My AL MVP Ballot
I thought I had this in the queue to publish yesterday morning, rather than today. Ed. Turns out I lost it, so you get a brand new post! That might be the last time I write a post ahead of time. Stupid productivity. Anyways, I posted this ballot on twitter Monday morning, so feel free to go back and verify it if you wish.
1. Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota
I have already written much on the pride of the prairie, but Mauer just wrapped up perhaps the best season by a catcher ever, and Joe Posnanksi (among others) believes he is on his way to becoming the best catcher to ever wear a uniform.
2. Zach Greinke, SP, Kansas City
The Numbers: 2.33 FIP, 9.4 WAR
Speaking of awesome seasons, Greinke just had one of the more impressive ones in recent memory. His fastball and his slider were each woth over 20 runs. He struck out over a batter per inning while walking just 2 per 9. Good job by Kansas City signing him to an extension.
3. Ben Zobrist, 2B, Tampa Bay
Zobrist actually had a higher WAR than Mauer. It was 8.6 to Mauer’s 8.4. Of course, that’s before realizing Mauer missed a month and that catcher defense isn’t factored into WAR. Zobrist had a .408 wOBA this year and hit 27 homers. Really the only thing keeping him from having a season near Mauer’s in value was some batting average and less strikeouts (and, of course, an extra month of playing time). Zobrist was worth 26.4 runs this year according to UZR, but this is his first positive total of his career. Aberration?
4. Derek Jeter, SS, New York
Jeter had a pretty strong season, with 7.4 WAR and a .390 wOBA. After a couple years of declining power, Jeter got a boost in his HR/FB likely due to the new Yankee Stadium. He also showed improved defensive acumen (+6.6 runs) which led some people to believe he would be awarded the MVP as a sort of lifetime achievement award.
5. Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Seattle
Gutierrez had roughly a league average bat (.337 wOBA), but he was phenomenal defensively. His 29.1 runs led all AL outfielders, and he was absolutely robbed of a gold glove. This is no fluke either as he has always had the reputation of being a good defender, and he posted a +20.9 mark in 2008. Gutierrez was also good in the clutch (+2.44 on Fangraphs) which I will admit I look at as far as down ballot voting, just don’t expect him to repeat it next season.