Ranking the Top 8 AL MVP Contenders

Phillip BrownSenior Analyst IINovember 21, 2011

Ranking the Top 8 AL MVP Contenders

0 of 9

    The 2011 AL MVP will be announced today, November 21st, and I think there are eight realistic candidates for the award.

    This would be my ballot if I had a vote. I will be explaining my criteria for why I chose certain people over others.

    Here we go, let's see who the candidates are for the AL MVP Award.

Honorable Mention

1 of 9

    Michael Young

    .338/.380/.474, .854 OPS, 11 HR, 106 RBI, 88 R, 41 2B, 6 3B, 6 SB

    Mark Teixeira:

    .248/.341/.494, .835 OPS, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 90 R, 26 2B, 1 3B, 4S B

    Evan Longoria:

    .244/.355/.495, .850 OPS, 31 HR, 99 RBI, 78 R, 26 2B, 1 3B, 3 SB

    Ian Kinsler:

    .255/.355/.477, .832 OPS, 32 HR, 77 RBI, 121 R, 34 2B, 4 3B, 30 SB

8. Dustin Pedroia

2 of 9

    2011 Stats:

    .307/.387/.474, .861 OPS, 21 HR, 91 RBI, 102 R, 37 2B, 3 3B, 26 SB

    Dustin Pedroia had an excellent 2011 campaign, but he was overshadowed by teammates Adrian Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury. I find hit hard to vote for a player for MVP if he is the third-most valuable player on his own team.

    Pedroia is an excellent player, both on offense and defense, but he would not get my vote for AL MVP.

7. Adrian Gonzalez

3 of 9

    2011 Stats:

    .338/.410/.548, .957 OPS, 27 HR, 117 RBI, 108 R, 45 2B, 3 3B, 1 SB

    Another Boston Red Sox player.

    Just like Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez had an excellent season, but he struggled down the stretch and was outplayed by Jacoby Ellsbury.

    On a team with three candidates, it is tough to vote for one of them because how valuable can they really be if they are all considered to be some of the best players in the majors?

6. Justin Verlander

4 of 9

    2011 Stats:

    251.0 IP, 24-5, 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 250 K, 57 BB

    Justin Verlander was by far the best pitcher in the AL and deserved to win the Cy Young unanimously, but it is difficult to give the award for the most valuable player in the league when he only played in 34 of 162 games.

    I understand that he dominated the 34 games he did play in and when he is on the field he is the most valuable player out there, but he is just not on the field enough to garner a top-five vote from me.

5. Robinson Cano

5 of 9

    2011 Stats:

    .302/.349/.533, .882 OPS, 28 HR, 118 RBI, 104 R, 46 2B, 7 3B, 8 SB

    Robinson Cano had a sensational season and cemented himself as the best second baseman in the game. He really helped carry the Yankees to the playoffs, especially down the stretch.

    If it were not for another certain Yankee player, Cano would be higher up on this list but, I cannot put two players from the same team at the top of my MVP ballot; it defeats the purpose of it being the MVP—Most Valuable Player—award instead of the MOP—Most Outstanding Player—award.

4. Jose Bautista

6 of 9

    2011 Stats:

    .302/.447/.608, 1.056 OPS, 43 HR, 103 RBI, 105 R, 24 2B, 2 3B, 9 SB

    Jose Bautista had another incredible season. Too bad his Blue Jays were unable to make the playoffs.

    Similarly to my feelings on pitchers, I find it difficult (but it does not rule out the possibility) to vote for a player on a team that did not make the playoffs, because if they do not make the playoffs, how valuable can that player be? The Blue Jays would have missed the playoffs with or without Bautista.

    This does not take away from Jose Bautista's individual accomplishment; he had a great season, but I find it hard to vote for him as my AL MVP.

3. Jacoby Ellsbury

7 of 9

    2011 Stats:

    .321/.376/.552, .928 OPS, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 119 R, 46 2B, 5 3B, 39 SB

    Jacoby Ellsbury is in the same boat as Jose Bautista. The Red Sox did not make the playoffs. The only reason I put Ellsbury above Bautista is because the Red Sox were fighting for the wild-card spot all the way until the last day of the regular season.

    During the Red Sox collapse, the only reason the Red Sox did not win zero games in September was Jacoby Ellsbury. While the Red Sox faltered, Ellsbury thrived.

    Ellsbury deserves to be recognized as one of the game's premier players, but he is no MVP.

2. Miguel Cabrera

8 of 9

    2011 Stats:

    .344/.448/.586, 1.033 OPS, 30 HR, 105 RBI, 111 R, 48 2B, 0 3B, 2 SB

    Both Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers had great seasons.

    It was tough not to give Cabrera the award. Cabrera is perhaps the most feared hitter in the majors and his numbers speak for themselves. But Cabrera is such a one-dimensional player. He can hit, that is for sure, but he does not run the bases or play defense very well.

    Batting is Miguel Cabrera's only job and while he does it very well, I would like to see him become a more complete player before I hand him an MVP Award.

1. Curtis Granderson

9 of 9

    2011 Stats:

    .262/.364/.552, .916 OPS, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 136 R, 26 2B, 10 3B, 25 SB

    Why does Curtis Granderson deserve the AL MVP Award?

    The point of baseball is to win games, right? How do you win games? By scoring runs. Curtis Granderson led the AL in both runs scored and RBIs. What more do you want from a player?

    Some people will point to his .262 batting average and say that disqualifies him, but his .364 on-base percentage is 17th in the AL, which is good enough to let the rest of his statistics propel him to the award.