I don’t ask for much, but is it really so much to request that the Angels at least be included in the discussion for Most Valuable Player? Now I know that the ESPN empire likes to act as if baseball doesn’t exist outside of the eastern time zone, but their latest foray at handicapping the AL MVP race ignores the Angels completely while shifting much of their attention to Boston and the Yankees! I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.
You mean these aren’t the only two teams that the AL MVP can be on?
It is hard to argue with the premise that Joe Mauer is the leader in the clubhouse with his gargantuan numbers from the catcher position (.366 AVG, 26 HR, 80 RBI, 1.043 OPS), if the MVP award were purely stat based, he would be the winner in a landslide. Too often though, it seems people forget that the V in MVP stands for Valuable and Joe Mauer is only the Most Valuable Player to anyone who owns him in a fantasy baseball league and in real-life where he toils for the barely over-.500 Minnesota Twins. At least when players like Miguel Cabrera and Mark Teixeira a talked about as potential MVP winners they are doing it for division-leading teams. Of course that only begs the question of why the Angels who lead the lone remaining American League division are getting glossed over?
Are the Angels’ stats not good enough for you stat heads out there? Does Kendry Morales not qualify as an MVP candidate because his .955 OPS is “only” 4th in the American League? Well excuse him for having an OPS 35 points above that of Mark Teixeira even though K-Mo doesn’t have the benefit of playing in a stadium with hurricane force winds that turn routine pop-ups to right field into home runs. But why would that matter when he has a paltry 30 homers and 94 RBIs. I mean, that is only good enough for the top five in both metrics in the AL. Why would anyone be impressed by that?
Calm down, Kendry. Yes, you have MVP numbers, but you made the mistake of playing in the Pacific time zone.
And why does it always have to be about power anyway? Can’t a little guy get some MVP love, too? Chone Figgins does lead the league in runs after all, serving as the table-setter for one of the highest scoring teams in all of the land. Did I mention he also is third in the league in both walks and steals while hitting over .300. Nobody does a better job of making a team’s offense go than Figgins does. Without him the we’d all be talking about how the Angels still can’t score enough runs to win in the post-season for the umpteenth year in a row. What’s more valuable than that? Really isn’t that what the award is truly about? The actual value a player provides to his team and not just the fancypants numbers that appear on the back of his baseball card.
If you really consider how truly valuable a player is to a team, then excluding the Angels from the discussion isn’t just myopic, it is downright stupid. For as valuable as the minions at ESPN seem to believe Mark Teixeira to be, Kendry Morales should be considered just as valuable as Tex, the man he replaced in the Angel line-up. Morales has given the Angels almost everything to the Angels that Tex did during his brief time in Anaheim. Arguments can be made on both sides as to which player is ultimately more valuable to their respective team, who is right doesn’t even matter to me so much as acknowledging that the argument exists in spite of the fact that Morales lacks a big name or a big east coast hometown.
Of course if we really want to get into the nitty and gritty of who is really most valuable to their team, I give you Bobby Abreu. How quickly we all forget that the Angel offense was embarrassingly impatient and punchless last season. But the Angels made one single acquisition to their regular line-up by signing Bobby Abreu as a free agent and suddenly they are one of the most versatile and potent run-scoring machines ever to grace Gene Autry Way. But naturally, Abreu gets no love from the award-voting crowd because his numbers are solid but unspectacular. It seems the only flaw in Abreu’s MVP candidacy is that there is no quantifiable way to show the value of Abreu teaching an entire roster how to work a count and be more selective at the plate. Of course I am sure that if he had pulled off the same feat for Boston instead, they’d probably already be etching his name on the MVP trophy.
The only legitimate excuse I am even willing to hear is that the Angels just have so many MVP-caliber players that nobody can decide who to focus on. Kendry Morales, Bobby Abreu and Chone Figgins all have legitimate claims to the award, making for quite the crowded ballot. Heck, if Torii Hunter hadn’t had such a long DL stint he’d probably in the conversation too. Nonetheless, at least one of them (cough, K-MO, cough, cough) should be getting some kind of play in the MVP conversation and that is all I want. The voters are always going to vote how they want, let’s just all make sure they are considering everyone that deserves it, regardless of their time zone.