October 23, 2002 11:45 am
It's hard to say if the Baseball Writers Association will ever give Alex Rodriguez the MVP award he's due, but Internet Baseball Awards electors voted Rodriguez his second Internet AL Player of the Year award in 2002 by a decisive margin; he won almost 70% of the first-place votes.
It's hard to say if the Baseball Writers Association will ever give Alex Rodriguez the MVP award he's due, but Internet Baseball Awards electors voted Rodriguez his second Internet AL Player of the Year award in 2002 by a decisive margin; he won almost 70% of the first-place votes. He had previously won this award in 1996, while finishing second in 1998, 2000, and 2001. Miguel Tejada, who had never finished in the top twenty before, came in second as a result of his strong performance during the Athletics' 103-win season. Jason Giambi, the winner of the 2000 and 2001 Internet AL Player of the Years while with Oakland, finished third in his first year as a Yankee. Alfonso Soriano, who had a season not like any other in baseball history with its blend of strengths and weaknesses, finished a strong fourth, and had the third-highest total of first-place votes. Jim Thome, who has finished in the top fifteen seven of the last eight years, matched his highest-ever ranking with a fifth place finish. Torii Hunter's breakout season with the bat vaulted him into sixth place, while Manny Ramirez' seventh-place mark is the fifth year in a row he's finished in the top ten. Pedro Martinez, the winner of the 1999 Internet AL Player of the Year, was the highest ranking pitcher in ninth place, while the highest-rated reliever, Billy Koch, wound up in twenty-sixth place. Ichiro Suzuki, last year's BBWAA AL MVP--he finished fifth in Internet voting--wound up being twentieth in his second go-round. Derek Jeter finished outside the top fifteen for the first time since 1997. Seventeen of the top twenty players were on teams with at least a .500 record, while ten of the those seventeen made it into the playoffs.
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For the third straight year, the two best players in the American League--and the two best candidates for AL MVP--are the same guys: Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. They lead the league in RARP and VORP, and it's not all that close.
Off the top of my head, I can't remember a three-year period in which the MVP argument--the real one, not the media-looking-for-the-best-story one--came down to the same two players each time. I'm leaning toward Rodriguez, the best player in the league, right now, but I don't think it's a lock just yet. The respective positions of the Yankees and Rangers are not a factor in my decision-making.
Looks like Thursday is becoming notes day...
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