Joe Mauer: AL Batting Champ and MVP?
Joe Mauer had a fantastic 2008 season, winning his second AL batting title with a batting average of .328. Mauer and his close friend Justin Morneau helped lead the Twins to a play-in game against the White Sox. Although they did not make the play-offs, they made it much farther than most pre-season predictions would have placed them.
The end of the 2007 season presented the Minnesota Twins with a vast dilemma. Two of their best players, all-star outfielder Torii Hunter and pitching ace Johan Santana, were both free agents. The twins could either resign both players, or see them pack their stuff and move to a new clubhouse, as they have with many other star players in the past. The Twins ended up falling short in Hunters offer. He packed his bags and traveled to Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day. The Santana issue was not solved as quickly. The Twins were not going to let this opportunity pass. They were either going to re-sign Santana or trade him away for something in return to help beef up the new team. Money proved difficult again as Santana’s offer fell short and he was traded to the big apple. The twins were left with Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and several young, less talented players. The Twins were heading into the 2008 season with a team that looked shockingly similar to previous year’s AAA roster.
Joe Mauer took the media’s last place predictions and ate them for breakfast, along with his Wheaties of course. His fantastic season lead the team to pull through late. Mauer’s reliable bat helped the Twins sweep the White sox, and fend off the Kansas City Royals. His pull through late was crucial, because the previous MVP candidate, Justin Morneau, couldn’t buy a hit. Mauer hit .333 during these two series with six runs batted in.
The term “most valuable player” means a player who is the most valuable to his team. This perfectly describes Joe Mauer. With out Joe Mauer, the Twins wouldn’t even have been in contention for the division title. His consistent bat not only won him a second trophy to hang on his shelf, but greatly gave the team a chance to win the title. Dustin Pedroia, one of the other leading MVP candidates, also had a good season at bat. He finished with a batting average of .326, just below Joe Mauer. If you were to take Dustin Pedroia off of the Red Sox, they still would have had David Ortiz J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek, and Kevin Youkilis to power them to the playoffs. This is why I think Joe Mauer should be the 2008 Most Valuable Player.
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