We’re more than a quarter of the way through the 2012 Major League Baseball season, and it’s time for the first MVP watch. There was two first-time winners last season: Justin Verlander, who took the A.L. MVP and Cy Young award, and Ryan Braun. Both the MVPs led their teams to the Championship Series of their respective leagues. Unlike the Cy Young award which awards the best overall pitcher, the MVP also takes into account how the MVP can lead their team over the top. There are 13 current players who have won MVP awards: Jason Giambi, Ichiro, Alex Rodriguez, Justin Morneau, Dustin Pedroia, Joe Mauer, Josh Hamilton, Justin Verlander, Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Joey Votto, and Ryan Braun.
1. Josh Hamilton, TEX, 18 HR, 47 RBI, .379
2. Adam Jones, BAL, 14 HR, 29 RBI, .309
3. Miguel Cabrera, DET, 8 HR, 34 RBI, .307
4. David Ortiz, BOS, 10 HR, 30 RBI, .333
5. Derek Jeter, NYY, 5 HR, 15 RBI, .343
6. Paul Konerko, CWS, 8 HR, 23 RBI, .367
7. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR, 13 HR, 23 RBI, .262
8. Evan Longoria, TB, 4 HR, 19 RBI, .329
9. Adrian Beltre, TEX, 8 HR, 26 RBI, .304
10. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE, 5 HR, 18 RBI, .309
Right now, it’s Josh Hamilton and everyone else. It won’t be a question of whether Hamilton can get his second MVP in three years if he can land a Triple Crown in the three main offensive categories: AVG, HR, and RBI, and he can lead Texas back into the playoffs. Hamilton is leading average by 12 points, HR by 4, and RBI by 12. He needs to stay healthy; the most games he has played since coming to Texas is 156 and he has missed over thirty games in every other season, He’s clearly separated himself from the field, but a special mention should go to Adam Jones, my No. 2. Jones is putting up eye-popping numbers for the Baltimore Orioles, a surprising first place team in the A.L. East.
1. Matt Kemp, LAD, 12 HR, 28 RBI, .359
2. David Wright, NYM, 4 HR, 25 RBI, .415
3. Carlos Beltran, STL, 13 HR, 33 RBI, .285
4. Ryan Braun, MIL, 12 HR, 30 RBI, .333
5. Andrew McCutchen, PIT, 7 HR, 21 RBI, .340
6. Andre Either, LAD, 9 HR, 38 RBI, .314
7. Adam LaRoche, WAS, 7 HR, 31 RBI, .304
8. Martin Prado, ATL, 3 HR, 21 RBI, .316
9. Bryan LaHair, CHC, 10 HR, 21 RBI, .315
10. Carlos Gonzalez, COL, 8 HR, 32 RBI, .305
The National League has a much more wide open race. I give the early edge to Kemp, who was also challenging for a Triple Crown before a recent injury. Kemp’s Dodgers also have the best record in the National League by a wide margin. David Wright is also chasing an elusive number that could catapult him to the MVP award as he is 15 points over .400. Carlos Beltran has led the Cardinals without Albert Pujols, and last year’s MVP Ryan Braun is putting up great numbers to power the Brewers but Milwaukee has struggled and is currently 8 games under .500.