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.
- Frank Wren fired as Braves GM, John Hart to take over on an interim basis 36
- AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME! Sizing up the final week of the regular season 36
- Must-Click Link: Derek Jeter opens up. Seriously, he really does. 41
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 55
- Must-click link: Tommy Harper and the Red Sox’ racist past 56
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 34
- Matt Garza ejected after hitting Andrew McCutchen a second time 34
- Tigers hang on for second straight win against Royals 8
- Geddy Lee’s baseball obsession makes it really hard for me to hate Rush (123)
- It certainly looks like Barry Bonds’ criminal conviction is going to be overturned (105)
- Ron Washington claims he resigned because he cheated on his wife (103)
- Umpire ejects jackwagon fan heckling Bryce Harper in Atlanta last night (85)
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights (83)