ESPN.com's Jayson Stark did an update on the season-ending awards and talked about the AL MVP. His question: How does Josh Hamilton's injury impact his ability to win it? Here is part of Stark's entry:
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no position player in history has won an MVP in a non-strike year without playing at least 10 games from Sept. 1 on. And all but Dick Groat (10 games and 35 plate appearances in 1960) played at least 15 games.
Well, at this point, it's looking less and less likely that Hamilton will play 15 games after August this year. At the moment, his entire September body of work consists of two games and six plate appearances. So maybe he still deserves the MVP whether he makes an impact the rest of the way or not. But if he doesn't, well, then who?
Clearly, Miguel Cabrera would win the Prettiest Stats Award. He ranks in the top three in all the Triple Crown categories, leads in OBP and OPS, and has a great shot to break the AL record for intentional walks. (At 30, he's three away.) But his team hasn't been closer than nine games out of any playoff spot in five weeks.
So if we look just at contenders, there's Paul Konerko (top five in a bunch of categories, and having a monster September). And there's Joe Mauer (hitting .370 with a .448 OBP since the break). And there's Evan Longoria (top three in the league, ahead of even Cabrera, in WAR). And there's Robinson Cano (fifth in VORP and OPS-plus), who has been by far the most consistent force on the league's best team, the Yankees.
For the moment, I'm still casting my vote for Hamilton. But if he doesn't show up in a single box score over the next two weeks, get back to me.
Hamilton is still in wait-and-see mode on his bruised ribs. And I still think he'll get in at least a week of games or so before the end of the season. I'd be tempted to vote for him as MVP even if he doesn't, since he played at such a high level to put the Rangers in the position they're in. But that does make it a tougher decision.
Would he still get your vote if he doesn't play the rest of the regular season?