|Mauer has been the AL's best hitter, but only for 30 games.
Let's turn back to VORP to generate the list of candidates. Hitters only, for now:
1. Joe Mauer - 36.0
2. Jason Bartlett - 31.3
3. Justin Morneau - 29.7
4. Evan Longoria - 29.4
5. Adam Jones - 27.4
6. Victor Martinez - 27.2
7. Kevin Youkilis - 26.7
8. Jason Bay - 26.2
9. Torii Hunter - 24.7
10. Russell Branyan - 24.0
11. Carl Crawford - 22.9
12. Ian Kinsler - 22.0
That's a very good list of candidates. I think Marco Scutaro, who ranks 17th in WARP, is a better choice than Branyan or Crawford, but he's not cracking that top nine. The list includes the top eight in OPS and the top three in RBI. Mark Teixeira, who ranks ninth in OPS and fourth in RBI, could well end up being the AL MVP, but he didn't do much at all during April and he's getting a big boost from the new Yankee Stadium (1126 OPS at home, 846 on the road).
How about those same 12 listed with their OPS, RBI and games played totals:
1. Joe Mauer - 1357 OPS, 35 RBI in 30 G
2. Jason Bartlett - 1014 OPS, 30 RBI in 44 G
3. Justin Morneau - 1046 OPS, 47 RBI in 54 G
4. Evan Longoria - 1005 OPS, 55 RBI in 52 G
5. Adam Jones - 1002 OPS, 36 RBI in 48 G
6. Victor Martinez - 992 OPS, 40 RBI in 53 G
7. Kevin Youkilis - 1147 OPS, 33 RBI in 39 G
8. Jason Bay - 1033 OPS, 51 RBI in 52 G
9. Torii Hunter - 976 OPS, 42 RBI in 50 G
10. Russell Branyan - 1036 OPS, 25 RBI in 47 G
11. Carl Crawford - 830 OPS, 25 RBI in 54 G
12. Ian Kinsler - 912 OPS, 40 R in 51 G
Obviously, Mauer's numbers really stand out. Still, he's played in 55 percent of the Twins' games so far. If he remains the AL's best player over the rest of the year and plays in 80 percent of the Twins' games, he should be the AL MVP. However, he hasn't been the MVP through two months.
Bartlett won't be there at the end, but he's still a serious candidate now, even with the recent DL stint. Still, I think the top Ray has to be Longoria, if only because he has played in eight more games and been just about as effective. Similiarly, Bay has the advantage of Boston's two candidates.
So who is the AL MVP through two months? Well, it's Zack Greinke of course. If Mauer had put up these kind of numbers over 45 games, rather than 30, he'd probably get the nod. Greinke, though, has supplied his team with more victories than any of these hitters. The Royals have gone 8-3 while scoring a total of 49 runs in his 11 starts. Also, while Greinke is only pitching once every five days, he's still helping the team the rest of the time by saving wear and tear on the bullpen. Greinke has already pitched five complete games, and he's averaging 7.5 innings per start.
First third AL MVP
7. Roy Halladay