The baseball season is fast coming to a close and at this point there is still no clear cut MVP. Unlike previous seasons, no one is far and ahead above other players and there is no powerhouse team that is dominating the competition. The Red Sox and Yankees are battling for first place, as usual, with each team boasting at least one worthy MVP candidate. There are also a couple other nominees for the award this year scattered among those other teams in the league. As always, the winner will have to meet the standard criteria of dominance in at least (and preferably more) statistical category and should be a member of a winning team (this has not always been the case through out history, but barring a truly ridiculous season like the Texas A-Rod had in his MVP year, the MVP should be on a winning team). Who's on the short list this season?
- Curtis Granderson- The Yankee Centerfielder is making up for his disappointing first season in pinstripes with a ridiculous offensive year, on pace to possibly be the first player in forever to have 100 RBI, 40 Home Runs, 30 Stolen Bases and 10 triples. He's an absolute monster offensively and seems like a really nice guy (not that it matters).
- Adrian Gonzalez- Another recent addition to the Yankee-Sox rivalry, Gonzo has been hitting lights out this season. A shoe-in for the AL batting title (hitting a healthy .342), as well as the most consistent player on the Boston juggernaut who has barely lost this season aside from their early struggles and a couple hiccups here and there.
- Justin Verlander- I hesitate to award pitchers the MVP since they already have their own award, but Verlander's been so dominant that I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he took home the hardware this season. Virtually keeping the Tigers in the playoff hunt by himself (with some help from PTU hero Miguel Cabrera), Verlander is a no-hit threat almost every start, and he throws complete games like he's Doc Gooden in '86.
- Jose Bautista- This guy has really no chance of winning the MVP due to the fact that the Blue Jays kinda suck, and he cheats one of two ways (or both), but he's neck and neck with Granderson for the HR crown so you have to at least mention him. He burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere last season, crushing every pitch that came his way. The immediate thought (as always is these days) was that he was a juicer, but Toronto has also been known to cheat in subtler ways. The fact that his home to road homer ratio is so disparate only adds to the suspicion.
- Jacoby Ellsbury- No thanks.
- Dustin Pedroia- The scrappy little guy won it in 08, and he's putting up comparable numbers this season. While none of his numbers are very flashy, he's one of the leaders of the aforementioned never lose Sox so expect a lot of votes based on his "character" and such nonsense. That dominant photo above does make me like him a little bit more, but not much.
So, that's the list of nominees. Who's going to bring it home? I'm, of course, biased towards any Yankee so I'll say Granderson's historical season coupled with the fact that he's the most consistent player on a team battling for first place makes Curtis the feel-good MVP. Unfortunately, PTU doesn't qualify as a press credential so none of us have a vote (sorry M@D , you can't vote for Dante Bichette or Eddie Murray either) and I think the deck stacked with Red Sox players will result in the slow footed first baseman from Beantown being your 2011 American League MVP. The superior batting average and the likely first place finish for Boston is just too much to overcome. I'll settle for a World Series ring on Granderson's finger.