The 2020 AL MVP was announced yesterday, to very little fanfare. However, the AL Central was strongly represented in the voting, and there were even a few Twins who received consideration.
Jose Abreu, the White Sox first baseman, ended up receiving the award. The longtime South Sider had an excellent season, leading the AL in hits and slugging percentage, as well as the majors in RBI (but who cares about that obsolete stat) and total bases. He was certainly a deserving candidate, playing in all 60 games as the veteran on a young Chicago team. Mike Trout already proved that you can receive MVP while playing for a 3rd place team, so Abreu’s resume was pretty spotless.
Aside from Abreu, who received 21 of 30 first place votes, Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez came in second in the voting, with Yankee infielder D.J. LaMahieu coming in third. No one else was really in the running, but the AL Central was very well represented in the rest of the voting.
The top two vote-getters were from the Central, and seven more received votes (out of 22). This means that nine out of 22 players who received votes were from the Twins’ division, two more than the reasonably expected 1⁄3 of vote-getters. Cleveland’s Shane Bieber came in fourth, Nelson Cruz came in sixth, and Chicago’s Tim Anderson came in seventh. Salvador Perez was the lone representative for the Royals, and the Tigers received no votes.
The Twins tied for the lead with three players receiving votes, which was matched by the White Sox and Angels(??). However, the third Twin may elicit some head-scratching from Twins fans.
Nelson Cruz came in sixth, which was about what he deserved, judging from the players ahead of him. On the bottom half of the ballot, Byron Buxton received a fourth-place vote, and likely would have received pretty strong consideration had he (stop me if you’ve heard this before) stayed healthy for the complete season. The real surprise was Eddie Rosario’s lone fifth-place vote. While Eddie is a solid left-fielder, and exciting at his best, I think that only the most sentimental Twins fans would argue that he was deserving of any part of the MVP conversation. It’s not often a player receives MVP votes and then gets DFA’ed in the off-season (half-joking).
In any case, I believe that the MVP voting was another example of the strength exhibited by what was widely panned as “MLB’s weakest division” prior to the 2020 season. The White Sox and Twins both have great depth and will be battling for division crowns for years to come. Cleveland, on the other hand, continues to commit a slow suicide.
Freddie Freeman received the NL award on a near-unanimous vote. Here is the full AL voting.