Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Justin Morneau AL MVP?

The prospect of Justin Morneau becoming American League Most Valuable Player suddenly doesn't seem so far fetched. Only a month ago Morneau looked as if he might receive some third place votes in the MVP, but certainly not many for winning the award.

Chicago White Sox 25-year-old left fielder Carlos Quentin looked to be battling for the award with Texas home run derby monster Josh Hamilton, a 27-year-old outfielder. Quentin was doing it all in his first season with the White Sox, but his season is over with a wrist injury that requires surgery. Given the White Sox's first-place status, Quentin would have been an easy bet for MVP. Obviously, his statistical numbers have stalled (thankfully, because his departure has slowed the White Sox and allowed the slumping Twins to stay just a game out of first place).

Hamilton, meanwhile, is a media darling. The former drug addict who battled back with rehabilitation and newfound Christianity is the stuff sports writers and (especially) TV reporters love to write and talk about. Hamilton looked to be a lock on MVP at the mid-point of the season, pounding out home run after home run in the All-Star Derby. His first half of the season had these monster stats: .310 batting average, 21 home runs, 95 runs batted in and .552 slugging percentage. But the Rangers are 16.5 games out in the AL West and Hamilton's production has slowed (.289, 10 HR, 29 RBI since All-Star Game).

Meanwhile, Morneau continues to show he's a stronger second half player and is gaining on Hamilton's league lead in RBI. His batting average since the All-Star Game is .287, but he's hit nine home runs and 51 RBI as well as hammering out a .558 slugging percentage. It also doesn't hurt that he's carried the limping Twins as they compete for the Central title.

Other possibilities for AL MVP would have to be someone from the Tampa Bay Rays (1B Carlos Pena or rookie 3B Evan Longoria), Boston Red Sox (1B Kevin Youkilis or 2B Dustin Pedroia) or California Anaheim Los Angeles Angels (CL Francisco Rodriguez, RF Vlad Guerrero or CF Torii Hunter).

Stats to chew on with about 18 games left in the season (ages included in parenthesis for the sake of interest, as is Alex Rodriguez):

Guerrero......(32) 24 HR, 83 RBI, .298 BA
Hunter..........(32) 20 HR, 73 RBI, .281 BA, 17 SB
Pedroia.........(24) 17 HR, 77 RBI, .327 BA, 17 SB
Youkilis........(29) 25 HR, 99 RBI, .315 BA
Longoria.......(22) 22 HR, 71 RBI, .278 BA, 7 SB
Pena..............(30) 27 HR, 85 RBI, .245 BA
A.Rodriguez.(32) 33 HR, 95 RBI, .310 BA, 17 SB
Hamilton......(27) 31 HR, 124 RBI, .303 BA, 7 SB
Quentin........(25) 36 HR, 100 RBI, .288 BA, 7 SB
Morneau.......(27) 23 HR, 119 RBI, .311 BA
F.Rodriguez.(26) 2-2 W-L, 55 SV, 67 G, 61.3 IP, 70 SO, 1.24 WHIP, 2.49 ERA

1 comment:

Sully said...

I write a blog about baseball and one of my entries was a defense of the Metrodome.
Would love to hear a Twins fan take on it

Thanks a bunch