With many superstars currently on the New York Yankees‘ roster, Mark Teixeira hasn’t always been the biggest name in the Bronx. Players like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez have always been in the spotlight, while the switch-hitting first baseman was always cast in the shadows of his more brightly shining peers. He has been a key factor in the Yankees success not only this season, but for all the years he has been in New York since 2009, when they last won the World Series. With 2015 looking like his best year so far, Teixeira is not only the best player in the Bronx, but also in the discussion for best player in the American League and should take home the MVP honors at season’s end.
The MVP of a league should be able to lead his team to success, while putting up great numbers and being a positive influence on his teammates. The 35-year-old Teixeira is doing just that. The New York Yankees are currently leading the AL East over the Toronto Blue Jays by 1.5 games, and even if they are overtaken, will still snag a Wild Card. In a lineup that has names such as Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brian McCann, Teixeira is still leading the team in almost all statistical categories. His 30 home runs, 77 RBI, .561 slugging, and .923 OPS place him in the top-five for all categories in the AL. Of his 96 hits this year, 52 have gone for extra bases, including 22 doubles. Not only is Teixeira a great player on the field, he as been described as the hardest-working player in the league by numerous teammates. In addition to being described as hard working, Tex has been called a great teammate and leader throughout his 13-year career.
Now, when you read the title of this article, you probably thought I was crazy right? Teixeira probably wasn’t the first player to pop into your head during the AL MVP discussion, and my guess is that it was either Mike Trout or Josh Donaldson. Josh Donaldson is a great player for the Toronto Blue Jays, but was leading them to a third place finish in the AL East up until the Jays made all of their trades near the deadline. Like Teixeira, Donaldson is also top-five in the league in HR, RBI, slugging, and OBP. Donaldson has one more home run, six more RBI’s, and a lower OPS than Tex. While there is still a lot of season left, I believe that Tex’s numbers will continue to rise and eventually overtake Donaldson’s. While Donaldson is having a career year, he is more of the MVP of Toronto rather than the MVP of the American League.
Next up we have Mike Trout. The reigning 2014 MVP looks like the clear-cut favorite to win the MVP again this year, but I just don’t think that he should. How can someone who has more strikeouts than RBI’s be the most valuable player? His inability to put the ball in play has cost his team wins. I didn’t even think he should have won it last year. Personally, Victor Martinez had my 2014 AL MVP vote.
Trout is a great young player, a real once-in-a-generation talent, but with his great ability also come flaws that are often overlooked. While he has slugged 33 home runs, he only has 69 RBIs on the year, which is 7th in the AL, and his 107 strikeouts are 8th. In 108 games this season, Trout has struck out in 77, including 30 multi-strikeout games. He had a skid of 13 games in a row in which he struck out at least once. Most of his home runs and RBI’s have come in games that were blowouts either for, or against his club. When Trout records multiple RBI’s in a game, the Angels are 9-4, and winning by an average of five runs a game. Plus, Trout is hitting only .171 in August, with a homerun and only two RBI’s. The Angels are 4-5 in August, a time when they need to win games in order to keep their postseason hopes alive. If it wasn’t for Albert Pujols’ monstrous season, the Angels would be a lot more than just one game back of the Astros.
Teixeira has rebounded from a rough 2014 and injury prone 2013 to help lead the Yankees to a winning season, doing all of this with one of baseball’s all time great hitters in front of him. Day in and day out, Big Tex has produced and kept the Yankees in contention for a division title and possible a World Series title. It is likely that Tex will put up his best numbers of his Yankees career, and will probably eclipse the 40-homer, 100-RBI mark for the second time, and first since 2005. We’ll just have to wait and see who takes home MVP honors, but if the MLB gets it right, it will end up in Teixeira’s hands.