MLB: The Biggest Snubs in MVP Voting History
With the MLB playoffs in full-swing, baseball's award season is just around the corner. Though there are a few thrilling weeks of baseball to be played, it never hurts to look ahead at possible contenders for the major awards that will be handed out at the conclusion of the playoffs.
Of course, with any vote will come disagreement, and along with it, the perception of potentially deserving candidates being snubbed by the electorate.
We witness this every year in baseball, midway through the season when the All-Star selections are announced, and then again once the playoffs conclude and the awards are handed out.
There are always accusations of bias toward particular markets, disagreement over the election process and debates over the credibility of whomever was responsible for specific votes.
The fans get lambasted for blatant bias toward their hometown players, as do the coaches and managers that round out the All-Star selection process. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America get especially raked over the coals each year, as fans, bloggers and various talking heads take them to task over their selections for the postseason awards.
Most of the time, though there will be discontent, the winners are usually accompanied by some degree of reasonable justification. Without a clearly defined meaning of what some of the awards are meant to represent, there will always be those who feel the writers have gotten it all wrong.
This is especially true in the race for the "most valuable" player award. Everyone has their own idea of what the award means, so the selection process remains highly subjective, and thus, open to interpretation. Is it the player that produces the most impressive statistical season? Must the honoree play for a postseason-bound club?
What about pitchers? They have won their fair share of MVP awards, but is it reasonable to anoint a player "most valuable" if he only contributes once every five games?
With that in mind, let's take a look at a few of the most egregious snubs in Major League Baseball's MVP Award voting history.
1925 AL MVP: Roger Peckinpaugh
This one I don't get at all, considering that several players, even his own teammates, had far superior seasons to Roger Peckinpaugh in 1925.
The Washington Senators shortstop played only 126 games, batted .294 with four home runs and 64 RBI. His .367 OBP ranked him seventh on his own team! Peckinpaugh's OPS of .746 was sixth on the Senators, as was his OPS+ of 90. His name cannot be found on any leaderboard for any category in 1925.
He wasn't even elite defensively, as his fielding percentage ranked him fourth among AL shortstops. His 0.2 defensive WAR was above average, but didn't even earn him a top 10 spot in the league.
According to almost any statistical analysis, there were several more valuable players on his own team, and numerous others throughout the league.
The Greatest Snub in 1925: Goose Goslin
Now, there are several players that had fantastic seasons in 1925, a few of whom could have been legitimate contenders for the AL MVP award that season. Bob Meusel led the league in home runs and RBI, but the Yankees were a miserable 69-85 that year, so he didn't receive any consideration. Detroit's Harry Heilman had a tremendous season, leading the league with a .393 average, posting a .457 OBP and leading the AL in WAR with 6.7. Al Simmons of Philadelphia led in total bases with 393, hit .387 and drove in 129 runs.
As was the general rule in that bygone era, though, even more than today, MVP winners came from pennant-winning clubs.
Inexplicably, though, despite playing on the same AL Pennant-winning club as Peckinpaugh, Hall of Fame left-fielder Goose Goslin was completely ignored when it came to the MVP vote. He didn't even finish in the top 29.
Goslin led his team in runs scored with 116, 34 doubles, 20 triples, 18 home runs, RBI, triples, slugging, OPS, OPS+ and also had 24 outfield assists.
The powerful 24-year-old outfielder was third in the AL in runs created, fourth in runs scored and RBI, fifth in home runs, first in triples, first in outfield assists and even second in stolen bases.
He was top 10 in slugging, OPS, OPS+ and finished third in extra base-hits with 72, but wasn't anywhere to be found when considering the most valuable player in the league.
Baseball Reference's WAR calculation places him second with 6.6, trailing only Heilman's 6.7 for the league lead. In defensive WAR, he was the highest rated defender in the league at 1.3.
The fact that he was among the top producing players in the league both offensively, as well as defensively, all while playing on the AL's best club, it's fairly difficult to understand how he wasn't able to crack the top 29 in the MVP voting for the year.
Two Senator teammates, MVP Peckinpaugh and infielder Ossie Bluege, both of whom had far inferior seasons to Goslin, received consideration, so it wasn't simply a team or market-related bias.
Whatever the reasoning, Goose Goslin will stand as one of the greater snubs in MLB MVP voting history.
1928 AL MVP Award: Mickey Cochrane
1928 AL MVP Mickey Cochrane can thank an absurd rule that existed in the American League at the time, preventing prior MVP winners from receiving repeat honors. Thankfully, the rule was changed in 1930 so that deserving players wouldn't be passed over simply because they were repeatedly great.
Cochrane, a Hall of Fame catcher with the Philadelphia Athletics and later in his career, the Tigers, went on to have many great seasons, but 1928 barely even cracks his personal top seven or eight.
In 131 games, he hit .293 with 10 home runs and 57 RBI. He posted a .395 OBP with a .464 slugging percentage and an adjusted OPS+ of 122.
The only categories in which he finished in the top-10 were walks with 76 and runs scored with 92, and he was 10th in each. His 2.7 wins above replacement were only a small fraction of the elite players in the AL that year, and that mark was only his ninth best WAR of his career.
While Mickey Cochrane would have several great seasons and earn induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, his 1928 AL MVP was primarily due to the ineligibility of other far more productive players.
Unfortunately, the Rule Robbbed These Guys
Since the reasoning behind this "snub" is a quirk of the existing rule at the time, this can't be blamed on the voters, and may not qualify in some minds, but I decided to include it in order to draw attention to the absurdity of this particular case.
Babe Ruth had won the 1923 AL MVP, and Lou Gehrig had the honor bestowed upon him in 1927, thus making each of them ineligible in 1928.
Ruth, for his part, turned in yet another legendary season in which he hit .323 while leading the league in home runs with 54, as well as RBI with 142. His unbelievable 163 runs scored also led the league, as did his 137 walks, .709 slugging percentage, 1.172 OPS and 206 OPS+. He accumulated 380 total bases, had a .463 OBP and led the league with 11.0 WAR in 1928.
Nearly just as valuable as Ruth, at least according to his 10.1 WAR, Gehrig followed up his massive 1927 MVP campaign with another incredible year.
Hitting .374, he led the league in OBP with a .467 mark, tied Ruth for the RBI lead with 142 and led the AL with 47 doubles. He hit 27 home runs, scored 139 runs, and posted a 1.115 OPS. His OPS+ was a robust 193, second only to Ruth.
In fact, Gehrig was generally second to Ruth in most categories in 1928 and was top-three in every significant offensive statistical evaluation. The only mark in which he missed the top-three was in bases on balls, in which he placed fourth with 95.
1934 AL MVP: Mickey Cochrane
Apparently MVP voters in the 20's and 30's had a Mickey Cochrane fetish. In another of his least impressive seasons of his career, he was awarded with his second MVP award despite other players having far more valuable seasons.
Though Cochrane had a solid year in 1934, he personally produced several better ones throughout his career.
In '34, he hit .320 with two home runs and 76 RBI. He posted a great OBP of .428 which tied him for fourth in the league, and he finished 10th with 78 walks, but did not place in the top 10 in any particular offensive category.
According to baseball reference, he was good for 4.3 WAR that year, 4.2 of which were offensive. That placed him 12th among all players receiving MVP votes.
While Mickey Cochrane was undoubtedly a great player, there is a high probability that his two career MVP awards could have gone to someone else more worthy.
Who Should Have Won: Lou Gehrig
Though the 1934 Yankees finished second to Cochrane's Detroit Tigers team, there was little that Lou Gehrig could have done that season to prove himself "more valuable."
In a Triple Crown-winning season in which he dominated the American League in nearly every category, Gehrig was punished in the award voting simply because his aging Yankees team wasn't as deep as Detroit in 1934.
Gehrig led the league in nearly everything, hitting .363 with 49 home runs and 165 RBI to claim the Triple Crown. He also led the AL with a massive .465 OBP, a .706 slugging and a 1.172 OPS, as well as a 206 OPS+.
He created 189 runs, 30 more than second place Jimmie Foxx. His 321 times on base also led the league, as did his 409 total bases. He finished third with 128 runs scored and led all players with 10.7 WAR.
Since he was the centerpiece of a Yankee offense that included Babe Ruth and Earl Combes at the tail end of their careers, while Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra were still a few years away, Gehrig's contributions went unrewarded as he toiled on a second place team.
If circumstances had been slightly different, there is little doubt that Lou Gehrig would have also owned the 1934 AL MVP to go along with his awards from 1927 and 1936.
Or This Guy: Charlie Gehringer
Mickey Cochrane's teammate, fellow Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer, very well could have been named AL MVP for his fantastic 1934 season for the same pennant-winning Tigers.
Gehringer hit .356 while leading the AL in hits with 214 as well as 134 runs scored. He hit only 11 home runs, but collected 127 RBI. His average and .450 OBP were second to only Gehrig, as were his 316 times on base.
He also finished second to Gehrig with 9.5 overall WAR and was a top-rated defender for his glove-work at second, as he finished with 1.0 defensive WAR.
If not for Gehrig's amazing season, Gehringer's 1934 season would stand out significantly. However, it wasn't Gehrig that he finished below in the MVP race, but his teammate Cochrane.
1942 AL MVP: Joe Gordon
Yankee second baseman Joe "Flash" Gordon produced a fantastic season in 1942, helping to lead New York to yet another AL pennant before they ultimately lost to the Cardinals in the World Series.
Gordon's season was great by every measure, as he hit .322 with 18 home runs, 88 runs, 103 RBI and a .900 OPS.
His glove work was stellar as well, as he was the second highest rated defender in the AL with 1.7 WAR, trailing only double play partner Phil Rizzuto.
He trailed only Ted Williams in overall WAR, with 8.4 to Williams' 11.0. There was a good reason for that, though, as Williams led the league in literally almost every category, while Gordon only led the league strikeouts and double plays grounded into.
Though Gordon's Yankees went on to claim the AL pennant, nine games ahead of Williams' Red Sox, it is nearly impossible for me to consider him more valuable than the man who did everything in 1942.
Who Should Have Won: Ted Williams
While Joe Gordon certainly had a fantastic year for the AL Pennant winning Yankees, I simply can't condone Ted Williams getting passed over in consecutive years because his team wasn't as good as that era's Bronx Bombers.
First, Williams lost out in 1941, the year in which he hit .406, and became the last man in baseball history to hit .400. Though a few have made valiant efforts, we are still waiting for someone to match the feat of the Splendid Splinter.
Williams had to be recognized with an MVP award once he followed up his magical .406 season with an amazing Triple Crown season, in which he basically led the league in every offensive category...right?
Unfortunately, despite Williams' Herculean efforts, the Yankees once again ran away with the AL pennant, beating the Red Sox by a healthy nine game margin, and rendering Teddy Ballgame's contributions meaningless.
In the 1942 season, Williams led the league in almost everything: runs with 142, home runs with 36, 137 RBI, a .356 average, a .499 OBP and a .648 slugging percentage. His 1.147 OPS led the league, as did his 216 OPS+, his 145 walks and his 338 total bases.
Joe Gordon had a great season with the bat and with his glove, but Williams led the league with 168 runs created to Gordon's 108. Williams was on base 335 times, 60 more than second place Charlie Keller of the Yankees.
Ted was no slouch with the glove, either, as he was top 10 in defensive WAR at 0.7. Overall, Baseball Reference rates his league-leading WAR at 11 to Gordon's 8.4.
Despite the well-established pattern of choosing the MVP from playoff bound clubs, it's difficult to envision what Ted Williams could have done to be more valuable to his team than what he accomplished in 1942.
1944 NL MVP: Marty Marion
By every account, St. Louis Cardinal shortstop Marty Marion had a very solid year for a middle infielder in 1944.
As he had throughout his career, he produced a fine defensive display at short, posting an estimated 2.2 WAR season with his defense alone, which was the second-highest mark in the league.
He was a dependable shortstop and an important component of a World Series-winning ball-club.
However, when you consider his limited offensive production as well, can he really be counted among the league's "most valuable"?
Marion hit .267 with a mediocre .324 OBP, and a .362 slugging percentage for a .686 OPS. His adjusted OPS+ was only 90, meaning that he was a below average hitter in the league in 1944. He hit six home runs, drove in 63, scored 50 and only stole one base.
Now his offensive production wasn't unusual for a shortstop of his era, but was his solid glove-work enough for him to be the NL's Most Valuable Player?
According to Baseball Reference's WAR rankings, he was only the fifth most valuable Cardinal in 1944, with 4.0 wins above replacement attributed to him.
Who Should Have Won: Stan Musial
In 1944, a 23-year-old Stan Musial had yet to grow into "The Man," an eventual Hall of Famer that would club 475 home runs and drive in 1951 runs in his career.
However, the lanky young outfielder still had a fantastic season, helping to lead his Cardinals team to the 1944 World Series title, their second in three seasons..
Musial hit .347, second in the league, drove in 94, sixth in the NL and finished second with 112 runs scored.
His 136 runs created led the league, as well as his .440 on-base percentage. He also led in slugging at .549, OPS with .990, OPS+ at 174 and hits with 197. Musial led in times on base with 292, extra-basehits with 77 and was second in total bases. Though he hit only 12 home runs, he led the league with 51 doubles.
Overall, he led all NL players with 9.1 WAR, 2.6 ahead of the second place finisher.
If you're wondering about defense, his range factor per game was the best among right fielders, and his fielding percentage was second and his defensive WAR of 1.6 was fourth among all NL defenders.
The season Musial produced in 1944 for a World Series winning club was incredibly well-rounded and should have been rewarded with the NL MVP award.
1947 AL MVP: Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio produced another fine season in 1947 en route to his third AL MVP award. He led New York to another AL pennant and their first World Series title since 1943, practically eons for the Yankees of that era.
1947 was a very solid year for the 32-year-old DiMaggio, but it didn't necessarily compare favorably with his production in his pre-WWII seasons.
He hit .315 with 20 home runs and 97 RBI, which ranked him sixth, sixth and third in each respective category. He was second in total bases with 279, but was trounced by Ted Williams' 335. DiMaggio's .391 OBP ranked him eighth, and his slugging percentage of .522 ranked him second, again to Williams.
His OPS was great at .913, but again, he fell far short of WIlliams' 1.133 mark. In adjusted OPS, he also ranked second with 154 to Williams' massive 205 OPS+.
In terms of runs created, he was also second with 109, again dwarfed by Williams' 166. Times on base? DiMaggio ranked ninth with 235, miles behind WIlliams' league-leading 345 times on base.
Though DiMaggio was a wonderful player and often played the hero during his 13 seasons with the Yankees, his heroics in 1947 were far less impressive than those of Ted Williams, who unfortunately performed his amazing feats for a third-place Boston club.
Seriously? Ted Williams Was Passed Up Again?
Somehow, Ted Williams won two MVP awards in his illustrious career, but amazingly not in the year he hit .406, or in either of the seasons that he won the Triple Crown.
Then, as is the case now, voters were infatuated with guys who played for pennant-winning teams, and while that argument definitely has its merits, occasionally, there are players who perform so well that it is nearly impossible to imagine what more they could have done.
Take a look at the leaderboards for the 1947 season and try to find a significant category in which Williams didn't lead the American League. If he didn't lead the league, then he placed second, or maybe third, but those would be secondary categories such as doubles or total hits.
He hit .343, 15 points ahead of the field, slugged 32 home runs and produced 114 RBI as the only player with more than 98. Those three categories earned him his second Triple Crown.
However, Williams' greatness in 1947 goes far deeper than those basic Triple Crown stats.
Though he was third with 181 hits, he walked a league-leading 162 times and was on base 345 times, or 66 times more than anyone else. His immense OBP of .499 dwarfed the second-place mark of .414, as did his .634 slugging percentage, which was miles ahead of DiMaggio's second-place .522.
Combined, those two figures gave him a 1.133 OPS, trailed by DiMaggio's .913. His adjusted OPS was 205, far ahead of Joe D's 154.
As far as WAR is concerned, Teddy Ballgame's 10.3 were far ahead of DiMaggio's fifth-place 5.6 WAR.
Despite finishing in third place in 1947, it's difficult to discern how much more Teddy could have done to prove his value.
1962 NL MVP: Maury Wills
Maury Wills captured the imagination of the baseball world in 1962 when he streaked to a then 20th century record of 104 stolen bases. No one had breached the centennial mark since the turn of the century, and the last man to approach 100 steals in a season was Ty Cobb, with a league-leading 96 in 1915.
By contrast, the American League leader, Luis Aparicio, swiped 31 bags that same season. Wills himself had led the NL in the two seasons prior, with totals of 35 in 1961 and 50 in 1960.
In what was the first-ever season played in Dodger Stadium, the fleet-footed LA shortstop produced an undoubtedly thrilling campaign, as he finished second in hits in the NL and stole more bases individually than the total for any one team in Major League Baseball that season.
Overall, Wills hit .299 with six home runs and 48 RBI while posting a mediocre .347 on-base percentage. Being a singles hitting leadoff man, Wills' .373 slugging and .720 OPS appear less impressive than his NL counterparts, but his 104 stolen bases helped make up for a lack of power, considering his singles often became doubles or triples after he swiped bags at an 89 percent success rate.
He did place second with 208 hits, and his 130 runs scored tied him with Willie Mays for second in the league, although Wills was just able to edge out Mays in the MVP race. His 209 point tally in the voting narrowly defeated Mays' 202 points.
Mays however, had a more successful season from a team perspective, as his Giants edged out Wills' Dodgers in a three-game playoff to determine the NL champion.
According to Baseball Reference's WAR calculation, Mays easily won that battle, with a 10.6 to 6.1 margin of victory.
Though Wills had a very good season and played a significant role in his team's success in 1962, it seems rather apparent that the voters' judgment was clouded by the novelty of his 104 stolen bases. The impressive feat, then-unprecedented in the 20th century, was certainly worthy of praise, but shouldn't have been enough to bypass other, more valuable players for recognition following the 1962 season.
Who Should Have Won: Willie Mays
Wills' amazing year on the basepaths edged out a man in San Francisco who put together an incredible 1962 season, leading his team to the NL pennant in the process
Willie Mays hit .304 with a league-leading 49 home runs, and his 141 RBI were second in the NL. He tied Wills for second with 130 runs scored, but led the NL with 382 total bases. He finished second to Frank Robinson with 146 runs created, and finished third to only Robinson and Hank Aaron in slugging, OPS and OPS+.
Baseball Reference rates him as the most valuable offensive player with 8.6 WAR, as well as on defense, where he led all NL players with 2.0 WAR.
He displayed his MVP credentials down the stretch in September, as his Giants, second to the Dodgers since July 8, caught and tied LA on the final day of the season. During the season's final month, Mays hit .337 with nine home runs and 28 RBI, posted a .437 OBP and a 1.110 OPS.
In the three-game playoff forced by the Giants' late-season run, Mays hit .455 with two home runs, four RBI and four runs scored.
Mays thrived in clutch situations all year for the Giants. With runners in scoring position, he hit .361 with a robust 1.178 OPS. In 66 plate appearances with RISP and two outs, Mays hit an incredible .441 with a 1.280 OPS. In "late and close" situations, he hit .405 with a 1.261 OPS. During "high leverage" spots, he hit .438 with a massive 1.365 OPS and 55 RBI.
1987 NL MVP: Andre Dawson
Yes, I know Andre Dawson led the National League with 49 home runs and 137 RBI for his last place Cubs team in 1987. However, that's basically all he did that season.
Those figures are rendered less impressive when you consider St. Louis' Jack Clark hit 35 home runs and drove in 106, all while being walked 104 more times than the free-swinging Dawson.
Despite driving himself in 49 times, he scored only 90 runs due to his lowly .328 on-base percentage, aided by only 32 walks.
If you place your stock in WAR, his mark of 2.7 ranked behind 17 other players that received MVP votes in 1987.
His 111 runs created ranked him seventh, well behind Tony Gwynn and Dale Murphy, who tied for the NL lead with 143.
Although he led the league in home runs and total bases, he was only intentionally walked seven times, which ranked him behind 34 other players, helping to illustrate the lack of crucial situations he faced in 1987. Opposing teams pitched to him constantly, greatly aiding his empty home run and RBI totals.
Even Dale Murphy, who toiled on a far worse Atlanta Braves team, led the league with 29 intentional walks, instilling great fear despite playing on a 69-92 cellar dweller. Tony Gwynn, playing for the worst team in the league in '87 and owner of only seven home runs that year, was walked 26 times, placing second in the league. Teams knew you could get Dawson to swing away and get himself out. He might hit a home run, but that was a gamble they were willing to take.
Who Could Have Won in 1987? Any Number of Guys
Jack Clark of the Cardinals hit 35 home runs and drove in 106 runs despite being walked a league-leading 136 times. He led the NL with a .459 OBP, a .597 slugging and a 1.055 OPS. His OPS+ of 176 also led the league.
His teammate Ozzie Smith displayed his usually defensive wizardry at shortstop while hitting .303 with a .392 OBP, driving in 75 runs without a single home run, en route to a 7.1 WAR season.
Tony Gwynn, despite finishing dead last in the NL with a terrible Padres team, lead the league with a .370 average, finished second in OBP to Clark at .447 and led the league with 303 times on base. He finished fourth with 119 runs scored and led the league with 143 runs created. Gwynn also finished second in the league with 56 stolen bases. His 8.1 WAR lead all National Leaguers.
Tim Raines had a stellar year as well, though not enough people noticed since he was hiding in Montreal. He hit .330 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI and finished third with a .429 OBP while stealing 50 bases and leading the league with 123 runs scored. Raines was second to Gwynn and Murphy with 129 runs created.
Eric Davis put together an 8.0 WAR campaign in Cincinnati with 37 home runs, 100 RBI, 120 runs scored, 50 stolen bases, a second-place .593 slugging and a third-place .991 OPS.
Dale Murphy's 7.5 WAR season included 44 home runs, 105 RBI, 115 runs scored and a second-place .997 OPS. His 157 OPS+ ranked fourth in the NL, and his 143 runs created tied Gwynn for the lead.
1996 AL MVP: Juan Gonzalez
Juan Gonzalez had a very impressive season in 1996, hitting .314 while finishing fifth with 47 home runs and second with 144 RBI.
His team finished first in the AL West, and he was the centerpiece of their fearsome offense.
He was obviously valuable to his team as the most powerful bat in their lineup, but offered nothing on defense and was far less valuable than many other players in the AL.
In fact, according to Baseball Reference's WAR rankings, there were five other Rangers more valuable than him in 1996. His 2.8 WAR ranked him dead last among all players to receive MVP votes that year.
Despite his impressive home run and RBI totals, he doesn't crack the top 10 in runs created, runs scored, adjusted batting runs or times on base.
His 1.011 OPS ranked him ninth, and his .643 slugging placed second; however, his ranks in most other categories do not indicate justification for his being named MVP in 1996.
A-Rod or Griffey
Alex Rodriguez had a phenomenal season in his first full year as a Major League player.
The 20-year-old Seattle shortstop won the batting title with a .358 average and led the AL with 141 runs scored, 54 doubles and 379 total bases. His 157 runs created were second to Mo Vaughn's 158.
He slugged 36 home runs, drove in 123, posted a .414 OBP and a fifth-place 1.045 OPS. Additionally, he played very solid defense at one of the most critical positions on the field.
His teammate, Ken Griffey, Jr., could have a legitimate claim to the MVP as well.
Griffey led all AL players with 9.7 overall WAR and was the highest ranked defensive player with 3.2. His powerful bat and defensive prowess provided a perfect complement to A-rod, and they made Seattle extremely talented up the middle.
"The Kid" slugged 49 home runs, third in the AL, drove in 140 ,which placed him fifth and his 125 runs scored ranked him fourth.
This dynamic duo could have easily walked away with co-MVP honors due to their dynamic, well-rounded play in all aspects of the game.
Who Will Be 2011's Greatest Snub?
Inevitably, this season will see someone else potentially deserving of recognition passed over in favor of another.
Milwaukee fans expect their own Ryan Braun to walk away with the hardware this year, but Prince Fielder also has a say in the matter.
Fans in the desert of Arizona watched as young Justin Upton carried his team on his back and into the playoffs as champions of the National League West.
The eternal debate over the true nature of the MVP award will once again rage, as Matt Kemp, centerfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was in the hunt for a potential Triple Crown until the last days of the regular season. He fell short of his quest, but his indisputably great season will likely be denied recognition because he toiled on a third place Dodgers' club beset by injuries and financial woes.
Of course, there will always be disappointed supporters of any candidate, but most of the perceived "snubs" aren't as egregious as they are purported to be. As badly as supporters of any of these candidates want their player to emerge victorious, truthfully, it won't be an massive upset if any of these worthy stars is crowned MVP. They all had fantastic years and contributed heavily to their team's success.
American League fans will have a debate on their hands as well. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano of the Yankees finished one and two in RBI, while Granderson led the league in runs scored and was second in home runs.
Miguel Cabrera won the batting title while tying Jose Bautista with 149 runs created to lead the league. His teammate, Justin Verlander, dominated the AL while winning 24 games, leading the league in ERA at 2.40, as well as strikeouts with 250. Verlander's 8.5 WAR tied Bautista for the league lead.
Despite their disappointing finish, Boston has three legitimate MVP candidates, with Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia all having fantastic seasons.
Bautista shouldn't be counted out completely, as he led the league in home runs, runs created and OPS.
There is a crowded field this season, loaded with deserving candidates, but as we have seen almost every year that the MVP has existed, there will be disagreement, and there will be several perceived snubs.
But that's all part of the fun, right?