A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios, and the American League MVP

The New Danger?

Since I bring it up about once a fortnight, you all know by now/have ingrained in your headparts that the White Sox have not had a player win the AL MVP since 1994. For perspective, current closer Addison Reed was in kindergarten. KenWo was still a "prospect". Larry still had a soul.

Understandably, White Sox fans get a little trigger-happy come August of a contending season and begin to snarl and gnash their teeth when the early MVP ballot prognostications come out and no Pale Hose are listed as top candidates. It's that season again as we're halfway through August and Robin Ventura has kept the team in first place. Early on it looked as though Paul Konerko had a legitimate chance to end the drought as he started the season literally on fire, batting around .400 for a shockingly long time. Sadly, his wrist injury acted as a soft, yet flame-retarding fire blanket and his numbers have since come back to earth. Adam Dunn has the homerun numbers typically associated with an MVP, but little else.

"But what about A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios?" the angry Sox fan screams back. "They are magical people whose bats produce runs and happiness and all that is right with the world!"

I agree heartily with those sentiments. Pierzynski's homeruns smell of sunshine dust. Every time Rios executes one of his perfect flawless slides thirteen formerly malnourished children receive the necessary vitamins to go on and cure cancer. And while these are beautiful and wonderful things, they don't make either player a realistic candidate for the AL MVP award.

Unless he completely falls apart or gets injured (damn you 2008 Carlos Quentin) Mike Trout will win the AL MVP. The now 21-year-old is leading the league in stolen bases, runs, batting average, and OPS+. The counting stat leads are even more impressive when you remember that he didn't play in the majors until the ass end of April this year. He's young, he's talented, he plays a premium position on a contending team and thus makes for a great narrative. He's accrued 7.8bWAR and 6.9fWAR, both of which lead the AL.

Okay, so we know our boys aren't likely to win. Will they place? Will they show? Welp, got some bad news for you. There are a ton of candidates for the award this season and most of them also come from teams jostling for a playoff spot. Here's the short list of players that will finish ahead of Rios and PIerzynski: Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Robinson Cano. If there is any justice in this world Josh Reddick and Austin Jackson will finish up there too. Unless they continue to hit ridiculously, Alex and A.J. aren't finishing in the top five.

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