Readers of Notablog know that I'm a huge New York Yankees fan and a big Derek Jeter fan, and let me just say that, with regard to yesterday's balloting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, in which Jeter came in second, I'd like to give the Baseball Writers a BIG BRONX CHEER!
This year, Jeter won the Hank Aaron Award, the Silver Slugger Award, and the Gold Glove. And yet, it was Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins who took home MVP honors.
Now, I am not saying that Morneau isn't a fine player; but I don't see how anybody votes for Morneau as the MVP when the Twins line-up also includes the terrifically talented 2006 AL batting champion Joe Mauer.
In a season during which so many Yankee players were injured (e.g., Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui) or relatively ineffective (e.g., Alex Rodriguez), Jeter remained Mr. Consistency: one of baseball's fiercest clutch hitters, who hit .381 with runners in scoring position. Take Jeter out of that Yankee line-up and I don't believe the team makes the playoffs. He was that valuable to their success this year.
While Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News thinks the vote was "most logical," I tell ya, Jeter Wuz Robbed!.
Wait 'til next year!
Update: I have already been questioned by a few people with regard to the comparative statistics for Morneau and Jeter. Okay, okay, let's talk numbers:
Morneau beats Jeter in only three categories: RBIs (Morneau has 130 to Jeter's 97); Home Runs (Morneau has 34 to Jeter's 14), and the batting average with runners-in-scoring-position stat (Morneau .375 to Jeter's .343).
So let's talk about every other category: Jeter beats Morneau in runs scored (118 to 97); hits (214 to 190); doubles (39 to 37); triples (3 to 1); walks (69 to 53); steals (34 to 3); batting average (.343 to .321); on-base percentage (.417 to .375); runners-in-scoring-position with two outs (.369 to .303) and batting average "close and late" (.325 to .299).
And, again, Jeter did it in a line-up that was struck by injuries to key offensive players (Sheffield, Matsui, Cano, and others for limited times) and awful inconsistency from regular players, like A-Rod. His fielding was also consistent, earning him a Gold Glove, and he brings to the table all the "intangibles" that make him one of the greatest Yankees of his generation.