Posted at 9:47 PM on September 11, 2007
by Chris Dall
As we head into the home stretch and watch the Twins slog through a September of meaningless games, it's time to look at the teams who are playing meaningful games, and more specifically, the players who have put them in position to do so.
There are three players in the running, but really, I think we all know who's going to take home the award this year, and his name sounds like stray cod. Yes, love or hate him (or, if you're a Yankee fan, love him, but just not as much as Derek Jeter), it's hard to argue against Alex Rodriguez. First, there are the numbers, which are just ridiculous--.318 with 52 home runs, 140 RBI, 133 runs scored, a .424 on-base percentage, and a .672 slugging percentage. And there are still 20 games left. But more importantly, Rodriguez kept the Yankees afloat when the rest of the team wasn't hitting and there was no pitching, and he's been the force behind their great second half. If they make the playoffs, and it looks like they will, he's a lock.
If you're not inclined toward the pinstripes, you could then make a case for Magglio Ordonez, who'd probably be a lock in any other year. He leads the American League in batting with a .359 average, to go along with 26 home runs and 128 RBI. But Detroit's awful second half isn't helping his case. Then there's Vladimir Guerrero, who's quietly having another splendid year for division-leading LA and is really the only power threat in the Angel's lineup. And he's got a really cool name. But again, despite the fact that LA will most likely win the West, his season is being completely overshadowed by ARod.
This is a closer race, with no real clear-cut leader at this point. As a Met fan, I'll of course make my case for David Wright, hitting .316 with 28 home runs, 95 RBI, a .411 OBP and 31 stolen bases. The numbers certainly aren't eye-popping, but he's been the most consistent hitter all year for a Mets team that looks like it will win it's second straight division title.
Wright's main competition comes from not one but three different members of the Philadelphia Phillies--Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard. Howard stands out in home runs and RBI (38 and 115), Utley is vying for the batting title, and Rollins has just had an all-around terrific season, batting .296 with 26 home runs and 81 RBI in the leadoff spot. If the Phillies make the playoffs, any one of these guys could win it, or they all could cancel each other out.
And that could pave the way for Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, who's been phenomenal in only his second year, leading the National League in home runs with 44. If the Brew Crew can manage to win the Central Division, he's got a strong case.
Am I missing anybody?