World Series 2011: Power Ranking the Top-25 Possible MVPs
As the regular season has concluded, thus begins the postseason.
Looking past the dramatics that ended the season, we look forward to the dramatics that will end the season as a whole—the World Series.
In this slideshow, I look at each team's roster and power-rank each player whom I think could win the World Series MVP.
The World Series itself is a crapshoot, and the MVP award even more so. The past two winners were Edgar Renteria and Hideki Matsui—that should say enough.
Take note: this is not saying that Player A is better than Player B. I compiled this ranking thinking that Player A is more clutch or streaky in such a way that he could go on a tear in the Series to take home the award.
I also did not take into account whether I think a player's team would make the World Series or not.
25. Derek Holland, SP, Texas Rangers
Holland entered the year needing to break out or risk being labeled as a disappointment.
He did just that.
Holland will probably be the No. 2 starter in Texas's rotation, but I think he has the most upside of any pitcher in their rotation.
If the Rangers reach the World Series, Holland could take it over in his two starts.
24. Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals
Molina is one of the most consistently productive catchers in baseball.
His offensive production doesn't amount to much, though, so the chances of him going nuts at the end of October seem unlikely.
23. Aaron Hill, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Hill had a disappointing year with Toronto in 2011, but once he came over to Arizona he showed signs of life.
While he only hit two home runs, he still slashed .315/.386/.492.
Most of the D-Backs are very young, and as a veteran on the team Hill could lead them in a big way if they make the World Series.
22. Desmond Jennings, LF, Tampa Bay Rays
Jennings finally got a starting gig in Tampa Bay this year, and he never looked back.
He flashed a lot more power than was expected, and he still possesses elite speed.
That combination—plus the lack of knowledge pitchers have on him—could amount to something special in October.
21. Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks is one of the best offensive second baseman in baseball.
He has plus power and speed, and he could turn those tools into a big series if he gets the chance.
20. Zack Greinke, SP Milwaukee Brewers
The former AL MVP, Greinke didn't adjust so smoothly to the NL as many expected.
He's still a top pitcher, but he's not exactly a true ace anymore.
Greinke has the upside to shut down a team in a series, but that doesn't mean he will.
19. Alex Avila, C, Detroit Tigers
Avila had a surprising season in Detroit.
In only his second full year, Avila hit nearly .300 with 19 home runs and 82 RBI.
His breakout year could continue in the World Series if given the opportunity.
18. Matt Holliday, LF, St. Louis Cardinals
Holliday is one of the best hitters in the game despite seemingly playing in Albert Pujols's shadow,
His speed is not what it used to be, but he still has plus power and one of the best eyes in the game.
Holliday could get hot at any time and lead the Cardinals to a title.
17. Chase Utley, 2B, Philadephia Phillies
Utley has had some injury issues lately, but when he's in the lineup he still finds a way to produce.
2011 was easily not his best year, but Utley could manage to turn in a great October performance like in years past.
16. Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Carpenter's gem on the last day of the season led his team into the playoffs.
He could easily pitch like that in October to lead his team even further than just a playoff birth.
15. Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers
Fielder remains one of the most dangerous sluggers in the game.
The power is not going anywhere, and neither is his keen eye for walks.
Fielder could slug multiple homers in a series of any length, and that would probably get him a fancy new car as the MVP.
14. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers
Year in and year out, Cabrera continues to be one of the best first baseman in the game.
He led the AL in both batting average and on-base percentage in 2011, but his power numbers slipped slightly.
This obviously isn't too much of a concern to Detroit fans, as he could go on a power binge at any point in the playoffs.
13. Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee Brewers
Braun came close to being the NL batting champion this year.
Maybe the World Series MVP would be a nice compensation prize, seeing as Jose Reyes won't even get a chance at it.
12. Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees
It's scary how consistently productive Teixeira is. He doesn't have a weakness batting from either side of the plate, and it'll be hard for pitchers to get the best of him.
Teixeira could easily play puppet master with any team's pitching staff whenever he feels like it.
11. Nick Swisher, RF, New York Yankees
Swisher is a somewhat streaky hitter with big power potential.
If one of those streaks shows up at the right time in October, he could get his second World Series ring in New York.
10. Justin Upton, RF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Upton was the MVP of the Diamondbacks this past year—the next step is to be the MVP of the World Series.
No one expected the D-Backs to take the NL West, but Upton changed that. With no one picking Arizona to win it all, maybe he could make history repeat itself in an even grander fashion.
9. Michael Young, DH, Texas Rangers
Despite being the hot guy on the trade market before the season began, Young quietly had a big year in Texas.
Young only belted 11 home runs, but he still drove in 106 runs while batting at a .338 clip. Production like that in the World Series could get Young more than just a ring.
8. Josh Hamilton, LF, Texas Rangers
Hamilton had everything. Then he lost it. Then he got it back.
Now it could be time to get more, like the World Series MVP perhaps?
With his consistent approach and power production, that dream could be a reality in a month.
7. Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Pujols is still the best player in the game.
If his team makes it, he'll probably produce, a lot.
6. Chris Young, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Young is not typically on the list of top center fielders in the game.
He strikes out a lot, and his batting average is usually tough to swallow.
Still, I like his chances of winning the World Series MVP if given the chance.
Young is a streaky hitter if ever there was one. When he makes contact, big things happen.
If he gets hot, he could put on a show at the World Series.
5. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
One of the best third baseman of the game, Longoria is productive year in and year out.
He's also clutch, as evidenced by his 12th-inning home run that got Tampa into the playoffs.
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see that happen again on the biggest stage in baseball.
4. James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
They don't call him "Big Game James" for nothing, and fresh off a career year, he can only feel more confident on the mound in the playoffs.
3. Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees
Sure he's lost a step, he doesn't have much power and his speed is faltering, but Jeter is still one of the most clutch players ever.
If there was ever a guy I wanted on deck in the bottom of the ninth, it's him.
Jeter always steps up when the Yankees need him; he could easily do that in the World Series.
2. Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers
Verlander is now the scariest player in baseball.
If his 6'5" frame doesn't intimidate you, maybe his 100 mile-per-hour fastball will. Just ask the 250 batters he struck out this year.
The entire league doesn't want to face him in the middle of May, let alone the end of October. He can dominate any lineup at any time.
This time around it could very well happen in the most important series of his life.
1. Name a Pitcher, Any Pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies
Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee. Any one of them could take over the fall classic in 2011.
Hamels has won it before; Halladay and Lee are still top-flight pitchers.
The odds are pretty high that if Philadelphia makes the World Series, one of these guys—if not all three—will have something to do with it.
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