Every so often, I hear, see or read discussions that prompt me to do just a little research. Recently, that discussion has centered around the idea that Michael Young could be an American League MVP candidate in 2011. To date, Young is second in the league in batting and is among the league leaders in hits, doubles and RBI’s.
Rangers fan that I am, I don’t see any chance of Young being the league MVP, although I would not discount a good showing in the vote, as Young is a very popular player. Still, with the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista having the types of years they’re having, as well as their importance to their respective team’s fortunes, I just don’t see it happening. I’d even be hard-pressed to automatically make Young my choice as MVP of his own team. Good as he’s been, I think my vote there might go to Mike Napoli, not only for what he’s done with his bat, but how he’s handled the pitching staff as a catcher.
A comment was made about Young, however, that got me thinking about what a good player Young is offensively. The comment was how Young doesn’t stand a chance to win the MVP because he doesn’t have the power numbers. It’s true, he doesn’t. At his current rate, Young projects to finish the regular season with just 13 home runs.
That got me to thinking: Why does that have to count against Young? I would put forth this proposition. A non-power hitter like Young should get extra credit for accomplishing what he does in terms of run production.
Young projects to finish the year with 108 RBI. Most people would agree that the 100 RBI mark is kind of a magic plateau and it’s one that’s usually reserved for power hitters. Going back over the past six years, we see this:
Year Players w/100+RBI (AL) Avg. # HR’s Least # HR’s
2010 12 32.2 21
2009 14 30.7 15
2008 12 28.5 20
2007 15 28.3 16
2006 20 34.3 14
2005 13 36.5 23
The average AL player with over 100 RBI hits somewhere in the neighborhood of 30+ home runs. Yet Young could eclipse triple digits this year with only 13 long balls. It would also mark the second time he’s topped the century mark with less than 15 homers (Young was the player with only 14 in 2006).
Looking at it this way, doesn’t it make sense that it would be a lot harder for a hitter like Young to get to the 100 RBI mark? If so, why should lack of power numbers be a reason for him NOT to be an MVP candidate? Shouldn’t it actually be more of a reason to vote FOR him?
Again, I don’t think Young has a chance of winning. Defensively he’s weak and he’s mostly served as the Rangers’ DH, not a position MVP’s usually come from. Just don’t tell me he won’t win because of weak power numbers. It just doesn’t wash.