Minnesota Twins 1B Justin Ernest George Morneau has won the 2006 AL MVP Award. YEs the guy who I believe is not even the most valuable on his own team won the award for the whole damn league. Nevermind that slowly and quietly Canadians, not to mention BC Boys, are dominating American sports. Victoria, BC native Steve Nash is the reigning NBA 2-time MVP, and now to me, just as inexplicably, New Westminster, BC's own Morneau has won the AL MVP. As a fellow British Columbian living in the States, I'm ecstatic for Morneausy, and the incredible improvement he showed this year. He hit .321/.375/.559 with 34 HR's and was 2nd in the AL with 130 RBI, obliterating his previous career highs. Most Improved player in the American League? Without question. But just as Nash wasn't the league's best nor most valuable in either year he won it, Morneau was neither the Twins best or most important player.
Upon hearing the announcement, I emailed the following to Jer (yes he's still alive. Proof forthcoming):
Morneausy won the MVP. Wow. Just Wow. I love him and he's a Vancouver boy and all, but wasn't he the 3rd most important player on his own team? I'm counting Santana and Mauer ahead of him, and you could make an argument for Nathan and Liriano as well. Did I mention wow?
Jer's response was excellent as always, and it's this reasoning that won Morneau the MVP:
I see your point about Morneau, but I disagree in a sense. As far as leadership, he probably is the third most important person on his team, but you have to immediately rule Santana out because, whether you agree with it or not, he’s a pitcher and most writers aren’t going to vote for a pitcher. And as far as Mauer being more important than him, he is, in a sense, but Morneau played every single day (153 games) while Mauer played 120 games. In addition I think the non-tangible fact that by Morneusy being the power hitter that the Twins needed all along, this allowed the rest of the lineup to fall into place as it did (i.e. Torii being able to be a #6 hitter, Mauer being a #3 hitter), so the entire lineup was able to bat where it should and so to it’s greatest potential. There is no chance that Torii has the offensive year that he had if he isn’t batting in the 6th position. Plus, outside of batting average, his numbers are just better than Mauer.
I told you it was a good argument, yet I still disagree. For one thing Santana was this team's runaway MVP. He completed the pitcher's Triple Crown (Wins, ERA, K's) and was the unanimous selection as the Cy Young Award winner. Jer is absolutely right that "most writers aren’t going to vote for a pitcher" to which I think the writers are wrong. No matter how well Morneau or Mauer or the rest of the lineup hit, they weren't winning the AL Central without Santana's 19 wins, 2.77 ERA, and 247 strikeouts. They don't even get close. And if you're having a conversation about which player you'd want to start a franchise with, Santana's one of the first 3 names you'd come up with. So tell me again why he shouldn't be in the MVP conversation? (Jer wasn't arguing this point by the way, but I believe Santana's efforts works against Morneau's case).
As for Morneau being more important than Mauer, here I also disagree. Yes his numbers are better (except for average and OBP), but Mauer's a much better defensive player at the game's most grueling position, which even though it obviously doesn't, should count for something. Him getting on-base at a .429 clip also makes the jobs of the hitters behind him that much better. And although I totally agree that Torii Hunter had a career year because the Twins weren't counting on him in the middle of the order, you can attribute this just as much to Mauer and Cuddyer as you can to Morneau.
Beyond that, Mauer and Santana are the best players in the league at their position, and it's not even close right now. Morneau is certainly one of the better first basemen in the AL, but honestly, even factoring in their non-existent defense, HONESTLY- if you could have Travis Hafner (42HR, 118 RBI .297/.402/.583), David Ortiz (54 HR, 137 RBI .287/.413/.636) or Morneau, which one are you taking? You're kidding yourself if you don't say Morneausy is 3rd on that list.
Oh and one other thing: bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, with the winning run at second. Who would you want at the plate- Mauer or Morneau? You're kidding yourself if you pick Morneau there too.
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