1. Jason Bay, LF, Red Sox
Bay has cooled off somewhat as of late, but still is one of the top hitters in the AL. He’s among the league leaders in .OBP, Total Bases, .SLG, .OPS, Homeruns, Runs, RBI, and Walks. Bay is a pure hitter, he supports his team in every category, but generally doesn’t stick out in one particular category. Bay is similar to Baltimore’s Nick Markakis, in many aspects, as a decent power hitter, with a high .OBP, and who leads, (or previously led, in the case of Bay), an underrated team. However Bay is a better power hitter than Markakis, and now plays for a big market team. If Bay sticks out in so called “important categories”, such as homers, and RBI’s, he will enthrall voters, if he doesn’t…, then, well he won’t…
2. Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
Morneau was somewhat of a suprise MVP winner in 2006, beating out Derek Jeter, and David Ortiz in a close vote. Morneau then came in second in 2008 to Dustin Pedroia, even though he had a sub-par season. Morneau is the kind of gritty ballplayer that is always on the field, and is a perennial MVP candidate. Morneau is at the top of his league in Total Bases, and .SLG, and also is near the top in .OBP, RBI’s, Homeruns, every major hitting category. This could be the year that he reaches 40 homeruns. If he keeps this up, he wins the MVP.
3. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
A No. 3 draft pick, and a top prospect, Longoria burst onto the scene in 2008, making the All-Star Game, and winning the rookie of the year. Longoria leads the AL in doubles, and RBI’s, and is among the leaders in .SLG, Hits, Runs, Total Bases, .OPS, and Homeruns. I see this MVP race coming down to the underrated Morneau, and Longoria. The one concern that I see about Longoria, is that he is striking out more than he did last year, almost once a game. He’ll get some bonus publicity if he leads the Rays back for The Miracle Rays 2.
4. Why I am not including Kevin Youkilis
Youkilis is an on-base +slugging monster, who pounds the ball, but hadn’t discovered power until last season. While he definetly be in the top 5 on my ballot, his power numbers sadly won’t appeal to the actual voters.