Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 9/16/12

With three and a half weeks left in the MLB season, the divisional and wild card races have been heating up. This is also the time when the true MVP’s start to push themselves out in front of the pack. The NL MVP race is still extremely tight, but the AL picture is starting to clear up. (*Note all stats as of Friday September 14th) 

NL MVP:

  1. Buster Posey, Catcher, Giants- I’m a Dodger fan, and it kills me to put him first, but what he’s done this season can’t be ignored. After a scary knee injury last season, Posey has reestablished himself as one of the premier catchers in the MLB. He is currently 2nd in the NL in AVG at .332, first in OBP at .407, and 8th in RBI’s with 89. If the voters choose a player who is truly the most valuable to his team, Posey is definitely the guy this year. When Melky Cabrera was suspended for the rest of the season, the Giants seemed likely to lose the NL West because of the reloaded Dodgers. But, Posey has been a complete animal lately, batting .393 since the All-Star break in Mid-July.
  2. Andrew McCutchen, Center Fielder, Pirates- If not for a very poor September so far, McCutchen would be number one. The Pirates are fading fast and are now looking like they could fall below .500 for the 20th consecutive year. McCutchen currently leads the league in batting average at .339, is 8th in home runs with 27, and 1st in runs scored at 98. McCutchen’s MVP hopes will come down to how he and the Pirates finish the season.
  3. Ryan Braun, Left Fielder, Brewers- If not for Braun’s disputed positive test for PEDs after last season, he would be a way more likely candidate considering he is putting up better numbers than last year, WITHOUT Prince Fielder. The Brewers have also positioned themselves back in the wildcard race behind Braun’s white-hot bat. Braun currently leads the NL with 38 homers, and is 2nd in RBI’s with 100. If the Brewers are able to capture a Wild Card spot, Braun’s name will challenge Posey’s.
  4. Chase Headley, Third Base, Padres- Like Braun, Headley has been a late riser on the MVP list. Playing for the Padres, Headley doesn’t have the same popularity as the players above, but his numbers, and the recent Padre hot streak will get him into the MVP discussion. Headley currently boasts a league leading 102 RBI’s and is 8th in home runs with 27. Headley is a long shot, but if the surging Padres are able to get a wild card spot, Headley will be a hot topic.
  5. Gio Gonzalez, Pitcher, Nationals- The best player on the best team should always get attention in MVP votes. Gonzalez currently leads the NL with 19 wins for the surprisingly great Nationals. Gonzalez is 5th in ERA at 2.93 and 4th in strikeouts with 191. His numbers are great, but not MVP worthy.

AL MVP:

  1. Josh Hamilton, Center Fielder, Rangers- With the Angels fading, Hamilton and the Rangers have continued to surge to the top of the AL. Hamilton currently sits atop the home run and RBI leaders with 42 and 123. The Rangers are looking like they will be on their way to a third straight World Series and Hamilton’s bat this year is the key reason.
  2. Miguel Cabrera, Third Base, Tigers- Cabrera is once again showing off how he is a triple-crown threat every year. He is currently 2nd in average at .329, 2nd in RBI’s at 119, and 5th in home runs with 36. He currently has his Tigers just 1 game back of the White Sox. Cabrera has been by far the best hitter on the Tigers lately with Prince Fielder batting a measly .200 in September. Cabrera will need to get a playoff birth if he wants to top Hamilton.
  3. Mike Trout, Center Fielder, Angels- He’s a lock for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, but his MVP hopes have been diminishing over the past two months. In August and September, Trout is batting less than .300 and the Angels have faded out of the AL West race, and are currently 3 back of a wild card spot. Trout is currently 1st in batting average at .332, stolen bases with 45, and runs scored with 115. His .332/.397/.567 triple-slash line is absolutely remarkable for a rookie in the Major Leagues. However, he is stuck in the wrong division and league this season. I wouldn’t rule out Trout yet considering the amount of love he gets from the media, but like Cabrera, I can’t see him getting the award unless he is able to rally the Angels into the playoffs.

-Abergel

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