I was thinking about the 2009 MVP awards and getting all cynical about how the BBWAA only recognizes players when they finally start hitting the long ball. After all, Joe Mauer’s 28 homeruns was twice his previous high three years ago. Mauer had all (ok, most) of the tools necessary to garner the award already but the boost in power clinched it.
But then I thought back to last year. Oh yeah, Dustin Pedroia. As much as a surprise as it was to me, Pedroia came through with the 2008 MVP award with a measly 17 homeruns for the Boston Red Sox (yeah, yeah, go ahead… scream East Coast bias all you want. Yankee writers vote on this too).
A little bit of related MVP trivia… who was the last National League player with less than 20 homers to win the MVP? It’s been a few years. Answer at the end.
It was more than the power in of itself though. An intriguing statistic… Joe Mauer led the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. No big deal? Except it hasn’t been done since George Brett did it in 1980.
Cocky sports show host Sam Panayotovich, who guest posted the MVP predictions on TBZ in September, shot me an email. Referring to his article, he wrote, “Man, this guy was right on the money. ;).”
Sure enough, Sam correctly picked Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols to win the big one. But let’s be fair. Albert Pujols was a gimme. :) The entire BBWAA thought the same way.
Seriously, it was a nice call, Sam. Out of all of our analysts who predicted the awards, I think he was the only one to get them both right.
Mauer wasn’t unanimous and that’s not too surprising. What is strange is that the lone dissenting vote didn’t go to second place Mark Teixeira or even third place Derek Jeter. Fourth place Miguel Cabrera was the recipient of the gratuitous #1 vote.
Oh back to the trivia question, who was the last NL MVP player with under 20 homers???
It was Barry Larkin in 1995. Larkin hit .319 with 15 homers with 98 runs and 66 rbis. He also stole 51 bases and won the Gold Glove that year.