Voice Up: Who are the front runners for AL MVP?

Cade Mahoney and EJ Sanchez

Shane Bieber deserves American League Most Valuable Player Award

EJ Sanchez

This year, the American league was filled with big name players, some of whose names have been around for a couple years and also some brand new names. One of those names was Cleveland Indians Ace Shane Bieber. There have been very few pitchers who have been named MVP because they are hard to compare to hitters. In order for a pitcher to win MVP they have to truly stand out above all competition, and this season Shane Bieber did just that.

This season Bieber dominated the competition showing with an 8-1 record (89 percent) with his one loss coming from a very close 3-1 loss to the Number 1 ranked Minnesota Twins. Bieber still put on a show going seven innings and striking out eight. For his eight wins he was able to dominate teams like the Chicago White Sox, having two MVP candidates in Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson, the Minnesota Twins having MVP candidate Nelson Cruz. Shane Bieber was able to go 8-1 beating very good teams with talented players and multiple MVP candidates with his one loss being a great outing with a couple unlucky situations for Shane who could have easily had a 9-0 record.

Not only was Beiber able to tally up eight wins but he did it with ease. In his 12 appearances, Bieber had an amazing Earned Run Average (ERA) of 1.63. Meaning per every nine innings that he pitched, he was only giving up an average of 1.63 which is beyond all star and even MVP material. The only other pitcher to win MVP in the last decade was Justin Verlander in 2011. Comparing their ERAs, in 2011 Verlander had an ERA of 2.40 which is still amazingly deserving of the MVP but comparing that to Shane Bieber, he had a 1.63 which shows how much above MVP caliber his ERA was.

It is also important to note that Bieber was logging a quality start every time he took the mound in 2020. Averaging seven innings per game, it is remarkable to think about the consistency he has been able to achieve throughout the season.

Bieber’s ERA was not the only stat that stood out this season, with his number of strikeouts being insanely high. In just 77 innings pitched, Bieber was able to tally 122 strikeouts against the same power house teams he had such a low ERA against. That means on aver- age, he was striking out 15 batters every nine innings. Again comparing back to Justing Verlander’s MVP season, his number of strikeouts per nine innings was only nine, showing again how Biebers stats are above MVP caliber and showing he rightly deserves the award.

Jose Abreu’s hustle and clutch play should be rewarded

Cade Mahoney

The race towards the AL MVP was a close one between Cleveland Indians star Shane Bieber and Chicago White Sox Jose Abreu; however, when people look at an MVP they look to see if they were a leader of the team and if big plays were evolved around them and that perfectly described Abreu.

When it comes to being a clutch player, Jose Abreu can do the job any time. He played all 60 games this year and had a league leading 60 Runs Batted In (RBI)meaning he averaged a satisfying RBI a game, clearly nobody else in the league did. And if we cor- related that to a full season he would have 162 RBI, which is unbelievable.

Keeping a runner on with Abreu up will lead to good things. When it comes to being an MVP the team has to rely on that one player to do everything for them in recent years, Los Angeles Angels Outfielder Mike Trout has been that guy since he was a rookie back in 2011. But that’s besides the point because we are now talking about Jose Abreu who even though the White Sox had great talent at every position they didn’t have that clutch gene like Abreu does.

MVPs aren’t won on only offense, though. Abreu’s defense has vastly improved this year; he’s leading not only the American League, but all of baseball in total chances, putouts and double plays. Abreu has improved so much that there has been several times throughout the season, almost daily, where he has made some style of spectacular play at first: A stretch to assist a completion of a baseball play, some variety of adjustment to induce outs and/or prevent errors from his fellow infielders, back-handed grabs and hustle plays that don’t always show up within the scorebook and that most MVP players never show.

Thus, this hustle and determination from Abreu has helped the White Sox to the highest of the leaderboard for many defensive runs saved. “Abreu is the team’s leader, and a great teammate. He is always leading us with his example on and off the field. He is by our side. He means a lot for this team because of his experience and daily effort,” White Sox stellar rookie Luis Robert said.

The leadership Abreu brought to the clubhouse was something special, if rookies like Luis follow what Abreu does they will be an amazing team in the future and have many MVP candidates on the team. Leadership, great offensive numbers, and game saving defense from Jose Abreu is why he should win the AL MVP.