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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

November 23, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Major upset in American League MVP vote: Joe Mauer not unanimous

mauermvp.jpg

*Update, 12:21 p.m.: As Big Ebu pointed out, the Miguel Cabrera vote came from the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America — Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News. He and I had the two votes from Seattle. I like and respect Keizo — he’s been covering the Mariners and major-league baseball for nine years, and knows his stuff as well as anyone around. He’s entitled to his opinion; I just disagree.

I’m only half joking. I thought for certain that Joe Mauer and prohibitive NL favorite Albert Pujols would both be unanimous. I have a hard time figuring out how someone could not vote for the guy who led the American League in batting (.365), slugging and on-base percentage, won a Gold Glove, and helped lead his team to the division title.

Here’s the vote. Mauer got 27 out of 28 first-place votes (including mine). The other one went to Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers — the same Miguel Cabrera who was drunk between two key games in October (three times above the legal limit, according to police) and also was taken to the police station that night after an altercation with his wife. Cabrera had a great season, no doubt about it, but that incident at such a key time was not an MVP move. But even if that had never happened, it was an absolute no-brainer for Mauer.

Here was the vote I submitted (MVP is the only award in which you are asked to vote for 10; all the others are top 3):

1. Joe Mauer

2. Derek Jeter

3. Kevin Youkilis

4. Mark Teixeira

5. Kendry Morales

6. Ben Zobrist (I see I gave him his highest vote’; he led the majors in WAR — wins above replacement)

7. Miguel Cabrera

8. Ichiro Suzuki

9. Alex Rodriguez

10. Adam Lind

I debated seriously whether to give a vote to Franklin Gutierrez mainly on the basis of his defense. I decided that I couldn’t give two votes to the Mariners — that would be too homerish — and I opted for Ichiro over Gutierrez based on his offense edge. Ichiro led the league in the WPA (win probability added) category.

I’m sure some people will have quibbles with my vote, but I took it seriously, and this is what I came up with.

(Photo by Associated Press)

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