MVP Trio for Red Sox

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The Red Sox offense in 2011 has been nothing short of sensational. After a rough beginning, the lineup has been producing 1-9, with the most impressive results coming at the top of the lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and Adrian Gonzalez are not your typical 1-2-3 men, in fact, they are all exceptional, and at this moment, are in the conversation for AL MVP. At the All-Star break, the chatter was all about Gonzo’s AL MVP run, but since that point, Ellsbury has continued to produce at an insanely high level and Peddy is doing what he does best, everything. If the season ended today, which of these 3 guys wins the AL MVP?

Since it makes the most logical sense, let’s go in batting order to analyze these three candidates. After the analysis, don’t forget to vote for your MVP choice.

Jacoby Ellsbury

After a disappointing 2010 season that resulted in only 18 games played and a lot of controversy in the media, Ellsbury entered 2011 with a chip on his shoulder. He heard all the talk about him being a fragile player and that he should be traded after his criticism of the Red Sox training staff and to his credit, all he did was come out and play like an MVP. Ellsbury is hitting .317 with 18 HRs and 65 RBIs from the leadoff spot. He is putting up clean-up hitter numbers in a spot usually reserved for light-hitting speed. Never fear however, Ellsbury has the speed as well, collecting 31 stolen bases thus far. He has a .513 slugging percentage, placing him 3rd on the team behind David Ortiz and Gonzo. When you factor in his clutch abilities (2 straight walk-off hits) and his excellent defensive abilities, Ellsbury is making a strong MVP case. Can we all at least agree on Comeback Player of the Year right now?

Dustin Pedroia  

Peddy is the dark-horse of the 3 Red Sox MVP candidates. He struggled earlier in the season when his batting average dipped to .239 on June 4th, but in typical fashion, he has turned on the gas over the past 2 months. Peddy is now sitting with a .314 average, 15 HRs, and 57 RBI after a monster 25-game hit streak from June 29th to July 28th, a streak that saw a .404 average with 9 HRs and 20 RBIs. If it weren’t for his 2 teammates having incredible seasons, there would be a ton of talk about the potential for Peddy to win a 2nd MVP. He has now hit in 48 of his last 51 games, making his mid-season run one for the ages. If he can keep hitting the ball as well as he has been and continue to play scrappy Peddy defense, then he could very well find himself right in the middle of the MVP discussion in October.

Adrian Gonzalez

It’s hard to argue the incredible ability of the off-season prize for the Red Sox. Gonzo has come to Boston, adjusted quickly, and done more than fans and the front office has asked of him. His mammoth salary seems to be worth every penny, as Gonzo sits with a .357 average, 18 HRs, and 90 RBIs. Ellsbury and Peddy have solid MVP cases, but Gonzo just makes them look like dwarfs compared to his numbers. He has 157 hits in 107 games, including 3 triples (tying a career high). He leads baseball in batting average by .018 and in RBIs by 3, and is in the top 6 in OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, extra base hits, and intentional BBs. If he plays 50 of the final 53 games of the season, he is on pace to break 230 hits, hit 26 HRs, and drive in a ridiculous 132 RBIs. Oh yeah, and he is a gold-glove caliber 1st baseman. If Gonzo continues to keep pace with his numbers, it’s going to be tough for the other 2 guys to catch him.

* * *

Looking at the differences in these guys brought out the similarities. All three are excellent defensive players. To win an MVP, you have to have impressive numbers, but impression also counts for something. Watching all of these guys in the field everyday can be every bit as impressive as watching them settle into the batter’s box. Also, all three guys use all fields. Of the three, Peddy relies more heavily on left field because of his bat speed on high fastballs, but they all still can place a ball anywhere on the field. They can each scatter a ball anywhere they choose.

Now that you have heard my thoughts, tell me what you think. Right now, who should win AL MVP of the three Red Sox options?