By Joe Christensen
I think Joe Mauer’s a lock for MVP today. The official announcement comes at 1 p.m., but we could hold the press conference now.
The BBWAA strongly encourages voters not to reveal their choices before the announcement gets made, but to get a feel, note that Mauer received 20 of 22 first-place votes in ESPN’s in-house poll, with Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter getting the others.
Jeter and Teixeira had fantastic seasons. Mauer’s was historic. He was the first AL player since George Brett in 1980 to lead the league in batting average (.365), OPB (.444) and SLG (.587).
Teixeira tied Carlos Pena for the AL lead with 39 home runs and led the league with 122 RBI. That’s impressive, but it’s worth noting that Teixeira also played in a hitter’s paradise and had more RBI chances than anyone. According to Baseball Prospectus, Teixeira had 508 runners on base for his plate appearances this season. The next closest AL hitter was teammate Robinson Cano, with 476.
Mauer ranked 49th on that list with 355 runners on base and still managed a career-high 96 RBI. For more on Mauer’s MVP chances, click here, or to see La Velle and I break it down on video, click here. Howard Sinker weighs in today, noting that the MVP is not a lifetime achievement award.
Update: Mauer won with 27 of 28 first-place votes. The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera got the other first-place vote. Counting the vote totals, Mark Teixeira finished second behind Mauer, with Derek Jeter third, Cabrera fourth and Kendry Morales fifth.
Jason Kubel received one eighth-place vote, and Michael Cuddyer received both an eighth and a 10th.