The 2011 MLB season has only five weeks left and the AL MVP race is coming down to the wire.
Curtis Granderson is having a career year for the New York Yankees. The 29 year-old slugger has already surpassed his career highs in RBI and home runs.
His main competition in the AL MVP race are Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and Boston Red Sox members Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia.
While Granderson's .281 batting average is lowest among the other candidates, he leads the majors in runs scored with total bases (271), runs scored (113) and RBI (97). He is also first in the AL with 64 extra base hits and has 23 stolen bases.
One can argue that Jose Bautista deserves the award, but the Toronto Blue Jays are 13 games back of the New York Yankees in the standings. Bautista leads the majors in home runs with 35, but Curtis Granderson only trails by one.
Bautista also leads the majors in total WAR (wins above replacement), on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Granderson is sixth in offensive WAR and second in slugging percentage. Bautista may lead the majors in these categories, but Curtis Granderson has had more production.
Who will win AL MVP?
One could also argue that Granderson has the slight edge defensively over Bautista.
While Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander is a strong candidate at the moment, it only takes one bad outing to be removed from the MVP conversation. Verlander would have to be flawless down the stretch.
The problem with selecting a member of the Boston Red Sox is that it's hard to even select a team MVP. Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia are all having phenomenal years, but it's difficult to choose just one.
This hurts the Boston Red Sox chances of landing an MVP in 2011.
Curtis Granderson is also getting hot at the right time. He has been solid all year but he has been on fire of late. Granderson is batting .348 in August, which is better than the rest of his MVP competition. In his last 10 games, Granderson is hitting .378 with five homers, 10 RBI and 12 runs scored.
Another thing that will help Granderson seal the AL MVP award is that the New York Yankees will win the AL East, topping the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees currently hold a half-game lead over the Red Sox with a record of 76-48.
New York Yankees fans rejoice: Curtis Granderson will be AL MVP.