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Saturday November 21, 2009 8:46 am

The top of the AL crop




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Editorial, MLB, Rumors,

Joe MauerWith the recent announcement that Tim Lincecum was the National League Cy Young Award winner, it leaves only two more 2009 Major League Baseball award winners to be announced, which will be done this coming Monday. One of those is the American League Most Valuable Player, and, like the NL Cy Young, the AL MVP race couldn’t be closer. With Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, and Joe Mauer in the hunt, the award could go to anybody.

Jeter has aged like a fine wine. While his power numbers pale in comparison to the others – with his 18 home runs and 66 RBI – he had one of the best on-base percentages of his career at .406. His defense was almost among the best he’s shown in years. Across the field from him is Teixeira and his 39 home runs and 122 RBI. The newly-acquired Yankee managed to hold his own on a team of superstars and quietly rose above them all. Both players contributed in their own way all season long which ultimately led to the Yankees winning their 27th World Series championship.

Miquel Cabrera’s Tigers missed the postseason after losing a one-game playoff with the Twins, but don’t blame him for that. Over the season, the power-hitting first baseman hit .324 and drove in 103 runs, 34 of which were himself. His defensive contributions can’t go unmentioned as well. In 153 games at first, he committed just seven errors. However, with 96 runs and 198 hits, while impressive, don’t quite match the accomplishments of those he is in competition with. Don’t expect Cabrera to accept any hardware come Monday afternoon.

If Mauer takes home the prize, he’ll be the first catcher to win the MVP in either league since Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees did so in 1976. He’s also the top runner for the award. His massive .365 batting average, combined with his above-average 28 home runs and 96 RBI is enough to put him in the conversation, but the fact that he’s doing all this and being a catcher is a definite bonus. While Mauer’s Twins didn’t make an impact in the playoffs, there’s no doubt that they wouldn’t have even made it that far if it weren’t for him.

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