Pedroia for MVP?
In his last seven games, Dustin Pedroia is 18-for-30 with 11 RBIs—numbers that you would be hard-pressed to get playing Colecovision baseball. He is so hot right now that it’s surprising when he actually does make an out. But it was still a little jarring to hear the fans at Fenway chant M-V-P at the little instigator last night.
Pedroia—who’s awesomely been batting cleanup lately—has been fantastic, but MVP? Really?
The race for American League MVP is wide open with no one really standing out the way Albert Pujols does in the National League. Josh Hamilton, everyone’s darling at the All-Star break, has flagged a bit in the second half and the Rangers are going nowhere. The best player in the A.L. is still Alex Rodriguez, despite what talk-show callers and the NY Post would have you believe. If it’s not A-Rod, it’s probably Grady Sizemore, but there is no way in hell the baseball writers will give the MVP to a Yankee who doesn’t make the playoffs, or an Indian with a losing record.
That leaves the race essentially a three-way showdown between Justin Morneau, Carlos Quentin, and Kevin Youkilis.
Pedroia does have an argument, especially if he continues his ridiculous run, but Youkilis has been the steadying force for the Sox this year. Despite giving up 15 points in batting average to Pedroia, Youk still has the slight edge in on-base percentage, and a healthy 67 point edge in slugging. (See the side-by side here). In terms of sabermetric stats, Pedroia, Youkilis, Morneau and Quentin are all fairly even.
The case for Youkilis is bolstered by his defense, particularly his ability to to move from first base (where he plays Gold Glove caliber D) to third base (where he is very good). That kind of versatility has an effect on the Red Sox roster. With Youkilis sliding over to third, the loss of Mike Lowell has been minimized.
Pedroia has also played excellent defense, but if we’re talking about the MVP of the Red Sox, we’re talking about Kevin Youkilis.