Found November 18, 2011 on Dugout Central:
On Monday, the results of the American League MVP race will be revealed; here’s who I would put in my top-10: 10. Alex Avila, C – Detroit Tigers Alex Avila’s line as a catcher in 2011 was incredible, hitting .295/.389/.506 with 33 doubles and 19 home runs. At just 24 years of age, Avila won his first silver slugger and could be in line for many to come. 9. Evan Longoria, 3B – Tampa Bay Rays Evan Longoria had a rough start to 2011 and still only ended up with a .244 batting average – but still brought the power, defense, and reliability that has made him a perpetual MVP candidate. Voters may even look past the almighty batting average statistic – his two home runs (including the walk-off) on the season’s final day was the final impression left on voters before they could submit their ballots. 8. Jared Weaver, SP – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim For much of the year, Jared Weaver was right in the running with Detroit’s Justin Verlander for the American League Cy Young award. He finished with the second best ERA and WHIP in the American League, while finishing in the top-10 in strikeouts for the third straight year. 7. Dustin Pedroia, 2B – Boston Red Sox With two other Red Sox putting together MVP caliber campaigns, Dustin Pedroia flew in under the radar, but still finished with a career-best 131 OPS+ and 21 home runs while playing gold glove defense and even tacking on 26 stolen bases. 6. Curtis Granderson, CF – New York Yankees Given the year that Ian Kennedy put up for Arizona, Brian Cashman could very easily have looked like an idiot for the 2009 trade which sent the future Diamondbacks ace away for Curtis Granderson, among others. In the long run, I am convinced that the deal will end up looking that way, especially given the mess that the bottom 80% of the Yankee rotation is. Granderson’s 2011 season is somewhat of a mitigating factor, however – the center fielder led the league in runs scored and RBI and finished second with 41 home runs. 5. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B – Boston Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez played the last five years of his career in about the least hitter-friendly environment in baseball. Playing at Petco Park – and surrounded by 8 players who either are Kevin Kouzmanoff or look and play exactly like Kevin Kouzmanoff – Adrian Gonzalez’s offensive output looked very good, but not outstanding. In his first year in Boston, he hit .338/.410/.548 with a league-best 213 hits and placed third in the league with a 155 OPS+. 4. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF – Boston Red Sox After missing almost all of 2010, expectations were low for Jacoby Ellsbury. He managed to shock the world, leading the league with 364 total bases. Sporting the fifth-best batting average and 6th best slugging percentage in the league, Ellsbury helped take the Red Sox to an incredible plateau…thus making their fall that much more enjoyable. 3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B – Detroit Tigers As tumultuous as his off-season problems have been, Cabrera’s on-field dominance has been as ho-hum as imaginable. The Tigers first baseman will likely finish with his third consecutive top-4 MVP, winning the batting and on-base titles while finishing second in the league with a .586 slugging percentage. He also ranked sixth in the league with 105 RBI – impressive, considering Jim Leyland’s desire to bat his worst hitters ahead of him. 2. Jose Bautista, RF – Toronto Blue Jays I didn’t think this would be a contest at the time of the all-star game, but the second half of the season made Jose Bautista look simply great, instead of super-human. Toronto’s powerful slugger led the American leagues with 43 home runs, 132 walks, a .608 slugging percentage, and a 181 OPS+, thus showing that 2010 was not an aberration but just the beginning. 1. Justin Verlander, SP – Detroit Tigers With the Tigers in a dead-heat with the Indians and White Sox for most of the 2011 season, Verlander’s consistent dominance of the American League helped the Tigers run away with the American League Central. His final line? 24-5, 2.40 ERA (170 ERA+), 251 innings pitched, 0.920 WHIP, and 250 strikeouts – all league bests. He deservedly won his first Cy Young (unanimously) and should have another piece of hardware coming his way. Notable Snubs: James Shields (SP-TBR), Ben Zobrist (2B/RF – TBR), Robinson Cano (2B-NYY), Josh Beckett (SP-BOS), JJ Hardy (SS-BAL), Asdrubal Cabrera (SS-CLE), Jhonny Peralta (SS-DET), Alex Gordon (LF-KCR), Paul Konerko (1B-CHW), Mike Napoli (C-TEX), Adrian Beltre (3B-TEX), Josh Hamilton (LF/CF-TEX), Felix Hernandez (SP-SEA)

Detroit Tigers bringing back Brad Penny?

OK, that article header is meant to be taken figuratively, so hang in there with me. If the Detroit Tigers don’t bring back the Brad Penny to be their 5th starter in 2012, they are very likely to bring back a Brad Penny. Brad Penny The Tigers would have absolutely loved for one of their few home-grown products to prove MLB worthy at this point. However, Andy Oliver has tanked in...

Morosi: Cabrera proves me wrong

In March, I suggested in this space that Miguel Cabrera would have his worst season as a Tiger. "I remember," Dave Dombrowski told me a few days ago. Dombrowski, the Tigers' president and general manager, was standing in a Milwaukee hotel at baseball's executive meetings when I reminded him of my mid-spring prediction. He smiled. You see, Miguel Cabrera did not...

O'Hara: Verlander is the AL MVP

On the day it was announced that he had won the American Leagues Cy Young Award, Justin Verlander told a funny story that described how his teammates regard him. Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers lighthearted but heavy-hitting first baseman, romped through the clubhouse wearing a Superman cape. Verlander, in Cabreras view, was baseballs version of Superman this season. Verlander was...

2011 TigsTown Player Capsule: Brandon Inge

It was not a very good year for Brandon Inge, and every metric you examine just tells a story of how truly bad the season went for Inge. However, despite that, there's a good bet you'll see Inge in the lineup regularly next season.

Movember MLB Mustache Madness: Wild Card Semi-Finals - Bernie Brewer vs. Magglio Ordonez

In our final contest of the Movember MLB Mustache Madness regional semi-finals, the Wild Card bracket gives a pair of big fake artifical ones... mustaches I mean.  What did you think I was talking about? Bernie Brewer Considering the great legacy of Brewer mustaches it is only fair that their mascot boast one of the best in the mascot business, but is it good enough to beat...

Leyland harbors fondness for Tanner

The Detroit Tigers' postseason run ended with a loss to the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, but that didn't stop manager Jim Leyland from watching every second of the World Series.

Verlander’s strong starts, revisited

With Justin Verlander’s unanimous selection as the AL Cy Young Award winner, it seems like a good time to revisit an article written on August 3rd exploring how dominant Verlander had been at the start of games. On July 31st, Verlander took a no-hit bid into the 8th inning, marking the third time he had accomplished that feat in his first 24 starts. Using a calculation described...

A pitcher as MVP? Tigers' Verlander has a case

Here's a look from Free Press baseball writer John Lowe at the MVP worthiness of Justin Verlander's most apparent rivals for the award -- and some comments by and about Verlander's candidacy: CF, Boston

Jim Leyland makes his case for Justin Verlander as AL MVP

(source feed provided no summary content for this entry)

Tigers sign C Laird to one-year contract

The Detroit Tigers signed catcher Gerald Laird to a one-year, $1 million contract on Friday. Laird will play in his second stint with the club, having spent time with Detroit in the 2009-10 season prior to signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 32-year-old batted .232 with one homer and 12 RBIs in 108 plate appearances this past season.

Expect more awards for Tigers' Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander won the Cy Young Award by a unanimous vote, which means he'll try to do better next year. This...

Laird returns to Tigers

Catcher Gerald Laird is returning to the Detroit Tigers, agreeing to a $1 million, one-year contract. Laird hit .232 with one home run and 12 RBIs in 37 games last season for the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. The 32-year-old Laird has a .241 career average with 35 homers in nine major league seasons. He was with the Tigers from 2009-10 and also has played for Texas...

Gerald Laird is Back

The Tigers have made their first somewhat significant move of the off-season by signing catcher Gerald Laird to a one-year deal. Before you get too upset, keep in that he will probably be playing fewer than 40 games as Alex Avila's back-up catcher.  The 32-year-old Laird needs no introduction to Tigers fans who remember him as a good field no hit catcher on the 2009-2010 teams...

Tigers make it official: Gerald Laird will be backup catcher

The Tigers this morning announced they have signed Gerald Laird to a one-year contract to serve as the backup catcher to Alex Avila.
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.