Today he posted the collective results for the MVP and I'll release my ballot to the awaiting public. Unlike K-Bro's careful thought process, I feel like I'm the Keizo Konishi of this year...
1.) Francisco Liriano
I know, I know, I could've gone Mauer. But he set the bar pretty high for himself last year, and I guess I feel a little let down. He's been amazing, but I don't think anyone would put him in the top running for League MVP, unfortunately. Liriano on the otherhand has stepped up in a way above-and-beyond what anyone expected for him this year. He's filled a void on our team that has been absent since we shipped Johan Santana off to New York -- and I think for any team to succeed in the long-run they need a truly identifiable ace on their pitching staff. That guy is Liriano, and that deserves some MVP love in my book.
2.) Joe Mauer
Easy choice. If Mauer wasn't first on my ballot there was no way he was slipping any further. Mauer is too consistently good to fall any lower.
3.) Carl Pavano
This is a little crazy, perhaps, but I'll stick by it. For all the times I roll my eyes at the banter about needing that veteran presence on a pitching staff, Pavano may have just proved me wrong. There's something comforting about knowing that every 5 days he will toe the rubber and give us a shot to win.
4.) Jim Thome
I don't think anyone went into this season expecting such an explosive impact from Big Jim. What an amazing contingency plan, though! With Morneau's injury derailing him for over half the season, this team probably would've been doomed without Thome's ability to step in and contribute -- seemingly entering the prime of career at age 40.
5.) Delmon Young
Delmon carried this team on his back for the entire month of July, and he hasn't been a slouch the rest of the year either. Despite his obvious defensive shortcomings he's had a monster of a year, showing everyone exactly what we were hoping for when we acquired him from Tampa Bay.
6.) Michael Cuddyer
I think everyone can get caught up in how streaky and inconsistent his bat is, but I don't think you can put a fair pricetag on his versatility. There really wasn't any player in our minors who was anywhere close to being ready to man first base. Beyond covering 1st, Cuddyer has spent time at both second base and third base year -- running around and trying to plug holes wherever he can. I think it's apparent to anyone that Cuddyer gives an all out effort both on and off the field, wherever he may be.
7.) Orlando Hudson
O-Dawg has slowed down a bit over the last month, but I think it's not enough to devalue the presence he's brought to our team. Being able to run him out at second base and the second spot in the lineup day after day is a great asset to us, getting on base for Mauer to drive him in. This is something our team has been lacking for years and it's part of what put us over the top in 2010.
8.) Brian Duensing
This was a tough call for me. I'm already beating myself up for putting two pitchers on this ballot but a 3rd??? The amazing thing about Duensing is how he has done it both in the bullpen and in the rotation. When he was pitching out of the pen he was arguably our best reliever. Since stepping into the rotation his numbers have been ridiculous and unexpected. What was expected to hopefully be a stopgap move has given him a surefire right to be a starter in the postseason and the inside edge in a rotation spot in 2011. If the Duensing-in-the-rotation experiment hadn't panned out back then when our rotation was in complete disarray, we could've been in for a miserable 2nd half.