised everyone and did the opposite of what they were expected to do. The Marlins are in the midst of a playoff race, while the Tigers seem to be waving the white flag.
The difference here, is the expectations. Teams like the Padres, Indians, and Astros were considered to be strong teams this season, but fell flat on their faces. But a team like the Rangers has actually gone above expectations, led by players such as Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler.
The face of a team will receive the praise when his team succeeds, and he will take the fall when the team fails. It becomes the player's responsibility.
If a team meets or exceeds expectations, than the face of the team should get his reward, by being voted MVP