We’re down to a little over a month of baseball. It’s like realizing you only have a bite or two of ice cream left in your bowl and you’re not going to have anything left to enjoy soon. Luckily my Yankees have a half game lead in the A L East and are all, but a lock to at least win the wild card. The arguably more talented Red Sox were favored to win the AL East, but haven’t taken control to this point. That leads me to my AL MVP picks.
- Curtis Granderson: After Austin Jackson’s great rookie season, many detractors were calling the Austin Jackson/Curtis Granderson deal a mistake. A strong second half in 2010 and a career year in 2011 have blown the detractors away. Under the tutelage of Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long, Granderson simplified his swing and has finally reached his full potential. Granderson has the most runs in baseball by 22 runs, is tied with Ryan Howard for the most RBI, and is second in baseball in homeruns (as of 8/18/11). With A-Rod’s injury, his contribution has been even more critical to the AL East leading Yankees. New York has played very well without A-rod. He should come back in the next few days and give New York a boost at 3B and DH, but it’s hard to deny that Granderson has been the Yankees best hitter (Honorable Mention: Robinson Cano) and they wouldn’t be in the position they are in without this monster career year from good ole’ Grandy, my pick for AL MVP.
- Jose Bautista: Suddenly the best power hitter in baseball, Jose Bautista is the only thing keeping the Jays on the right side of relevance. A .453 OBP with 98 walks to only just 78 strike outs makes him arguably the most effective run producer in all of baseball. If they Jays were in a post season race I’d tip the scales toward Jose Bautista for AL MVP, but with Granderson’s contributions to a playoff team, Bautista is just barely edged.
- Justin Verlander: With an ERA under 2.50, a WHIP under 1.00, and over 200 Ks with still more games to play there’s no denying Verlander’s sheer dominance. He’s been the best player on a division leading team all year. Clearly the most valuable player on his team (not to slight a quality year by Miguel Cabrera), he deserves some MVP votes despite playing only once every five days.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, and Dustin Pedroia have also been in the discussion, but the mere fact that all three of them are in the same discussion hurts all their chances. All in all I think it’s a toss up between Granderson and Bautista, and both are deserving.
Who do you think is the most deserving AL MVP at this point?