This week, we've been posting the results for each of Major League Baseball's regular season awards, as voted upon by the SB Nation baseball bloggers. On Monday, the Rookie of the Year awards went to the Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia and the Brewers' Ryan Braun. Tuesday, the Manager of the Year winners were Cleveland's Eric Wedge and Arizona's Bob Melvin And yesterday, the Cy Young Awards went to the Indians' C.C. Sabathia and the Padres' Jake Peavy.
But today is the big one, the award that compels fans to chant three letters when their team's best player is putting together a fabulous season. M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P! Heads turn when one of these guys enters a room because they're the best in their sport during that particular year. And this should be of acute interest to Detroit Tigers fans, since one of their players was one of the top candidates throughout the season.
Today, we present the 2007 SBN Baseball Award winner for the American League Most Valuable Player:
|C. C. Sabathia||-||-||-||-||-||-||1||-||-||-||5|
|J. J. Putz||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||1||1|
Each of the American League's other award winners won by a decisive margin in SB Nation voting, and the MVP total wasn't likely to be an exception. Magglio Ordonez put up the best numbers of his career, batting .363/.434/.595 with 28 home runs and 139 RBI. Midway through the season, the Tigers looked like the best team in baseball, and Maggs was a big reason for that, driving in run after run. He became a near-automatic doubles machine (finishing with 54), developing a particular expertise at hitting the ball to the opposite field. Virtually every player in the lineup benefited from his success, with opposing pitchers wanting to prevent runners from being on base when Ordonez stepped to the plate.
As both a Tigers fan and a baseball fan, it was an absolute joy to watch that sort of sustained excellence through a 162-game season. Ordonez's 2007 season is one I'll always remember.
As the season moved into its final two months, however, another player's numbers were too incredible to ignore. 54 home runs and 156 RBI. A .314/.422/.645 average. Had the New York Yankees continued to struggle and toil outside of the AL playoff race, maybe Alex Rodriguez's astounding home run totals could've been noted with a qualifier. But once the Yankees surged their way back into the Wild Card (and AL East) race, A-Rod's highlight reel carried an added weight of significance with it.
If there was any question about the AL MVP race, it was likely whether or not Ordonez would still finish in second place, with David Ortiz putting up big numbers to keep the Red Sox ahead of the Yankees toward the end of the season. But Ordonez ended up winning second place by a comfortable margin.
At first glance, I thought it was a pleasant - though well deserved - surprise to see Curtis Granderson finish in the top 10 of the final balloting. But with the season he had - batting .302/.361/.552, with the celebrated "Quad 20" of 23 home runs, 38 doubles, 28 triples, and 26 stolen bases, in addition to his 74 RBI and outstanding defensive play in center field - you could really make a good case for him being in the top five. But between the season Ordonez was having for the Tigers, the relative newness of his major league career, and the excellent numbers posted by other candidates, Granderson was going to finish low in the voting totals. (But watch out for him next year.)
Thinking back to my own voting, I regret putting Granderson so low on my ballot. But I didn't want to look like a homer. I shouldn't have cared, because others were likely to put their team's candidate higher on their respective ballots. So why not stick up for my guy? Oh, well. C'est la vie. You live, you learn.
Here's how I voted:
- Alex Rodriguez
- Magglio Ordonez
- David Ortiz
- Vladimir Guerrero
- Victor Martinez
- Mike Lowell
- Ichiro Suzuki
- Jorge Posada
- Carlos Pena
- Curtis Granderson
In the National League, the top three finishers in SB Nation voting were Colorado's Matt Holliday, Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins. Since the MVP ballots are so large, I won't post the voting totals today, but you can find them at any of the NL SB Nation blogs. At Viva El Birdos, for instance, Larry explained his voting process thoroughly. If I'd filled out a NL ballot, my first-place vote probably would've gone to Rollins. And I'm not sure how I'd be feeling about that today.
So where would you have put your Detroit Tigers on the MVP ballot? Did I put Granderson far too low, worrying too much about a hometown vote? Should I have included Polanco? And c'mon - what about Timo?
UPDATE: I asked The Detroit Tigers Weblog to fill out BYB's second ballot, and Billfer graciously obliged. You can view his voting results here.