The baseball season is coming down the stretch, and with that, there are plenty of races to keep an eye on. Some of those races are division and wild card races, but competition for individual awards is heating up as well.
One of the biggest toss-ups when it comes to handing out end-of-season hardware is the American League MVP award. There are plenty of viable options, and none of them show any real signs of slowing down.
The Red Sox boast a couple of legitimate MVP candidates in their lineup. Adrian Gonzalez has been one of the most consistent players on any team in either league all year, and he has started to heat up again as August comes to a close. Also, Jacoby Ellsbury continues to prove how valuable he is, perhaps evidenced most by his recent return in which the Boston offense started clicking immediately.
In New York, center fielder Curtis Granderson is having an MVP-worthy campaign, at least in terms of offense. Granderson has taken full advantage of Yankee Stadium's short left field porch and has been among the league leaders in home runs for much of the year.
Speaking of home runs, Jose Bautista looks poised to once again lead the league in round-trippers. The outfielder/third baseman continues to mash up in Toronto, but may lose out on MVP consideration considering the fact that he plays on a team that will not be playing in the playoffs.
Finally, if you're one of those who say that pitchers should be considered in MVP discussions, then you have to think that Justin Verlander is right up there with those position players. The Tigers ace has been unhittable at times this season and always gives Detroit a chance to win when he takes the mound.
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