The Worst League’s MVP
Oh, the Junior Circuit. I’m doing my best not to be biased but I don’t care for A.L. baseball, hate most of the teams and don’t generally watch. I’m qualified to pick an A.L MVP like Cordell Walker is a peaceful negotiator. However, I’m going to do it anyways because, like David Eckstein, I do my damndest even if I’m completely unqualified. Josh Hamilton won the award last year absolutely tearing the cover off the ball despite injuries and jumping on and off the wagon like a kid playing Oregon Trail. Actually I think he was sober all of last year, but that picture is just too good. I think he has a lineup around him that will give him a serious chance at repeating, however there are numerous other candidates with a real chance at winning, and I’m not sure the Rangers will get the wins they piled up last year to support his bid. Thus further discussion is necessary.
One lineup I particularly like is the Detroit Tigers. Last year Miguel Cabrera tore the cover off the ball with less protection than Catholic sex. This season, Cabrera has Victor Martinez hitting in the order behind him and should see more fastballs, which is bad news for opposing pitchers. Cabrera’s off season issues shouldn’t be an issue, half because he shouldn’t face suspension, and half because I think he may be too dumb to be affected. Sometimes stupid people are just better at sports. Carlos Pena is a prime example, he is known to over think things at the dish, trying to adjust constantly and not having great success. However, a goldfish of a human being will just react without thinking and allow their natural talents to carry them. So in summation, I think Cabrera is a great candidate because he’s not particularly bright and has great protection in the order.
Other prime candidates are Morneau and Mauer. Both are good candidates because they can rake and the Twins are always in the hunt. However, players really struggled to hit with power in that cavernous ballpark and there were concerns about the batters eye. The batter’s eye has been tweaked, but the results have yet to be proven. Further, Morneau is coming off a scary injury and might be affected at the plate. Both Morneau and Mauer are MVP caliber players, but because of their numbers MVP honors might be a stretch.
A-Rod is another candidate, as always, because of the protection he gets in the order, the men constantly on base around him, and the fact that he plays at Lamade Stadium. He may not be an MVP of choosing women like his teammate, (slightly NSFW), or at not being a douchebag, but the man can mash. He is probably on the verge of another 40 homer 100 RBI season for a top shelf ball club, so his name will ultimately be on the ballot. Other Yankees may very well be on the list for very similar reasons, such as Tex and Cano, but I truly expect A-Rod to be tops from the Bronx.
Some sleeper picks in the AL may include Kendry Morales, Evan Longoria and Paul Konerko. Morales will start the season on the 15-day disabled list, still recovering from one of the single greatest injuries in sports history, but should be back shortly, and when he is back will probably be the biggest run producer for what should be a decent ball-club in Anaheim. If he returns to the form of last year (on pace for 35 HRs and 125 RBIs at the time he broke his leg) he could be a prime contender. Longoria will be the best hitter on a team which will probably be around at the end of the year, and for that reason alone must be considered. Konerko and the White Sox, as much as I hate to say it, may be primed to score some serious runs this year. Konerko should see a lot of good pitches with the lineup he has around him, and will make the most of it. If the White Sox can stay in the hunt his name may come up in October.
However, none the aforementioned ballplayers should be in a position to win the award at the end of the year as Adrian Gonzalez will be. Gonzalez is moving out of what may be the worst hitters ballpark in the world into a place where he can stand on home plate and pee out into the right field bleachers. Further, Gonzalez will be hitting with runners on base frequently, something the Hairston family couldn’t provide him last year (Jerry hit .244 and was the better sibling). Another factor in Gonzalez’s favor is his ability to hit the ball the other way. Gonzalez should be able to reach out and poke fly balls off the Green Monster at Fenway consistently, balls which would have fallen harmlessly into gloves at PetCo a season ago. The one thing working against Mr. Gonzalez is the fact that I drafted him 1st overall in my fantasy league. If past years are any indication (I took Matt Kemp in the first round last year), Adrian could be in for a long year. However with the Red Sox being the favorite to win the AL East I’m going to pick him to persevere through my holding him back. Adrian Gonzalez will be the 2011 AL MVP.