The AL MVP votes are in and Justin Verlander topped Jacoby Ellsbury for top honors this year. Curtis Granderson finished fourth in the voting, while Robinson Cano finished sixth. Overall, here is how the voting broke down:
- After much deliberation I ultimately went with Miguel Cabrera as my top choice. Miggy just simply had a more well-balanced season than everyone else, in my opinion. He played in 161 games, hit .344/.448/.568 with 111 runs, 48 doubles, 30 home runs, 105 RBI, and drew 108 walks. Not only did he hit with power in timely situations, but he also hit for average and was willing to work the count to get on base.
- Jose Bautista was the player I predicted would end up winning the AL MVP. I figured the first place votes were likely to be very divisive, but Bautista would be high enough on everyone’s ballot that an accumulation of 2nd and 3rdplace votes would put him over the top. Shows what I know. This season the slugger hit .302/.447/.608 while scoring 105 runs, hitting 24 doubles, 2 triples, 43 home runs, and knocking in 103 RBI. He also drew 132 walks.
- Jacoby Ellsbury only played 18 games in 2010, but he came back with a vengeance this season. He racked up 212 hits with a line of .321/.376/.552, 46 of which were doubles, 5 of which were triples, and 32 of which were home runs. He also scored 119 runs and stole 39 bases while driving in 105. Just how great was Ellsbury’s season? He set new career highs in runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, and RBI. At just 28-years old Ellsbury’s name could be at the top of MVP ballots for many years to come.
- Ok, maybe I’m biased because as a Yankees fan I see Curtis Granderson play every day. But his season was much more impressive than his .262 batting average would indicate. Indeed, his .364 OBP and .552 slugging percentage are much better indicators. Curtis scored 136 runs and racked up 153 hits this season including 26 doubles and 10 triples. He also drove in 119 RBI and walloped an impressive 41 home runs. And all this from a guy who doesn’t consider himself a home run hitter.
- Adrian Gonzalez is my second MVP candidate from a Red Sox team that was full of them this year. He signed a huge contract last offseason and didn’t disappoint. He hit .338/.410/.548 with 108 runs scored, 45 doubles, 27 home runs, and 117 RBI. It’s no surprise that the Red Sox offense was such a powerhouse with the trio of Ellsbury, Gonzalez, and Pedroia.
- Justin Verlander was undeniably going to be the AL Cy Young winner, and even though the baseball world was buzzing with discussion of whether he would also garner serious votes for AL MVP I had my doubts. At 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 250 strikeouts in 251 innings pitched, he certainly made a strong case for himself, but with so many excellent everyday players I didn’t see Verlander getting the MVP.
- Robinson Cano had a quietly great season while his teammate Curtis Granderson absorbed most of the MVP chatter. Cano’s slash line was .302/.349/.533 with 104 runs scored, 188 hits, an incredible 46 doubles, 7 triples, 28 home runs, and 118 RBI. On a Yankees team full of sluggers Cano is probably the most consistently productive hitter year in and year out.
- Dustin Pedroia is the third and final Red Sox on my list. While he didn’t put up the astronomical numbers of Ellsbury and Gonzalez, he nonetheless had a great season. Pedroia posted a line of .307/.387/.474 with 102 runs scored, 195 hits, 37 doubles, 21 home runs, and 91 RBI.
- Josh Hamilton is a incredible story of redemption, and it was great to see him have another strong season. Hamilton hit .298/.346/.536 with 31 doubles, 25 home runs, and 94 RBI. Unfortunately Hamilton was sidelined for about 7 weeks with a broken arm, hurting his overall season numbers.
- Challenging Verlander for the AL’s best ERA this season was Angels’ righty Jered Weaver. Weaver finished the year with a solid 18-8 record, a 2.41 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 198 strikeouts in 235.2 innings pitched.
So what do you think, fans? Are you happy with the MVP voting? Outraged? How would you have ranked ‘em this year?