What a fascinating season 2012 proved to be. A Triple Crown, a division champion having spent just one day in first place and 19- and 20-year-olds taking the league by storm. As postseason baseball begins, it’s time to reflect on the season by showing off what would be my ballot for various awards. Today, I reveal the 10 players most deserving of Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors in the American League.
10 MVP Candidates for the American League
1. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
Triple crown or not, Miggy would have been our man. But we certainly can’t deny a triple crown winner.
2. Mike Trout, Los Angeles
There have been few sparks like Trout provided the Angels when he was called up in late April. Scoring 129 runs in basically five months is a tremendous accomplishment. But he has 19 fewer extra-base hits than Cabrera.
3. Adrian Beltre, Texas
The third baseman has been the most consistent hitter for the Rangers all season. He slugged .661 in August and September. He has been an elite hitter and defender.
4. Adam Jones, Baltimore
One reason the Orioles’ record in extra-inning games is so good: Jones’ four homers in the 11th inning or later.
5. Josh Hamilton, Texas
The soon-to-be free agent would rank higher if not for the swoon in June and July when he batted just .202.
6. Robinson Cano, New York
He’ll win this award one day. He competes defensively and produces runs.
7. Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto
The Blue Jays’ DH is all but forgotten in most conversations. But he has 42 dingers, 110 ribbies and a .384 OBP.
8. Prince Fielder, Detroit
The big fella has powered big hits in Motown down the stretch. His .313-30-108 season is overshadowed by Cabrera.
9. Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland
With no previous professional experience outside of Cuba, the rookie center fielder has delivered on his promise after signing a four-year deal.
10. Derek Jeter, New York
The future Hall of Fame shortstop led the AL with 216 hits and is fifth in the league in batting.