AL MVP Award: Handicapping the Race and Picking a Favorite

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AL MVP Award: Handicapping the Race and Picking a Favorite
Brad White/Getty Images
Jose Bautista's offensive stats are among the best in baseball. But can he win the AL MVP on a non-playoff team?

What does it mean to be the Most Valuable Player?

Every year the debate occurs. Does MVP mean the recipient was the best player in the league?

Or does it mean the player was the most valuable to his team?

Should the MVP voting take into consideration where a team would be without this player’s contributions?

Can a player whose team doesn’t make the playoffs win the award?

Or can or should a pitcher win the award?

Again, in 2011, those questions will arise during debates about who should be the American League Most Valuable Player. 

In the discussion for the award are players on non-playoff teams, the best team in the league and (yes) a pitcher.

It will be an interesting race and there will be plenty of heated discussions on the issue until the day the award winner is announced. But here are the Top Four candidates to win the award:

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