Recently, Doug Glanville of ESPN broke down his favorites for the American League MVP and to no surprise the list was riddled with the AL East.
Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista were labeled "contenders" by Glanville, while Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Mark Teixeira were labeled "pretenders." Missing from the list of contenders and pretenders was Texas Rangers do-everything man Michael Young.
There has been much talk lately among Texas Rangers writers and bloggers about whether Michael Young should be considered for the MVP, but very little national attention. The lack of attention makes little sense when you examine the stats.
Young has a .337 batting average which is behind only Gonzalez in all of baseball. His 172 hits rank him second, again behind Gonzalez, and his 36 doubles rank fifth. His 86 RBI rank ninth in the majors despite power not being part of his game.
In fact, Young is the only player in the top 20 in RBI without at least 21 home runs. He has 10.
If you're pre-requisite for the MVP award is a top 10 finish in home runs, then Young is obviously not your guy. Sure he could muscle up and hit 20-to-25 round trippers, but that would take away from his approach at the plate that has resulted in the seven-time all-star's highest career batting average.
If it's all about the home run, then where is Mike Napoli in the race? He is hitting a home run every 13.1 plate appearances, a rate ahead of guys like Granderson and Gonzalez, while still putting up a high average and playing a position not known for offense.
Should defense play a huge factor, Young once again is not your guy as he spends the bulk of his time at designated hitter or strugglilng at third.
If you're a sabermetrics guy, Young's wins-above-replacement of 3.5 is not impressive. It's good and it shows that he is a valuable player, but not MVP caliber.
However, if we are going on WAR numbers then shouldn't Ben Zobrist be getting more love in the MVP race? He has the fourth highest WAR at 6.4 yet he has not even been mentioned.
This just proves that either sabermetrics are flawed or our view of who we consider the top players is.
You have to fill out the stat sheet, and since Young doesn't hit 450 foot home runs every other night on the east coast he will will not win.
I don't think he should be the MVP either, but with the season he is having he at least deserves to be in the conversation.