The American League MVP winner will be announced today, and I have to be honest, I haven’t a clue who is going to win. In a race typically won by Goliath, this year’s candidates are all Davids. The is no Pujols or Tejada or Vlad dominating the power stats. Even the lip-glossy luster has worn off of A-Rod, his 35/103/.302 won’t get him a mention. The potential first-place vote-getters are, in no particular order, Carlos Quentin, Josh Hamilton, K-Rod, Cliff Lee and our own Youk and Pedroia.
USA Today has some interesting stats about Boston’s candidates and just what they mean to the Red Sox and winning:
Pedroia hit .353 in tie games and .340 when the Red Sox were leading or trailing by one run, compared to .280 when a team was leading by four or more runs.
Yet, there are voters who will frown on Pedroia’s lack of power production. Although he led the major leagues with 54 doubles and tied for the league lead with 213 hits, Pedroia hit only 17 home runs. It would be the fewest homers by an AL MVP winner since Thurman Munson had 17 for the 1976 New York Yankees.
The same teammate debate could be made for Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who hit .312 with 29 homers and 115 RBI. The Red Sox went 71-30 when he produced a hit, and 16-28 in games when he didn’t.
If imposing facial hair were part of the criteria, Youk would be a lock. And if any off-field antics came in to play, the above photo of Pedroia would certainly cost him some votes. But this is about playing tha game and helping your team win. And that’s what Youk and Pedroia do.