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This morning, we looked at the three potential MVP candidates from Texas and decided that Josh Hamilton was the best of the bunch, as he’s added about 1.9 wins over a league average player at this point. Does that make him a legitimate candidate for AL MVP?

Let’s look at the other contenders, using the same process described in this morning’s post.

Grady Sizemore: 2.7 WPA/LI, +0.5 position adjustment, +0.5 defense – +3.7 wins
Joe Mauer: 2.2 WPA/LI, +1 position adjustment, ? defense – +3.2 wins
Alex Rodriguez: 2.6 WPA/LI, no position adjustment, +0.1 defense – +2.7 wins

I think these three are the real AL MVP candidates as of July 23rd. Sizemore’s having a tremendous season while no one notices, and considering his offensive production matches Hamilton’s while playing in a less hitter friendly park and playing better defense, it’s tough to justify a real argument for Hamilton over Sizemore. Grady’s been the best CF in the league, and if you’re going to pick an MVP from that position, it has to be him.

The difference between Mauer and Sizemore really comes down to how much credit you want to give Mauer for his defense. We have almost no ability to quantify a catchers impact on a pitching staff, so while most people agree that he’s great back there, how much is that worth. Half a win? A win? Two wins? I have no idea. I’ll let you fill in that part yourself, and your answer to his defensive value probably determines whether you think the MVP at this point is Mauer or Sizemore.

A-Rod’s in the race, but he’s going to need a huge finish to make up the gap. He’s capable of it, but I wouldn’t bet on him right now.