Vote: Who Should Be Named American League MVP?


Vote: Who Should Be Named American League MVP?Often times there is a clear-cut winner when it comes to the American League MVP — or at least a front-runner. But this season's voting is a bit intriguing, as voters have a number of things they have to consider.

Much of this year's debate is centering around how much Tigers ace Justin Verlander should be considered. For years, there's been varying opinions on whether a pitcher should be considered for MVP, or if the Cy Young Award is, in essence, the pitcher's version of the honor. How the voters feel about pitchers winning the award will have huge implications this year, and it could be biggest deciding factor in who comes away with the hardware.

Either way, though, there's no denying that Verlander's season was truly special. No matter how you look at it, he was the best pitcher in baseball, and therefore there's going to be some voters who place him at the top of their ballot.

Verlander earned the pitcher's triple crown, as his 24 wins, 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts were all tops in the AL. His 0.920 WHIP, 251 innings pitched and 8.5 WAR were also league highs. He was 24-5 overall in 34 starts, and was the unanimous Cy Young Award winner.

However, there will be some who feel that a position player who plays every day is inherently more valuable than a starter who pitches just once every five days. And for those voters, there's still a number of impressive names to consider.

Jacoby Ellsbury's Red Sox may have suffered one of the worst collapses in MLB history, but it doesn't take away the fact that the speedy outfielder put together one of the finest seasons in franchise history.

Ellsbury compiled 212 hits, hit. 321, blasted 32 dingers and drove in 105 runs. The 28-year-old also swiped 39 bases, earned a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award. His 364 total bases were the most among American Leaguers.

The Yankees also featured a MVP candidate in their outfield, as Curtis Granderson put together a solid 2011 campaign. He had 41 home runs, in addition to 119 RBIs and 136 runs, which were both the highest such totals in the AL. Like Ellsbury, he earned a Silver Slugger Award.

Then, there's Jose Bautista. His Blue Jays finished fourth in the competitive AL East, but there's no denying that he's become a beast north of the border.

Bautista led the AL in home runs for the second straight year, following up his 54-homer 2010 with 43 bombs in 2011. He also drove in 103 runs and hit .302. His 149 runs created was the best mark in the AL, as was his 1.056 OPS, helping him to sweep the 2011 outfield Silver Slugger awards with Ellsbury and Granderson.

So certainly the voters have their work cut out for them this year. We've seen pitchers get overlooked in the past, but could this season be different because of Verlander's historic season? Or will one of the three impressive sluggers capture the honor?

We'll find out Monday, but who gets your vote?

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