2013 American League Most Valuable Player Candidates

2013 American League Most Valuable Player Candidates
Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera battled injuries in a great season following his Triple Crown year. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Ryan Nakada

This award is given to the most outstanding player in the American League. Some take into account the team around them and if the team would have been as successful without the individual. Others will take into account the impact the individual has on the various aspects of the game like hitting, stealing and defense. Once in a while, a pitcher reflects the domination that is leaps and bounds above the rest that he is in a class of his own in which he is deserving of both the Most Valuable Player award and the Cy Young award.

These are who I believe are the candidates for the MVP award in the American League:

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (.348 batting average, 44 home runs, 137 runs batted in, 1.078 OPS)

Miguel Cabrera made a strong running for the Triple Crown a second time this year. Entering the All-Star break, Miguel Cabrera had 30 home runs, 95 RBI and an outstanding .365 batting average. This included a May where he hit six home runs in a four game span, including a three home run game on May 19. He hit 12 home runs in May and 11 home runs in August.

Various injuries have slowed down the Triple Crown slugger. Abdominal injuries, groin injuries and other ailing parts sidelined Cabrera for a number of games.

Hobbled and in constant pain, somehow Miguel Cabrera managed to have his career best batting average (.348), slugging percentage (.636) and career best OPS (1.078).

Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles (.286 batting average, 53 home runs, 138 runs batted in, 1.004 OPS)

The spoiler to the dreams of a repeat Triple Crown winner is the Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis. When you hit a home run in each of the first four games of the season, you know you’re getting off to a good start.

The 53 home runs that he hit are the most in Baltimore Orioles history and were the major league best this year. Davis also barely surpassed Cabrera in the RBI total by just one. It’s a shame he had some struggles with contact in general or he would have been a shocking Triple Crown winner. A July that featured a .211 batting average with just seven home runs and 41 strikeouts hurt his offensive rampage. In September, often MVPs are able to distinguish themselves from others. Davis, on the other hand, will be held to a .216 average that month with just six home runs and 16 RBI.

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox (.309 batting average, 30 home runs, 103 runs batted in, .959 OPS)

Despite starting in the season late due to an Achilles tendon injury, David Ortiz put up some impressive numbers. He made up for lost time with a 15-game hitting streak to open his season. He would end up leading the Red Sox with his 30 home runs and 108 RBI as they would finish the season with the best record in the American League.

The hindrance to his MVP candidacy is the fact that he is a regular designated hitter. He will occasionally play first base but his primary position is designated hitter and when you are only contributing to the team with your bat, your numbers must be outstanding to stand above other candidates.

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (.323 batting average, 27 home runs, 97 runs batted in, 33 stolen bases, .988 OPS)

No sophomore slump for Mike Trout. The 2012 American League Rookie of the Year had a slow April only hitting .261 but he picked it up from there. On May 21 against the Chicago White Sox, Trout became the youngest player to hit for the cycle in a 12-0 victory. That highlighted a may that he hit .327 and just continued improving as the season moved along.

Towards the end of July, Albert Pujols would be shut down with his prolonged foot injury and Mike Trout was completely aware of the missing offensive presence in the lineup. In August, Trout would have a .500 on-base percentage and walked 25 times. He would finish the season with an American League-best 110 walks.

Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers (.316 batting average, 30 home runs, 92 runs batted in, .880 OPS)

To begin the season, the Rangers would have to go without Josh Hamilton as he left for the fellow West rival, Los Angeles Angels. Adrian Beltre would continue to be the consistent presence at third base for the Rangers.

Then, during the season, the Biogenesis suspension was handed out and Nelson Cruz was removed from the team. Despite the loss of supporting power offensive teammates, Adrian Beltre did manage to lead the American League with 198 hits.

Robinson Cano, New York Yankees (.314 batting average, 27 home runs, 107 runs batted in, .899 OPS)

With injuries to Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson weakening the core of the Yankees lineup, Robinson Cano was left to fend for himself. Despite being the only really feared bat in the Yankees lineup, he still managed to put together his third 100 RBI season.

There was a decrease in his home run total and unlike fellow MVP candidate Mike Trout, Cano did not adapt to the weakened lineup around him. He did walk a career-high 65 times but he also struck out frequently and saw a sharp decline in his home run totals from first half (21) to second half (6) of the All-Star break. He had a difficult free agency year but he certainly deserves to be in the MVP considerations.

Winner: Miguel Cabrera

2nd: Chris Davis

3rd: Mike Trout

4th: Robinson Cano

5th: David Ortiz

While Miguel Cabrera did not succeed in chasing a consecutive Triple Crown award, he had another fantastic season. He dealt with injuries and was still a contributor with the bat. He would miss some time but he would actually have a better average in this year (.348) than he did in his Triple Crown year (.330). He matched his home run total from last year and nearly matched his RBI total too.

Chris Davis hurt his cause with his Baltimore Orioles falling out of the postseason race and his struggles towards the end of the season. Despite finishing as the home run and RBI leader, his considerably low batting average in comparison to his Triple Crown-contending opponent put him in second place. Mike Trout continues to suffer from being on the Angels; a statement that most wouldn’t think would be true with the mega-additions they made. Robinson Cano and the Yankees offense hurt his cause and the finish in the standings didn’t assist him much either. In this era of five-tool stars and just simply players that can contribute in the field in some way, I can’t see a designated hitter like David Ortiz finishing with the MVP until he puts up absurd numbers that are in another level beyond his competition.

Yankees fan for most of my life. Has always had a love for baseball, whether it be playing it, watching it, reading about it, or writing about it. Tweet me: @adakannayr
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