The AL MVP argument seems to have come down to two choices, Carlos Quentin, or Francisco Rodriguez. I implore you to add a third into the discussion, Dustin Pedroia. He may not be as popular a pick as your regular power hitter who rakes in the Home Runs and RBI's, but let us look at the numbers without the voter's tendency to favor the traditional power hitters.
Pedroia leads the league in Batting average .333, Hits 191, and Runs 110. If he holds to win each of these titles he will be the first player since 1977 to lead the AL in all three. The last player to do it was Rod Carew and he happened to win the AL MVP that year.
Pedroia is tied for second in doubles with 44. He is also tied for third in the AL in total bases behind only Aubrey Huff and Josh Hamilton. He is the third hardest to strike out in the league with one strikeout every 12.1 at bats.
His traditional power stats are also not too shabby, 17 HRs and 76 RBI, for someone who batted in the two hole for a majority of this season. He has done all of this while playing Gold Glove defense in the field.
Pedroia has filled in admirably when injuries have decimated the Red Sox. They have lost Ortiz, Youkillis, Drew, Lowell, and Lugo for extended periods of time. They traded away arguably their best hitter, Manny Ramirez.
Through all of this Pedroia has been their most consistent hitter in a lineup that has had names of Cora, Lowrie, Bailey, Moss, and Cash sprinkled throughout the past couple of weeks.
Facing all of these injuries Terry Francona put Pedroia in the cleanup spot where, in the five games since he has still batted .643 with 12 hits, 7 RBI, 7 runs, and 2 Home Runs.
After the deadline deal where the Red Sox dealt Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers many felt that the Red Sox had gotten the bad end of the deal, but since then they have went 21-9. The Dodgers on the other hand have went 14-16. Pedroia is a huge reason for this. He has morphed into the power hitter that the voters seem to love. In the last month with Drew, Lowell, Lugo and Youkillis going down, Pedroia has managed to bat .400, with 44 hits, 32 runs, a .700 slugging percentage, and 27 RBI, all of which he is in the top three in the league.
There is no question on this Sox team the reason they are still in the position they are in because of the little guy. The scrappy, play your heart out style of Dustin Pedroia has spread to the rest of the team and has them on the way into the playoffs despite all of the injuries. If that is not the definition of what an MVP does, than I do not know what is.