Anthony Andro writes about Michael Young's chances of winning the AL MVP, and concludes that Young is a legitimate contender for the award, and states that he won't be surprised if he does win it. I, of course, disagree, and disagree rather strongly about Young being a legitimate contender (I can see him finishing just outside the top five or some such, but I don't think that's equivalent to him being a serious contender for the hardware), but then Andro makes this point:
Young has his detractors. There are those who think Ian Kinsler has been the team's most valuable player. Kinsler has been valuable, but he's been too inconsistent at the plate to take that honor from Young even though Kinsler had played at a Gold Glove level on defense.
Young's third-base defense has also come under fire. Fans of sabermetrics are quick to point out that Young is no Beltre at third base. Tell me something I didn't know. There's a reason the Rangers signed Beltre to play third.
For those of you who can't stand watching Young play third, consider your options. Where would the Rangers be if they had to rely on Omar Quintanilla and Andres Blanco to play third base for the approximately six weeks that Beltre will be out of the lineup? Maybe they are better defensively, but would that defense fill the void of what Young has provided from the cleanup spot in the order.
Two things: (a) I'm not sure why believing that Kinsler has been a more valuable player than Young this season is supposed to be perceived as a slight against Young, and (b) what is "consistency" supposed to mean? What is the scale we're using here? Because if we use, say, monthly batting splits, you come up with this for Kinsler this season:
April: .233/.347/.466, .358 wOBA
May: .250/.365/.385, .352 wOBA
June: .240/.365/.438, .368 wOBA
July: .250/.317/.455, .344 wOBA
August: .250/.360/.422, .356 wOBA
That's very consistent, if we're going to use that scale. Of course, what I think Andro is actually trying to say is that Kinsler simply hasn't been as good with the bat as Young, and that's fine ... but, again, I don't think Young's bat is enough to make up for the substantial advantage that Kinsler has built over him in terms of baserunning/defensive/positional value added.
I'm not saying Kinsler should win the AL MVP. I strongly doubt he ends up finishing higher than Young, provided that he nets any points at all. But I think you have to confer a LOT of credit to Young in terms of his leadership and intangibles and what not -- and place significant weight on his high-leverage performance, perhaps even more weight than I'd be inclined to place -- in order to bring him onto a similar level as Jose Bautista, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson, Adrian Gonzalez, etc.
Or maybe, just maybe, the BBWAA electorate will be so burned out on voting for Red Sox/Yankees types that Young can find a back-door entrance into the top-five mix.
I just doubt that we're going to see that happen.