It's late August, which means that it is time to break down the MVP races in each respective league. There is nothing like throwing all those gaudy numbers down on paper and then arbitrarily choosing which guy is best. Gotta love it.
The American League has been the dominant league this year (by far) and the winner of the hardware should probably get a bigger trophy than his NL counterpart. Which is ironic, because the Junior Circuit has been the league that has had some shaky winners this decade (on top of being called the Junior Circuit). This year there is no such problem. Here are the five guys with the best shot to take home the hardware heading down the stretch:
5. Vladimir Guerrero. He’s getting no pub, but the perennial candidate has been anchoring a pretty brutal Angels offense all season. Guerrero is hitting .322 with 27 home runs, 15 steals, and 99 RBI and continuing to break out his howitzer of an arm on occasion. As long as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (I don’t even have a joke for this anymore) are in contention and Guerrero is playing in at least 85% of the games, he is pretty much automatically in the top five every year.
4. Justin Morneau. Morneau and the Twins continue to lurk. If Minnesota wins the Wild Card and Morneau goes nuts down the stretch, he could be your dark horse candidate. He’s hitting .317 with 31 homers and 108 ribbies and if you want to know anything more about my love for this particular lefty, just go back to the last column.
3. Derek Jeter. He’s the seven-time winner of the “Most Kissed-Up-To Player” Award, but he’s never had such a good shot to win the MVP trophy. The Yankees are running away with the AL East and Jeter has been the guy carrying the load. Yes, Jason Giambi has sterling power numbers, but it is the Bronx Bombers’ captain that has been driving the offense. Jeter is second in the AL with a .334 batting average, has driven in 76 runs, scored 89 times, and stolen 26 bases. His defensive abilities have become wildly overrated in recent years, but the fact remains that he mans an important position and plays full speed at all times.