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AL MVP: Can Mauer beat the Bronx bullies?

Nov 23, 2009, 2:24 AM EDT

Zack Greinke proved that the little guys from small markets can get it done, correctly earning the AL Cy Young award when voters overlooked his relative lack of wins (16) and focused instead on his sheer dominance over the course of this season, giving him the award over big names like CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay.

Now it’s Joe Mauer’s turn to find out if he can beat out the big-market superstars when the AL MVP award is announced Monday at 2 p.m. ET.

The Twins’ star catcher has got to be the favorite to win the award after hitting a career-high .365 this season to earn his third batting title in the last four seasons.

But he could face a stiff challenge from a pair of high-profile and championship-celebrating New York Yankees in Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter. Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers should also get some consideration, but is a long shot to take home the award.

Mauer fans can take some solace in Greinke winning the Cy Young. If the ace of a terrible Kansas City Royals team can come out on top in what can often be a popularity contest, then why not a Minnesota Twin who led his team to the playoffs?

More hope for Mauer: If this ESPN poll is any indication, he’ll take it easily.

In a poll of 22 of ESPN’s so-called experts, 20 selected Mauer, while anchor Steve Berthiaume chose Teixeira and broadcaster Jon Miller took Jeter.

Here are the key stats on the main candidates. Feel free to state your case below:

Joe Mauer: .365 avg., 28 HR, 96 RBI, 1.031 OPS
Mark Teixeira: .292 avg., 39 HR, 122 RBI
Derek Jeter: .334 avg., 18 HR, 107 runs, 30 SB
Miguel Cabrera: .324 avg., 34 HR, 103 RBI

Meanwhile, if you have some time while awaiting the balloting results, check out Joe Posnanski’s Least Valuable awards.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

  1. jonny5 - Nov 23, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    Thank you for helping prove my point. Jeter deserves an Mvp award a little more than Rollins does, and Rollins is not on the list, nor should he be.
    Mauer Is the clear choice imo. And I’d take Tex as #2.

  2. jonny5 - Nov 23, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    Simmer down Mike. Just saying being a leadoff man isn’t a handicap. If Jeter deserved an MVP his RBI total would be higher, that’s all I’m saying. You don’t need to crush the ball out of the park to get RBI’s, it’s all about hitting when the pressure is on to drive in runs. Seriously how could a guy get the MVP with 66 rbi’s? That would be a slap to former mvp’s imo. It’s paltry. His avg. is awesome though but runs scored is where the value is in a player besides defense. And Jeter is no Phenom at S.S.

  3. Bernie - Nov 23, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    “And Jeter is no Phenom at S.S.” Not true. His fielding stats @ SS were among the best in the league this year.

  4. jonny5 - Nov 24, 2009 at 8:42 AM

    Yes, this season he was 10th best. And his 66 RBI’s is weak. The right man got the MVP award ,end of story. BTW, when do we stop hearing about how poorly Ryan Howard fields at 1b? he was 8th best in the MLB. If he is a poor fielder then Jeter is horrible at 10th place lol….. ;>)~

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