Monday, November 23, 2009

No surprise: Mauer tops Tex, Jeter for AL MVP

As expected, Joe Mauer won the American League Most Valuable Player award in a landslide victory, garnering 27 out of 28 votes for a whopping 327 points. He easily topped Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter, both worthy candidates who might have won in any other year. But Mauer hit a ridiculous .365 on his way to his third batting title. He probably should have won the MVP by unanimous vote, given that he willed the Twins into the final playoff stop while Miguel Cabrera's team choked at the end, but Cabrera somehow ended up with that final first-place vote.

Both Yanks had strong showings, but they split the vote. Tex received a total score of 225 for a second-place finish
while Jeter finished third with 193 points. Tex finishing ahead of Jeter is unsurprising, given his power numbers, which hold sway with many writers. But Tex really didn't get hot until Alex Rodriguez came back from his surgery, so I think ARod gets an assist for those numbers.

Jeter, on the other hand, always has fewer RBIs than his teammates, partly due to his batting leadoff and not being a power guy, but also because his focus on scoring runs means he often gives himself up via sacrifice so that the guys behind him can drive the runs in. If I have one quibble with the MVP vote, it's that some writers put Jeter 8th, 9th and 10th on their ballots, reflecting what is an unfair bias in favor of sluggers and a continued unjustified belief that Jeter is overrated.
Personally, I think Jeter was probably more valuable to the Yanks, given his leadoff prowess and leadership, but it's close. Jeter and Tex both won multiple awards this year, including Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers. And they got the most important trophy: the World Series title.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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