The official announcement of today’s winner will be at 2 p.m. Until then, here are my thoughts and predictions. Feel free to chime in with your own.
American League MVP
The favorite: Joe Mauer, Twins
The contender: Derek Jeter, Yankees
The dark horse: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
The (other) Yankee with a chance: Mark Teixeira
Morning analysis: Here are the key tale-of-the-tape stats for Jeter vs. Mauer (and, just for fun, Tex):
Jeter: 153 G, .334 BA, .406 OBP, .465 SLG, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 107 R, 30 SB, .871 OPS
Mauer: 138 G, .365 BA, .444 OBP, .587 SLG, 28 HR, 96 RBI, 94 R, 4 SB, 1.031 OPS
Teixeira: 156 G, .292 BA, .383 OBP, .565 SLG, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 103 R, 2 SB, .948 OPS
Truth is, whatever your definition of MVP, it’s hard to argue with Mauer. I’m one of those who believes MVPs aren’t just the best player – to me, part of their “value” comes in showing that they matter by playing consistently well in games that matter. For a while, it looked like Mauer wasn’t going to fit that part of the bill but what he did late in the season to carry the Twins to the playoffs was just insane.
Jeter has been close to the MVP before; in 1998, Jeter had a .864 OPS and finished third behind Juan Gonzalez, who won with a .997 OPS (Nomar Garciaparra finished second). In 2006, Jeter had a .900 OPS and lost to Justin Morneau who had a .934 OPS (both of which, by the way, were lower than third-place David Ortiz’s 1.049).
To me, Jeter had a stronger case in 2006. Mauer was just too good this year. Even if you do the always-debatable “what happens if you take this guy off his current team?” question, Mauer is clearly more “valuable” in such a hypothetical.
The pick: I’ve got to go with Mauer. Guess Jeter will have to “settle” for the World Series ring and Minka Kelly’s undying love. He had an amazing season and will probably be hurt in voting by the fact that Teixeira happens to be his teammate. Again, I think that’s something Jeter is just fine with.
The record: 5-for-6 (hit on Coghlan, Greinke, Scioscia, Tracy and Lincecum; missed on Bailey)