The AL MVP race (with no star from a top notch team establishing position as a favorite so far) looks like it will be a little closer than the NL this season. A few guys have proven themselves worthy for the crown, however in this young season, here are my top three picks for AL MVP so far this year.
1. Even Longoria. 3B Tampa.
The trend of winning the ROY and going on to capture the MVP the next season that started with Ryan Howard and Dustin Pedroia looks like it may continue this year with the Tampa Bay third baseman. Longoria is hitting anything and everything that has come near the plate this year. He is batting .358, has eleven homeruns, and leads all of baseball with 44 runs batted in. The Rays, however, have stumbled out of the gate sitting just a game and a half out of last place in their division. If Tampa Bay can get back on track, Longoria has a strong shot at taking home the MVP trophy.
2. Zack Greinke. P Kansas City.
The Kansas City starter has been one of the most dominated forces we have seen in the game in years. He leads the league in ERA, strikeouts, and is tied for the league lead in wins. Greinke already has four complete games this season (he previously had three for his entire career). It is extremely rare for a pitcher to take home the MVP (the last being Dennis Eckersley in 1992) but, Greinke has definitely been Most Valuable Player caliber in his first seven starts. There are huge questions marks - to say the least - concerning the Kansas City pitcher’s ability to keep up this amazing pace. If he somehow does, Greinke has a great shot to be right up there at the top of the heap in the MVP voting.
3. Justin Morneau. 1B Twins.
The only former MVP to make the list, Morneau (the wildcard of my countdown) comes in at number three. Morneau is enjoying another fine season with a more than solid .322 average, eight homers, and 26 runs batted in. The steady Minnesota first baseman has quietly averaged 29 homeruns and 123 batted in over the last three seasons. With another competitive Twin team this year, Morneau could sneak up on everyone just like he did in 06' and collect another coveted piece of hardware.
The uncertainty of the AL MVP just adds to the excitement of Major League Baseball this year. The surprises the have already (Zack Greinke) and will occur over the season is what keeps us clicking on our television sets and coming back to the ballpark. From one of the biggest men to ever win the award Ryan Howard (6’5” 265 lbs) to one of the smallest Dustin Pedroia (5’9” 180 lbs) in the game, you never know what you are going to get from year to year when it comes to the MVP.