Wednesday, September 19, 2012
MVP: Don't ignore Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton
By Richard Durrett
There's a debate on ESPN.com (Insider) right now about which player should win the AL MVP, and it centers around two names: Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera.
I get it. Those are the two biggest names and they certainly have to be considered favorites. But is this MVP discussion only reserved for those two guys? What about two players having terrific seasons in helping the Texas Rangers to the best record in the American League?
It seems like Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton aren't getting enough consideration these days. I understand that Trout has taken the league by storm and has a WAR number that is ridiculous. And Cabrera is making a push at the Triple Crown. But Hamilton and Beltre have their own impressive numbers, too.
Hamilton is the only thing standing in Cabrera's way when it comes winning the Triple Crown. Hamilton has a career-high 42 home runs, two more than the Detroit slugger. He's also second to Cabrera in RBIs with 123 (Cabrera's tremendous Monday night helped him build that lead). Where he lacks a bit is average, hitting .287. But he's got a .947 OPS and has once again proven to be a solid defensive player in center fielder.
Beltre, meanwhile, has the fourth-best WAR number in the AL and is hitting .316, the fifth-best mark in the AL. He has hit 33 homers, seventh in the league. But his defense stacks up with anyone in the game. Beltre is second among third baseman in defensive runs saved with 16 and has provided important leadership in the clubhouse.
The other natural question that comes out of this is which of the two is more valuable to the Rangers. We discussed this last week. I give the slight advantage to Beltre, simply because I think his defense at third base has impacted the entire infield and he's still added critical pop with the bat. And don't forget: Having Beltre at cleanup certainly helps protect Hamilton.
The middle part of MVP is "valuable," and both of these guys are invaluable to this Rangers squad. I'm not suggesting either should win the MVP. But both should part of a handful of players in the discussion.