Justin Morneau American League MVP
In a surprising development, First Baseman Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins was announced as the American League Most Valuable Player for 2006.
Morneau had a very good season, but leading up to this announcement he was hardly even mentioned as a contender. This morning, ESPN had people arguing over whether Derek Jeter of the Yankees or David Ortiz of the Red Sox was more deserving. Myself, I thought Morneau's teammate, Joe Mauer who won the batting title was the MVP for combining his offensive performance with exceptional defense at the critical catcher position. I assumed incorrectly that with the Twins having three viable candidates (Morneau, Mauer and Santana) that their votes would be divided keeping any of them from getting in the top few spots.
I get email breaking sports news alerts from the Boston Globe. To show how this announcement caught people off guard, here is subject line of the email they sent to advise that Morneau was the MVP:
Breaking Sports Alert: Mauer wins AL MVPFor the record Mauer finished in sixth place. The body of the email had the correct information.
To further illustrate how out of the blue this announcement is, the blogger with the best Twins coverage, Aaron Gleeman listed Morneau 10th on his ballot last week.
Despite Indians having a very poor season, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore got some consideration. Somehow Hafner got one second place vote. Hafner did lead the league in SLG and OPS and hit 6 grand slams this season, but after he missed over 30 games due to injury even a big Tribe fan like myself couldn't put him in the top 5.