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2011 MLB MVP Award: Ranking the Top 5 Candidates in Each League

Ally WilliamsCorrespondent IAugust 26, 2011

2011 MLB MVP Award: Ranking the Top 5 Candidates in Each League

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    Candidates for the 2011 NL and AL MVP include All-Stars, players on losing teams, and pitchers.

    With such a wide pool of talent and over a month left in the regular season, it is nearly impossible to predict the MVP of each league correctly.

    However, it is never too early to start speculating. Ahead are the top five candidates for each league as well as a few that just missed the mark.

American League Honorable Mentions

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    10. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

    9. Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox

    8. Michael Young, Texas Rangers

    7. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

    6. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

AL No. 5: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

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    Justin Verlander is one of those guys who makes you think differently about the separation between the Cy Young and MVP awards.

    The right-handed pitcher owns a 2.28 ERA and AL-leading 19-5 record. His pitching stats perch him atop the Cy Young race, but his 7.4 WAR adds to his most-valuable candidacy.

    No pitcher has won the MVP honors since Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Verlander is a definite possibility to follow his lead.

AL No. 4: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox

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    It doesn’t take much to explain why Adrian Gonzalez is an AL MVP candidate. Even with his recent “slump,” Gonzalez’s .348 batting average is the highest in the majors.

    He has 102 RBI and on Tuesday, he hit two home runs in a game to bring his total up to 23 so far on the season.

AL No. 3: Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox

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    Jacoby Ellsbury is another member of the Red Sox up for the AL MVP. He currently has a .312/.369/.516 stat line with 23 home runs and 81 RBI.

    These stats are from a leadoff hitter as well, which makes the numbers all the more impressive.

    Ellsbury has been in plenty of MVP talk and could certainly be the winner by the end of the season.

AL No. 2: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

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    MVP voting does not take kindly to those on teams missing the postseason. Jose Bautista has done pretty much all he can to show his worth to his team and the league.

    He has an OPS of 1.109 which is the highest throughout the majors. He also leads the American League with 37 home runs so far.

    If any player was going to break the pattern of playoff-bound MVPs, Jose Bautista would be that guy.

AL No. 1: Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees

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    Curtis Granderson's .278 batting average does nothing to scream MVP. However when his stats are inspected a bit more closely, it's clear he deserves to be the front-runner.

    He leads the league in triples and RBI and is only one home run shy of leader Jose Bautista. He's excellent both at the plate and in center field.

    Granderson is having the type of season that puts him right in the front of MVP candidates.

National League Honorable Mentions

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    10. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

    9. Jose Reyes, New York Mets

    8. Shane Victorino, Philadelphia Phillies

    7. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

    6. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

NL No. 5: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Roy Halladay is another pitcher who could get a few MVP nods. He leads the National League with a 6.9 WAR and is currently 15-5 with 182 strikeouts and a 2.56 ERA.

    Last season, he finished sixth in MVP voting and could make another run at it.

NL No. 4: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

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    The reigning NL MVP has had another great season. Joey Votto leads the National League in OPS and owns a batting average of .328 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI.

    While the Cincinnati Reds are nowhere near the place they were last season in regards to standings, Votto has once again shown his worth to his team.

NL No. 3: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    If the Dodgers were in playoff contention, Matt Kemp would be receiving much more MVP publicity.

    He ranks among the top of the National League in batting average, OPS, and stolen bases, among others. He has the second most RBI. As history goes, though, the MVP generally comes from a playoff-bound team.

    Kemp could improve his chances with continued success in August and an explosive September.

NL No. 2: Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Justin Upton has been a major reason the Arizona Diamondbacks are at the top of the NL West right now.

    His .302 average and excellent fielding have allowed the Diamondbacks to claim the lead, even with the loss of Stephen Drew.

    If Arizona makes it to the postseason, then Upton has an even better shot of claiming the title.

NL No. 1: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Ryan Braun is an all-around great player who is having a fantastic season.

    He ranks second in both batting average and OPS, and is among the top in homers, stolen bases, and RBI.

    This is Braun's best season so far and if he continues, should have an extremely good chance of being named the National League's Most Valuable Player.

Your Turn

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    Who do you think will win the MVP in each league?

    Get the conversation started.

    Follow me on twitter @itsallyduhh or leave a comment below.

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