Author's Note: Anywhere that I say FCB, it just mean's "stlfan's picks" basically. I wrote this elsewhere first.
AJ Pollock of the Arizona Diamondbacks will be my first elimination. Out of these 5 candidates, he was the one who EASILY had the majority of his value come from defense - which is the least reliable sub-portion of WAR. Defense basically took him from the 10th (or so) most valuable NL rookie (position player) to the 2nd most. It's not that I don't think he'sthat good defensively, I just haven't seen enough (using the ol' eye test) of him to know - and my vote doesn't count, so I don't have to have seen him. I don't trust defensive stats enough to say that his D made up for him being the around 10th otherwise. Also, he's only the third best defensive rookie in the NL, according to these stats and neither of the other two (Juan Lagares or Nolan Arenado) made my final five, so why should he not be voted off the island?
Jordy Mercer and Evan Gattis get to go down swinging together. Mercer and Gattis were probably not as worthy as several other candidates, but they were on winning ball clubs, and like it or not voters look at that for consideration on every award they hand out. Would I rather have one of those two or Jedd Gyorko or Scooter Gennett on my team? Probably one of the latter. However, the former two have a better supporting cast, so they get the nod here. (I mean seriously - Scooter Gennett - what a name and what a debut!)
Matt Adams and Yasiel Puig I think need to at least be mentioned together. Matt Adams played in 108 games this year and Yasiel Puig played in 104. That is quite misleading, however. Adams was a bench bat nearly the entire year until September, while Puig was a starter for the majority of the year. How do I know this? Well, 1) you can't have missed Puig being a starter due to MLB Network's and ESPN's incessant coverage of him back earlier in the summer and 2) I'm a Cardinals' fan, so I know exactly how Adams was used. Thirdly, Adams played in 4 more games, yet had less than 3/4 of Puig's plate appearances. Despite that HUGE gap in playing time and plate appearances, Matt Adams finished the year with just 2 less home runs and 9 more RBI than Puig.
If you just count Adams' last 24 games, in which he was a starter in 20 of them due to Allen Craig's injury in September, he was phenomenal. In less than 1/3 of his season plate appearances, Adams had 8 of his 17 homers, 15 of his 51 RBI, 29 of his 84 hits, 19 of his 46 runs scored, an OBP over .350, a slugging over .625, and an OPS approaching 1.000!
That being said, Puig had 432 plate appearances of a .319/.391/.534/.925 line! Puig's traditional stats in the NL rookie race would rank him 6th in doubles; 5th in RBI; 3rd in hits, singles, and home runs; 2nd in batting average and stolen bases; and tops in runs scored, on base percentage, and slugging percentage (not to mention wOBA, wRC+, and fWAR).
Moving on to the pitcher candidates that I provided nearly a week ago: Gerrit Cole, Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Julio Teheran. I will break them down bit by bit as well.
First of all, these 6 finished 1-6 in fWAR for NL rookie pitchers. They were the only 6 to break 2 fWAR. Two of them broke 3 fWAR, with 1 of the 2 reaching over 4 fWAR.
My first elimination is, sadly, Trevor Rosenthal. However, it should be noted here that while only 1 of the other 5 candidates struck out over 1 man per inning (9.75 K/9 for Jose Fernandez), Rosenthal struck out 12.90 men per 9 innings out of the bullpen for St. Louis! That was easily tops among NL rookie pitchers, with only bullpen teammate Kevin Siegrist coming close at 11.34. Not only was that the case, but he walked fewer than two of the other five listed pitchers, who were all starters. THAT is the lone reason why Rosenthal was first man eliminated. Rosie had the lowest FIP and xFIP of the five, but was the only one to throw less than 117 1/3 innings - and he only threw 75 1/3 because he was coming out of the bullpen. Rosie had a much better fWAR per inning than any of the other 5, but that's not what wins you RoY honors. Sorry Rosie.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh fans, Gerrit Cole is the next player off of my list. He is the starter who threw 117 1/3 innings. While I think that Cole was as good as the other starters in the time that he pitched, he threw >50 fewer innings than any of the other 5. If I'm eliminating Rosenthal for similar reasons, despite him being phenomenal, then Cole must go as well.
At this point, Julio Teheran and Shelby Miller are probably the next two to go. They both had FIPs in the 3.65-3.70 range and xFIPs in the 3.70-3.80 range. They both had fWARs in the 2.0-2.5 range. They both struck out between 8 and 9 batters every 9 innings, while Shleby walked more than than Julio and Julio had a worse record and home run rate (both ever so slightly) than Shelby.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is the last elimination for pitchers and it's really not that close. While Ryu was nearly a full half point better (0.43-0.45) in the FIP department and nearly as much so in xFIP, he struck out the fewest per 9 innings and walked the 4th most per 9 innings of the 6 listed. He's a pitcher any rotation would be happy to have, as he produces ground balls at an awesome rate - over 50%! He eats a ton of innings - over 190! He helped my fantasy team to a championship (before I traded him at the end of the year to boost a different stat and take over the lead.) However...
Jose Fernandez is my choice for best rookie pitcher of 2013 in the NL. The FIP and xFIP disparity between he and Ryu was larger than Ryu's to the next person - that's how much better a pitcher Fernandez was than any other rookie this year. Heck, he could very well get MVP votes - whereas none of the other pitchers will. (I wouldn't, but someone might.) Over 172 2/3 innings, Fernandez struck out 9.75 men per 9 innings. He was able to do that and still walk just over 3 per 9. His ballpark and skill combined to have him give up just over a homer every 18 innings...not just 9. You know how much I dislike the "win" statistic here, as a measure of it's own, but taken in context it can be quite useful. The Miami Marlins went 62-100 this year. Fernandez went 12-6. That means his team went just 50-94 in other players' starts. Are you kidding me?
What I think will happen is that Puig will beat Fernandez due to the Dodgers making the playoffs, and I would rank Yasiel Puig as my Rookie of the Year, as well. He stepped onto the scene when the Dodgers badly needed an outfielder to hit like Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier (because Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were not hitting like their former selves) - and Puig might have been better than that. It was a phenomenal year for a phenomenal talent.
Congrats Pweeeeeg! Good luck in the future.
I have no idea why I started with the N.L. over the A.L. This is downright disappointing in comparison. The list of pitching candidates, while long, is woefully underwhelming. The top fWAR for pitchers in the AL is lower than all 6 of the candidates in the NL. Yes, Trevor Rosenthal - throwing just 75 innings out of the bullpen - was worth more to his team than every single AL rookie starting pitcher, throwing any number of innings for his team. Can I just give the award to Rosie? No? Dangit.
Chris Archer, Sean Doolittle, Danny Farquhar, Martin Perez, and Dan Straily are quite good talents, despite my first paragraph. ANY team in the league would be lucky to have any of the 5 on their staff. Now, the Detroit Tigers might not start any of them, because they're ridiculous, but we'll get to that when we come to the AL Cy Young.
While Martin Perez, Chris Archer, and Dan Straily are all talented, they are probably the least talented of the five. They had K/9s between 6 and 8, while walking between 2.6 and 3.4 people per 9 innings as well. They all, also, have FIPs above 4.0 for the year.
So, in the A.L., for me it comes down to two relievers - Sean Doolittle and Danny Farquhar.Sean Doolittle had an awesome 1.7 BB/9, which allowed his 7.33 K/9 to work out quite well for him, as his K:BB was still over 4 out of the pen. Doolittle was also the more durable (or most used) of the two - getting 70 appearances and 69 innings with 1.6 fWAR due to a FIP under 3.
Danny Farquhar was better. Yes, he walked 3.56 per 9 innings - over double what Doolittle did. Yes, he only pitched 55 2/3 innings in 46 appearances. However, his 12.77 K/9, 0.32 HR/9 (zero point three two?) and a ground ball rate of 42.1% allowed him to pitch those 55 innings with a FIP under 2. Much like Rosenthal, he can use the K to his advantage and get out of any messes he allows. This allowed him to take over the closer role for a while in Seattle - garnering 16 saves as a rookie - tops in the AL and second in baseball (rookies only).
As disappointing as those candidates were after the NL's crop, the hitters only show slightly more promise - as a group. As individuals, there are some pretty mean numbers out there, however. The 6 candidates at which I will look are: Kole Calhoun, Jose Iglesias, David Lough, Brad Miller, Wil Myers, and JB Shuck (reluctantly).
JB Shuck led all AL rookies in runs scored, with 60. He also led the AL rookies in plate appearances and simply does not strike out. That said, he is likely the third most talented outfielder on this list and gets eliminated. However, batting 1 or 2 spots ahead of Mike Trout, Puig may have scored 100 runs because he got on base .060 higher than Shuck. The top player on my board, who will be revealed momentarily, probably would have scored at least 75-80 runs hitting where Shuck did.
Who wouldn't have scored more runs hitting in front of Trout than Shuck? David Lough of the Kansas City Royals wouldn't have. Nope. Much like AJ Pollock in the NL, Lough garnered most of his fWAR using defense. While I did get to see Lough play a lot, and his defense is quite good, I also got to see Lough not get on base much and not be fast enough to offset not getting on base a lot and not play so ridiculous a defense that he doesn't get on base a lot. Lough is my next cut. Sorry Royals' fans. I like him, too. (Please upgrade RF for next year, though - David Glass and Dayton Moore. If you're reading this...ha!)
Jose Iglesias and Brad Miller are both shortstops and I would love for either to be on the St. Louis Cardinals. Please? I'll give you Kozma, straight up! He's a former September and October hero. Okay, I'll throw in David Freese if I get to pick one more minor leaguer below AA in return. No? Dang. Iglesias and Miller are both above average defensive shortstops, but I wouldn't quite call them "defense first" shortstops. They have very different batting profiles, despite both ending up very similar in terms of value to the team (slightly above average there as well.) Igelsias gets on base at a .349 clip, but only slugs .386; whereas Miller only gets on base 31.8% of the time yet slugs 32 points higher than Iglesias. Miller had 5 more homers. They both stole 5 bases as well - so there is a little speed there - but both were right around average running the bases (Miller slightly better.)
That leaves Kole Calhoun - which to me seems the douchiest name of the lot...Kole with a K and then Calhoun with a C? Strangeness. Yes, I only said that to continue making fun of Angels ...however, this is the Angels' rookie outfielder I would take if I could take one. Calhoun is only 4 months older than Shuck and has hit at every level in the minors - and showed he could hit MLB pitching this year as well. His 126 wRC+ is by far the second best in the league to Myers' 131. Calhoun had a .282/.347/.462 line this year, with 8 homers, and 17 extra base hits in just 222 plate appearances. He scored 29 runs and had 32 RBI, mainly because he hit near the bottom of the order - but not close enough to the top OR bottom to benefit from being anywhere close to Mike Trout. His .179 ISO was also second to Myers. Calhoun, like Myers, ran slightly better than average and played slightly worse D than an average outfielder this year. Wil Myers, with one "l" in Wil to continue the weird name thing, was better. In 373 plate appearances, Myers hit .293/.354/.478 with above average base running, 13 homers, 50 runs scored and 53 RBI. He also stole 5 bases and allowed the Royals to stay in contention this season - but possibly not for future seasons, depending on your view of what is known as "The Trade" in Kansas City. Surprisingly, with zero percent of my feelings towards Myers' Rookie of the Year candidacy having to do with "The Trade," Wil Myers was still the best rookie in the AL this year - and I think by as wide a margin as Yasiel Puig, personally.
Congrats Wil! Good luck in the future.
American League Cy Young
The FCB AL CYA candidates that I broke earlier in the week were: Darvish, Hernandez, Holland, Iwakuma, Lester, Masterson, Price, Sale, Sanchez, Scherzer, Shields, and Verlander. That is one hefty haul at 12 pitchers to sift through. So, I will be cutting that list in half immediately.
Justin Masterson was very good this year. He led the American League in complete game shutouts, despite throwing his last three games (and starting the playoffs) out of the bullpen. That is where his Cy Young candidacy begins - and ends, unfortunately for him. He's out. David Price only threw 186 2/3 innings. Everyone else remaining (save one) threw more than 200 innings. He's out. Hisashi Iwakuma, Jon Lester, James Shields, and Derek Hollandall had K/9 between 7.28 and 7.99, all had BB/9 between 1.72 and 2.83 (Yes, slightly larger difference there...), all had fWARs in the 4s. Not only that, but they all had FIPs in the 3.26 to 3.59 range and xFIPs in the 3.28 to 3.90 range and ERAs in the 2.66 to 3.75 range. However, these players were all over the board on those three stats - as individuals.They're all out. That's 6. Boom. Done. Next?
Chris Sale and Justin Verlander had incredible seasons. In fact, if you were to ask me which ONE SINGLE American League pitcher I would want for ONE YEAR coming into the 2013 season, I would have taken Justin Verlander and it would not have taken me long to do so. If you could give me one single American League pitcher to start the 2014 season, I very well may go with Chris Sale...and that may not take me too long. However, in 2013, while fantastic, they were not good enough to garner my Cy Young vote.
There have been over 2,000 pitchers throw over 200 innings in the past 53 seasons - since the 1961 expansion. Yu Darvish completed that feat this year. Not so special you say? Darvish had an 11.89 K/9. Pedro Martinez struck out more men per 9 innings one time and Randy Johnson did the same 6 times. Those are the only 7 single seasons (and only 2 pitchers) in the past 53 years to do a better job in that particular aspect of pitching that Yu Darvish in 2013. Holy cow! However, even his 2.83 ERA, 3.28 FIP, and 2.84 xFIP are out, likely due to a 3.43 BB/9 and just 5 fWAR compared to others on the list, He's out.
Let me put Felix Hernandez's 2013 season in perspective for you. We talked about the 2,000+ seasons of 200 inning pitchers in the last 53 years. Felix Hernandez put together a combination of statistics that could put any of them to shame...in fact, he did. While a dozen or so pitchers have had the combination of over 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings AND 2.1 walks or less per nine innings - NOBODY had done so and also gotten over 50% of the balls hit to be ground balls - until now. Felix Hernandez's GB% was 51.4% - and we all know that ground balls go for hits less often than line drives and go for extra bases less often than fly balls. Ground Balls are good. Just ask Seth Maness.
What's left are two Tigers, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer. Sanchez only threw 29 games and 182 innings on the year, but did so in such a way that makes him still garner some interest. Out of the 12 candidates, he had the lowest ERA, lowest xFIP, and 2nd lowest FIP, while garnering the 2nd most fWAR. I know that I rail on wins as a stand alone statistic, but my favorite way to look at wins and losses for an individual pitcher is to compare that to how your team did. Yes, a pitcher can have a lucky season in which their team goes out there and averages 8 runs per game for them and 3 runs per game for a staff-mate. However, over the course of a year, things usually tend to even out a bit. Max Scherzer was 21-3 for a 93-69 team this year. In his starts, the team was 25-7! If every starter on his staff gave his team 25 chances to win ball games every year, they could win 125 games. The RECORD for ANY TEAM EVER in MLB is 116 wins. Not only that, but Scherzer was the only starter other than Yu Darvish to strike out over 10 men per 9 innings this year, and only walked 2.35 men per 9 innings (over 1 less than Darvish, giving him a better K:BB.) He also led the league in fWAR with 6.4.
Those two Tigers had flat out awesome years and need to be recognized as such. My vote for best American League pitcher goes to Max Scherzer - Parkway Central High graduate and former student of my father - but not for those reasons. Congrats on your year, Max!
National League Cy Young
In the NL, my list only contained 8 names: Burnett, Chacin, Fernandez, Harvey, Kershaw, Latos, Lee, and Wainwright.
Let's get started immediately. This is less daunting than the 12 in the AL, but still 8 is a high number. Wins and losses still matter to the voters. AJ Burnett played for a 90+ win ball club and went 10-11. He's out. Strikeouts per nine innings are HUGE to me here at FCB. Jhoulys Chacin struck out less than 6 people per 9 innings. He's out. Jose Fernandez will get a ton of votes for Rookie of the Year and will likely be on the leaderboard for the Cy Young voting again in the future, as he is all of 7 (errr....20) years old and pitching this well already. Voters will take that into consideration and will likely pass on him because of it - and because others were better. He's out. Down to 5. Much better.
Matt Harvey is my next man to cut. He probably would have come close to winning it had his season not been derailed by an injury that could keep him out all of next season as well. After having just 26 starts this year, he still ended up 3rd in the NL in fWAR! Incredible. Great season. He's out.
Mat Latos is my last cut before we hit the "big 3" in the NL. Latos was great for the Cincinnati Reds, and earned the "play in game" starter role. However, he's the only one of the four left who struck out less than 8 per 9 innings (7.99). He's the only one of the four left who walked more than 2 per inning (2.48). He's the only one of the four left who was under 5.0 fWAR (4.4). He's the only one of the four left who had an ERA/FIP/xFIP all over 3.0 (3.16/3.10/3.56). For those reasons - he's out.
That leaves two left-handed pitchers and one right-handed pitcher on my board. I'm going to talk about one lefty and one righty first. Two post-seasons ago was one of the best individual games that I have ever missed in my entire life. The St. Louis Cardinals' Chris Carpenter faced off against the Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay in a game 5, winner-take-all, epic battle-of-the-ages 1-0 knucklebiter in the NLDS that the Cardinals pulled on en route to their 11th World Series Championships. While both of those two former Blue Jay teammates have gotten older and more injury prone, two of their younger (relatively) teammates have stepped up and become sole aces of their respective staffs. For the Cardinals, that righty is Adam Wainwright. For the Phillies, that lefty is Cliff Lee.
Wainwright and Lee were nearly the same efficient pitcher this year. They both struck out between 8 and 9 batters per 9 innings. They both pitched over 220 innings. They both walked 1.3 batters per 9 or less. They had ERAs 0.07 apart and xFIPs 0.02 apart. They had similar fWAR totals (although Waino clearly won that category). Neither could match the other lefty on this list, however.
Clayton Kershaw, called "The Claw" (according to baseball-reference) had a season for the ages. His "impressive, but not ridiculous" stats are an 8.85 K/9 and 1.98 BB/9, combined with 236 innings in 33 starts. His "getting more ridiculous" stats include stranding over 80% of the baserunners of which he allowed on the season and giving up homers on just 5.8% of his fly balls allowed, a .192 batting average allowed, and a 0.92 WHIP (basically gave up a runner in only 9 of every 10 innings pitched? WHAT? OVER 236 INNINGS?) Oh yeah, he also had an ERA of 1.83 - yes, ONE POINT EIGHT THREE. That, folks, is your NL Cy Young Winner - Clayton Kershaw, everybody!
National League Most Valuable Player
The NL MVP Award candidates are: Carpenter, Choo, Freeman, Goldschmidt, Gomez, McCutchen, Molina, Tulowitzki, and Votto.
Insomuch that he is the third best at his position just on this list of 9 players, Freddie Freeman is the first person that I cut from the list of 9 NL MVP candidates. His combination of a .396 on base percentage and a slugging just over .500 is a fantastic feat within itself and should be commended as such. Well done sir. He's out.
Looking at the rest of the 8 candidates is a prime example of why it is so hard to define the world "valuable." On the list, we have two of the three best first basemen in either league (Votto and Goldschmidt), the best catcher in either league (Yadi), the best shortstop in either league (Tulo), the best second baseman in either league (this year - Carpenter), and two of the top three center fielders in either league (McCutchen and Gomez). The person I left out of that sentence is Shin-Soo Choo, who just happened to have a .423 on base percentage, steal 20 bases, and score 107 runs for a 90 win ball club. That said, as incredible as it is, he's out.
In my mind, shortstop is one of the toughest positions to play in the majors and having Troy Tulowitzki would help any team in the league. Unfortunately, this year it would have only helped his team for 126 games. With the least opportunity to help his team out of anyone remaining on the list, I have to eliminate Tulo. Sorry. He's out.
Truthfully, I feel that Matt Carpenter should not be eliminated so early. I would rather have him (this season) than either of the next two, but to ensure that the bias is not there - and since I don't have him winning anyway - I'll eliminate him now. I will admit, Matt Carpenter is my favorite Cardinal to watch take plate appearances right now. I am pretty sure that he knows the strike zone better than any umpire in the league at the moment - and I really hope it continues into next season. Any time you can say that you beat Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ben Zobrist, Chase Utley, Jason Kipnis, and a myriad other players in fWAR at second base, it's a banner day. To do it when you have NEVER BEFORE PLAYED 2ND BASE IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL? INCREDIBLE. However, he's out.
Carlos Gomez would be higher on my list except for the fact that I just don't want to vote for him. He seems to bring trouble upon himself too often. I don't know if it's just that the team's bad season got to him or what - but he got to be quite the hot-head at the end of the year. More baseball-specific, though - he has the lowest on base percentage of any of the NL Finalists I put out a week ago - and as we all know here on FCB, outs are the currency of baseball and he created more outs than anyone on my list.
Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt are two incredible first basemen. In fact, I would likely trade Allen Craig straight up for Paul Goldschmidt. Barring current contracts, I would do the same for Votto. Take that as you will, but remember that Allen Craig's nickname around these parts is "Man Crush" because that's how much I like Craig. Votto had the highest OBP of any hitter in the NL this year at .435. Goldschmidt had the highest slugging percentage of any hitter in the NL this year at .551. They are two very different first basemen, but two incredibly effective ones at playing their game and playing it better than anyone else at their position. That said, neither is a world beater defensively, and both are average at best on the base paths - despite Goldy's 15 stolen bases.
This leaves only two players - Yadier Molina and Andrew McCutchen. Besides shortstop, these two play the two most taxing positions on the field. Yadi catches for the Cardinals and McCutchen plays center field for the Pirates. Let me first put you at ease and say that Andrew McCutchen is my "Who I think will win NL MVP" choice. First, let me say why McCutchen will win. He only missed 5 games this year and came to bat 674 times. He hit 21 homers and stole 27 bases. He scored 97 runs and drove in 84 more. He walked nearly as much as he struck out. He hit over .315, got on base over .400, and slugged over .500 - my ".300/.400/.500 player at a premium position - center field." Not only does he play a premium position, but plays it darned well - and he runs the bases well, besides the steals. Dude finished with 8.2 fWAR, tops in the NL and 2nd in all of baseball. Now, let me tell you why I am going against the grain and picking Yadier Molina as my MVP - despite Yadi "only" earning 5.6 fWAR. The St. Louis Cardinals finished 32 games over .500 this year. When Yadier Molina started behind the plate, the St. Louis Cardinals were 83-46. That's 37 games over .500. That means that when other catchers started games for St. Louis, they were 5 games under .500 on the year. Yes, the same Cardinals that tied for the best record in the entire major leagues were reduced to a .424 win percentage (14-19 record) when they had to go without Yadi behind the plate. 5 teams in the major leagues finished worse than a .424 win percentage. Basically, Yadier Molina was worth 25 spots in the standings to the St. Louis Cardinals. THAT is Yadier Molina's impact.
American League Most Valuable Player
My American League MVP candidates are Cabrera, Cano, Davis, Donaldson, Longoria, Machado, and Trout.
Manny Machado is one of my favorite players to watch play defense in the entire game, but his hitting has not come far enough to be the AL MVP. He got on base less than any of the National League candidates for MVP and his .314 OBP is .029 points worse than anyone on the AL short-list. He's out.
Evan Longoria and Robinson Cano are two of the most well rounded players in either league. I truly enjoy them as players. Cano is the better hitter of the two, but is an average runner and defender to go along with it. He also has the perfect swing for his ball park. Likewise, Longoria's swing is great for Tropicana Field because of his line drive approach. He's a much better defender than Cano, but is not quite as adept with the bat in his hand. That said, he's above average at hitting and is about an average runner as well. They both hit in the middle of an AL East batting order, which is tough to do in itself. However, with the all around ball smashing that went on in the AL, they're out.
Are you surprised he made it this far? Yes, Josh Donaldson is 4th on my ballot for AL MVP. Who is Josh Donaldson you might ask? Well, he's the Oakland Athletics third baseman who hit about 48% better than average this year, was above average baserunning, was very much above average defensively at third base, and second in fWAR in the AL this year behind our Mike Trout (btw, Donaldson's out).
Despite finishing just 5th in fWAR, I think this name probably turned the most heads this year. I'm talking about Chris Davis, the Orioles MASHER of a first baseman. Davis finished just .002 slugging behind Miguel Cabrera - and was over .700 still at the All-Star Break! He hit 53 home runs, easily the tops in the majors, and led in RBI as well. He was most likely the 3rd best hitter in either league - after these two:
I am going with Mike Trout as my AL MVP - as I would have last year. Why you ask? Well, he can play all three outfield positions above average defensively. He gets on base over .400 (.432 this year). He hits well over .300 (.323 this year). He slugs over .550 (.557 this year). He can run - 8.1 baserunning runs above average and 33 steals this year. He has pop - 27 homers this year. He scored over 100 runs and drove in 97 more. He walks over 15% of the time and still does that damage with the bat - and keeps his Ks under 20%. Well done sir!
However, I will say that I believe Miguel Cabrera WILL WIN the actual award and here is why: It's simple. Last year, Cabrera put up a .330 average, .393 on base, and .606 slugging - with 44 homers and 109 RBI to win the Triple Crown. Last year, he won the MVP. This year, he was better than last year. This year, he hit .348 (.016 points higher), got on base 44.2% of the time - tops in either league - and slugged .030 points higher (.636), while hitting the same number of homers and driving in just 6 less runs, despite getting walked 4.3% of the time more often than last year and having 45 less plate appearances to begin with. WOWSERS