Who's your 2012 Rangers MVP?
|ESPN MLB insider Jim Bowden joins Ben and Skin for a walk around the Rangers Hot Stove.
* Adrian Beltre. When it comes to "value," it's difficult to imagine anyone with a higher one than Beltre. He hit .321 with 36 homers and 102 RBIs with a .359 on-base percentage and a .561 slugging percentage. He won a Gold Glove for his defensive play at third base and he showed a high level of toughness, playing through obvious pain late in the season and delivering some big hits in the final few weeks.
* Josh Hamilton. His final few weeks are still fresh on everyone's minds, but take a step back and look at his overall production. He batted .285 with 43 homers and 128 RBIs. The homers challenged Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown attempt until the very end. He had a .354 on-base percentage and a .577 slugging percentage, the highest on the team.
* Matt Harrison. He received two fifth-place votes in the AL Cy Young voting after putting up 18 wins and a 3.29 ERA in a breakout season. Harrison solidified himself as an upper-rotation starter in 2012, pitching 213 1/3 innings (a team-high) with 133 strikeouts and 59 walks. He had four complete games and made 32 starts.
* Yu Darvish. The rookie had a memorable season, especially the final six weeks. His last eight starts: 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA. And that doesn't include a terrific performance under the pressure of the AL wild-card game. The 26-year-old is now the No. 1 pitcher on the staff. His 2013 mission: cut down on his walks. He had 89, fourth-most in the league. But Darvish was 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and for a guy that had to make a ton of adjustments (new country, culture, team, league, etc.), it was a highly successful first campaign in the big leagues.
* Joe Nathan. The veteran turned into one of the best offseason bullpen signings in the league. The Rangers didn't wait around, inking Nathan to a two-year deal last November, and he was solid. He had 37 saves in 40 chances, a 92.5 percent success rate that is third in the AL (behind Fernando Rodney and Jim Johnson).
From that group, Beltre is the clear choice at No. 1 for me. I'd put Hamilton in second. I do think, though, that third is up for grabs. Harrison clearly has to get consideration with his 18 wins and all the innings he piled up. But don't forget about Nathan. He locked down games late in 2012. He was as close to automatic as you could get from mid-April to mid-September, converting 31 consecutive saves. I think relievers don't get as much credit as they deserve many times and Nathan was critical for the back end of this bullpen.
So who's your MVP? Give us your top 3 and tell us why.
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