(Who wants it?)
The AL MVP winner will be announced later today and the Yankees have 2 horses in the race in Curtis Granderson and Robbie Cano. Towards the end of the regular season there was a lot of talk about who from the collection of top contenders would take home the award. And between nobody really stepping up and distinguishing themselves during the season's final weeks and the quick transition to focusing on the playoffs, I feel like the MVP talk has fallen by the wayside this offseason.
The list of contenders this year is a deep one: the previously mentioned C-Grand and Cano from the Bombers, Adrian "God's Plan" Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury from Fraud Sawx Nation, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera from Detroit, and Jose Bautista from Toronto. And all 7 guys have a real shot to win the award depending on how the votes go. But who will rack up enough votes to take home the hardware? And do Curtis and Robbie have a legit shot?
I'm not going to go through the numbers again because we all know them by now, but the short answer is yes, both guys should be considered real threats to win the award and Curtis could even end up stealing it. But the big knock against both guys, besides the fact that the play for the Yankees, something that has already cost Nova and CC votes in their respective award races, is their negative defensive ratings in 2011. Curtis' case has been talked about multiple times, and I still think his rating is a bit unfair thanks to the super human abilities of Brett Gardner in left, but voters likely won't consider that. And Cano didn't have nearly the year in the field that he did in 2010, something that could force voters to look past his offensive numbers that were right on par with what he put up in 2010. That, plus Curtis' low batting average, will stick out in some voters' minds and will likely be enough to cost both guys crucial points in the final tally.
The other interesting factor in play here today is the teammate factor. There are 3 separate pairs of teammates amongst the group of top MVP contenders and that could work against all 6 of them if they end up splitting votes. In the end I see that being enough to tip the scales in Jose Bautista's favor, even though I'm a firm believer that a player on a mediocre team should not be considered "most valuable." So book Bautista for the award and another post tonight from me railing on the voters for not giving Curtis and Cano their due.
AB4AR Prediction: 1st) Bautista, 2nd) Ellsbury, 3rd) Granderson, 4th) Verlander, 5th) Gonzalez or Cano.