Reporting Dan Roche
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BOSTON (CBS) – Yes, there are some impressive candidates for AL MVP this season.
Start with Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. In 28 starts, he is a mighty 19-5 with a 2.28 ERA. In 209.2 innings, he’s allowed just 139 hits and 45 walks while striking out 202 hitters. He has carried the Tigers. The question, as always with pitchers, is does he merit consideration because he only appears in one of every five games? And, I’ve always said yes because he affects more than that. He affects the games before and after, as far as bullpen use goes, strategy and more.
You can add Jered Weaver of the Angels to the race too. He’s 15-6 with a minuscule 2.02 ERA (and on a side note…google Weaver’s numbers in college for fun. Ridiculous!).
Then there is Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. The third baseman has carried his team with a .302 average, 37 home runs, and 82 RBI. The Jays are three games over .500 with Bautista being the key reason.
There’s also Curtis Granderson of the Yankees. The “Grandy Man” has been on a hitting mission from day one and is having one of those once-in-a-career seasons. He’s hitting .277 with 115 runs, 20 doubles, 10 triples, 35 home runs, and 98 RBI. Pretty impressive numbers, in addition to playing great defense in the outfield.
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All great candidates worthy of a trophy. And, now the problem that will throw the proverbial wrench into the situation… your Boston Red Sox have three legitimate MVP candidates.
And that my friends could cause a three-way split amongst the three, meaning none would win.
I believe that when all is said and done that Dustin Pedroia should be the winner. He’s hitting .307 with 80 runs, 29 doubles, 16 home runs, 69 RBI, and 24 stolen bases. “Dusty 2 Sacks” has hit anywhere needed in the line-up, including clean-up. His defense has won games too, such as the long, long Sunday night game in Tampa.
Adrian Gonzalez has been everything and more that Theo Epstein could have hoped for when he acquired him from San Diego last December. AGon, despite a post-HR derby power slump, is hitting .347 with 87 runs, 38 doubles, 21 homers, and 99 RBI. And, he plays Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base.
And finally, there’s Jacoby Ellsbury. He should win the AL Comeback Player award over James Shields. And, after watching him return to the Sox line-up the past two games and seeing them explode for 24 runs in Texas, Ellsbury has boosted his candidacy showing just how valuable he is to this offense. Terry Francona has made it a point after the last two wins to say how much Ellsbury impacts the offense. The Sox centerfielder is now hitting .315 with 93 runs, 31 doubles, 23 home runs, 81 RBI, and 35 stolen bases.
Meanwhile, in case you were wondering… the WAR stat, which basically measures how many wins the player gives you over a replacement player or average player at that position… looks like this:
1. Bautista. 7.9
2. Verlander 7.3
3. Pedroia. 6.4
5. Ellsbury. 6.3
6. AGon. 5.9
7. Beckett. 5.4
Not a surprise that Bautista is the leader because of the year he’s having compared to any other Blue Jay. Verlander too. Surprising that Beckett is that high and that Granderson isn’t there.
The beauty of this is that we still have a month to go. It should be fun to see how it plays out.