Question of the day: Who are the AL and NL Most Valuable Players? [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
[Updated at 1:46 p.m.:
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Can one league get both Most Valuable Player awards? The reality is that Cincinnati’s Joey Votto and Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez are both more deserving than anyone in the American League. Votto is an easy choice between the two, however, given the Reds’ unexpected takedown of St. Louis.
That leaves the AL, and there’s no automatic choice. Miguel Cabrera is Mr. Statistics, and Juan Bautista came out of nowhere to become the first man in three years to hit 50 homers. But with four playoff teams per league, we’re not picking an MVP off a team that finishes up the track. He’s missed a ton of games lately, but Josh Hamilton helped Texas take control of the AL West. He’s going to win a batting title and also has 31 home runs and 74 extra-base hits. He gets the vote here over the Yankees’ Robinson Cano and the Twins’ Joe Mauer.]
[Updated at 11:38 a.m.: Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
In the National League, Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay will get some well-deserved support after leading the majors in wins (21), complete games (9) and shutouts (4). However, the Phillies won three division titles and a World Series without him, so it’s hard to argue he turned the team around. You can’t argue Joey Votto’s impact in Cincinnati, where the Reds are going to the playoffs for the first time in 15 seasons thanks to a breakout summer by Votto, who enters Wednesday second in the league in hitting (.325) and third in homers (37) and RBIs (111).
The American League is much less clear, which could open the way for Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, who has clearly had the best all-around season. He leads the league in runs (111) and leads the majors in RBIs (126) while starting Wednesday second in the AL in homers (38) and third in batting (.328). The fact his team will be watching the playoffs from home will cost him more than a few votes, though.]
[Updated at 9:47 a.m.: Mandy Housenick, The Morning Call
Nobody has been more impressive in the American League than Texas' Josh Hamilton. On April 20, he was hitting just .205 with no home runs. A change to his batting stance did wonders, and since then he has hit .376 with 94 RBIs and 31 home runs. And he did it despite two stints on the disabled list.
Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez will get a lot of votes for National League MVP -- he’s been fabulous the last few weeks -- but the winner should be Cincinnati's Joey Votto, who's been fabulous all season.
As the league's next Todd Helton, Votto is even better in pressure situations. With two outs and a runner on third, he's hitting .417. In late and close situations, he's at .371. For the season, he has a .325 batting average (second in the NL), 37 home runs, 111 RBIs and 88 walks.]
Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun
Numbers can be crunched to come up with at least three answers to this question in each league. I stack the statistics -- traditional and sabermetrics -- against each other and see if one name jumps out. In the American League, one does: Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.
He’s in the top three in just about every important offensive category, including leading the league in on-base percentage, runs created and RBIs, among others. Plus, he’s been intentionally walked 32 times this season, more than twice the amount of any other American Leaguer.
In Cabrera’s case, I don't care that he's not on a contender. In the National League, however, that's my tiebreaker. A strong case can be made for Cincinnati's Joey Votto, St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez. Not one of the three completely separates himself from the others; all had tremendous years. So I'll go with the guy who led his upstart team to the playoffs -- Votto.
Photo: Miguel Cabrera. Credit: Rick Osentoski / US Presswire