2011 MLB MVP Predictions
With the 2011 MLB regular season about a month away, it’s never too early to start predicting the Most Valuable Player’s for both the American and National League. The Sports Minion makes his case for the 2011 Most Valuable Player with his early predictions…
First, in the American League, look for some big seasons by big first baseman including Adrian Gonzalez (6’2, 225), Miguel Cabrera (6’4, 240), and Adam Dunn (6’6, 285). These big men will produce big numbers for their respective team, but will not win an MVP award this season.
This year’s MVP will no doubt be Tampa Bay Rays superstar third baseman Evan Longoria. Longoria is the ultimate ballplayer and any coach’s dream. In just three full seasons of service, Longoria was named the 2008 Rookie of the Year, has won 2 Gold Gloves, was selected to 3 All Star games, played in a World Series, and given Tampa Bay a face for their, at times dismal, franchise. Even more impressive is that he has achieved all this success before turning 25.
For the past three seasons, the California native has been blessed to have other talented All Stars as teammates in outfielder Carl Crawford and first baseman Carlos Pena. With Crawford signing with division rival, Boston during the off season and Pena agreeing to a one-year deal with the Cubs, the 2012 season positions Longoria as the unprecedented leader of mostly unproven players in Tampa. Longoria will have the opportunity to add to his power numbers as well as his stolen base ability, with home run hitting Pena and stolen base hungry Crawford out of the lineup. Amusing veterans, Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, will provide a bit of a new spark to the clubhouse, but ultimately Tampa Bay is Evan’s team, and he will dominate this season.
In the National League, one of the most obvious and logical MVP predictions is the awe-inspiring, Albert Pujols. If you were to predict Pujols as MVP in each of the past 10 seasons, you would have been correct 30% of the time, equivalent to a .300 batting average. If you were to predict a Top-5 MVP finish, than you would have guessed correctly 90% of the time, with 2007 being Pujols’ only season where he finished out of the Top 5, in a dreadful 9th place in MVP voting. Simply put, he’s amazing. But, as I mentioned, predicting another MVP for Pujols is too obvious and way too easy. This year’s National League MVP is sure to be Colorado Rockies’ dynamo, Carlos Gonzalez.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about CarGo until about 2-3 weeks before last year’s MLB All Star game. Being an avid White Sox fan, Gonzalez was brought to my attention during the Rox and Sox Final Vote promotion last season, in an attempt to get both Paul Konerko and Gonzalez named to the Midsummer Classic. It turned out, Konerko was selected, but Gonzalez had to settle for a Gold Glove, a National League Batting Title, a Silver Slugger Award, and nearly scored a Triple Crown season. Gonzalez would go on to finish 2nd in RBI (117) and 4th in Home Runs (34) in the National League, not bad for a guy who before the 2010 season, had career highs of 13 HR and 29 RBI in a single season.
In Gonzalez, I don’t think he’s one of those one year wonders, like when Brady Anderson turned Cyborg and belted 50 homers or when Bill Mueller somehow won the AL Batting Title in 2003. Gonzalez is a complete player in the sense that he can hit, run, and field better than average, and his career will hold up. The Sports Minion looks forward to watching Gonzalez earn that $80 million deal this season with an MVP award.