Sometimes, baseball writers will try to out-smart themselves when looking for an MVP or Cy Young award winner. They will look at numerous stats (or ignore them completely) and often lose sight of the big picture. This is not one of those times.
Victor Martinez was the Tigers' Most Valuable Player in 2014.
Could you make a case for someone else? Sure. Ian Kinsler led the team with 5.5 WAR. Miguel Cabrera was right on his heels with 5.4 WAR. Cabrera led the team with 109 RBI and, despite his injuries, still ended the year with a 147 wRC+. J.D. Martinez came out of nowhere and helped stabilize an outfield that desperately needed someone -- anyone -- to step up.
But Martinez was better. He hit .335/.409/.565 with 32 home runs and 102 RBI. He finished the season with a .411 wOBA and 166 wRC+. All of those numbers (besides the RBI) led the team. Martinez also chipped in at first base, providing adequate defense when Miguel Cabrera needed a day off. He was without a doubt the team's best hitter, and arguably the best hitter in the American League in 2014.
In order to truly appreciate what Martinez was able to do in 2014, let's look at how other designated hitters have fared in recent years. Over the past 10 seasons, only nine DHs have accumulated 4.4 WAR or more. Three of those seasons belong to David Ortiz. Martinez's 166 wRC+ is tied for third during this stretch -- behind a pair of Ortiz seasons -- and his .411 wOBA is 10th.
The choice seems obvious to me, but let's hear what you think! Who is the Tigers' 2014 MVP?