I'm starting to get worried. Worried about the AL MVP. Last year, we tried to tell ourselves it didn't matter, but when Zack Greinke took home the 2009 AL Cy Young, trust me, it mattered.
I want to know that feeling again. Only now, I'm deeply afraid that the Royals lineup will be so good, that the rightful Royal candidates, instead of going 1-2-3, will draw support away from one another, and we'll see something terrible happen. It may be unfair and intellectually dishonest, but in 2010, we'll likely need the KC media corps to really rally around one single Royal, perhaps at the expense of his teammates.
So who should it be?
The Current Leader - Scott Podsednik: He's not likely to keep hitting .457, but right now .370 looks like the floor for Pods. Assuming he remains over .400, he'll probably run away with the award. Many voters will love Pods' throwback game. .400 with 150 steals and no homers will send a huge statement that the Steroid Era is over.
|2010 - Scott Podsednik||9||35||4||16||1||0||0||3||5||5||6||0||.457||.525||.486|
The Non-Traditional/Traditional Winner - Jose Guillen: We know that Guillen will slow down a little, but right now I've got him pegged for 55 homers and 150 RBIs. Trey Hillman has intimated he might put Scotty Pods directly behind Guillen in the batting order, so teams won't be able to give Guillen the Bonds treatment. The one problem will be that Guillen might primarily be a DH (though Moore has promised to get him innings in CF) which might cost him with some voters. If Pods gets below .390, a big if, the Royals cognoscenti should rally around the Ruthian Guillen.
|2010 - Jose Guillen||9||36||9||13||3||0||5||9||2||3||0||0||.361||.410||.861|
The Darkhorse/Intangibles Vote- Jason Kendall: We can't overlook Jason Kendall here. Can't for one second. Anytime a catcher plays in all 162 games, hits .380, and inspires an entire city with his leadership, he'll deserve votes. The blogosphere threw its support behind Joe Mauer last season, and I expect a similar campaign this summer. Positional value is an emerging cause celebre for the statistically friendly, while old school types will love what Kendall does with a pitching staff that's racking up a lot more pitcher Ws thanks to a lineup that scores over 1000 runs.
|2010 - Jason Kendall||9||34||2||13||3||0||0||1||3||3||0||0||.382||.432||.471|
Perhaps we're over-thinking this. These things tend to develop organically, with a few signature moments looming over the MVP discussion. When Guillen goes 4-4 with three homers on the night the Royals clinch, who is to say he doesn't deserve it. When Kendall records his 215th hit of the year in his 162nd game of the year, the award will probably be his. When Podzilla steals his 100th base, at Yankee Stadium in late July, perhaps that will be the moment.
We just need to do our best to enjoy it all as it happens.