Joe Mauer is just the 2nd catcher in the last 33 years to win the AL MVP, and he did so in unanimous fashion. The Minnesota native hit .365/.444/.587 to lead the American League in all three categories. He also won the gold glove, and it was richly deserved.
Mauer had a career high in HRs (28) and for the 3rd time in his 6 year career had more walks than strikeouts. He also set the record for batting average from a catcher.
With Mauer’s impressive season (.438 wOBA, 12.7% BB, 54.8 RAA, 8.2 WAR) we may have just seen the best season ever from a catcher. If that doesn’t scream MVP, nothing does.
The only other first place vote went to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera. There are a couple of players that you could reasonably vote first (namely Zach Greinke) but Cabrera wasn’t one of them. He was not one of the 5 most valuable players in the American League this year. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs makes the excellent point that Mauer and Cabrera’s raw production was roughly equal, and that if Mauer had played April with his injured back, and gone 0 for the month, their seasons would have had the same value.
The other biggest tragedy is that Tampa’s Ben Zobrist only got 1 6th place vote. Zobrist had an 8.6 WAR, although a lot of his value was tied up in his defense, which some people discount due to the fact that before this year he was a much poorer defender.
Winning the MVP while missing an entire month is a tremendous accomplishment for Mauer. He gets a $100,000 bonus for doing so. Hopefully he parlays that 100,000 into tacking on 3 extra zeroes via a contract extension from the Twins.