Brian Tan | Now Serving
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 02:09
Sept. 9, 2012: Giants catcher Buster Posey is in the batter’s box, the count is 1-2 and Dodgers pitcher Joe Blanton is pitching. Blanton sets up and makes five great pitches in a row that are either out of the zone or on the corners.
One by one, an off-balanced Posey fouls off put-away pitches, as Blanton later called them, while being off-balanced to live to see another pitch. Then, on the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Blanton throws a hanging slider over the middle, top half of the plate. Posey puts his bat on the ball and backspins it over the 399 feet sign on the centerfield wall of AT&T Park. Buster Posey then proceeds to round the bases for his 20th home run of the year.
With less than two weeks left in the baseball season, the race for the MVP awards is heating up. In this week’s column, I’m going to make my picks for the NL and AL MVP awards and talk about the biggest surprise of the year.
Buster Posey is one of the frontrunners and my pick to win the NL MVP. Together with Pirates and Brewers outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Braun, this contention is a three-man race. A year after season-ending surgery due to a broken leg, Posey rebounded very nicely and led the San Francisco Giants to an NL West title. This pick is probably just a little biased, with my being a Giants fan, but Posey catches one of the league’s best pitching staffs, all while gunning down base stealers left and right and leading the Giants in home runs, RBI and on-base percentage, thus proving himself to be the most valuable player in the National League.
In the AL, the MVP race will come down to Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera and Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Mike Trout. Mike Trout has played like a superstar despite only turning 21 in August, and leads the league in runs scored, stolen bases and Wins Above Replacement. He is a lock to win Rookie of the Year and has been the biggest reason why the Angels turned around their slow start and are now contending for the playoffs. Trout has shown off his incredible talent countless times on SportsCenter highlights, from his sensational home run robberies to his 92 percent success rate in stealing bases. Even though Cabrera has a chance to be the first player to win the Triple Crown since 1967, Mike Trout deserves to be taking home the trophy because he has been the single most valuable player in the American League.
Meanwhile, the biggest surprise of the year has been the story of the Oakland Athletics. This Oakland team was projected by experts to lose 100 games this season. However, the A’s have shocked the country as they’re on pace to win 91 games. The A’s currently have the second wild card spot in the American League, which would put the A’s in the playoffs were the season to end today.
They play in baseball’s toughest division — sorry Red Sox fans — and have the second best team ERA in the league. Contributing to this success is Josh Reddick, of former Red Sox fame, who has so far hit 29 bombs, after hitting only ten in the three previous seasons combined. The pitching staff is made up of rookies and relative no-names from Jarrod Parker to Dan Straily, while the starting infield is made up of guys like Chris Carter and Josh Donaldson. How have the A’s stayed so hot and won so many games? Clutch hitting — they lead the league in walk-off wins — and strategic “Moneyball” (2011) management from Billy Beane and the front office.
Brian Tan is a sophomore who is majoring in economics and Chinese. He can be reached at Brian.Tan@tufts.edu.