A Red Sox AL MVP candidate in 2013?
The battle between Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera for the 2012 American League MVP appears to be much closer than it should be. Trout is the MVP, it doesn’t matter that he’s a rookie or that Miguel Cabrera achieved the Triple Crown. It certainly doesn’t matter that Detroit made it to the World Series while the Angels didn’t even make the playoffs. Look at numbers, look at advanced statistics or even just tape of them playing, it’s obvious.
Meanwhile in Boston, Ben Cherington is swimming around in a vault of cash that Scrooge McDuck would envy and he still can’t afford either Cabrera or Trout, but who, if anyone, on the current Sox roster could be in the conversation for AL MVP in 2013?
Jacoby Ellsbury might be the first name you thought of. A stellar 2011 campaign had Ellsbury 2nd in the MVP voting and while he didn’t manage to repeat anything like it in just 74 games last season, he’s a top bounce back candidate. The potential extra motivation of entering free agency in 2014 coupled with new Boston Management (likely a boon for the whole team) and hopefully good health could see another 30 home run campaign to go along with 50+ steals and terrific defence in center field.
Will Middlebrooks showed enough promise in 2012 to unseat Kevin Youkilis at third base and ultimately make the Red Sox comfortable in trading Youk to the White Sox. Unfortunate that injury curtailed his promising debut season early, Middlebrooks had hit a good .288 with 15 home runs in his 75 games. With experience of playing in the Majors under his belt, 2013 could be a very special year for the 24 year old.
My last pick is a wildcard… It’s not based on any reasoning or stats and will ultimately be proved utterly stupid two weeks into Spring Training. It’s Jose Iglesias. I think that Iglesias can hit. At least enough to have a chance that his dazzling defence at short will get him at least one MVP vote. Maybe that isn’t really enough to be ‘in the conversation’ but I’ll take as a win.