That's right. A month of the 2009 season already in the books and just over an eighth of the schedule becoming smaller in our rearview mirrors. There's still a long way to go, but already so much has happened.
So let's start a little end-of-the-week debate. If you had to hand out a MLB-wide MVP award for the month of April, where would your vote be headed? Though the candidates are many, I've listed five of the top candidates below with an admission that there are many other players worth arguing about. Feel free to make your arguments for your guys in the comments below.
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Jorge Cantu, Florida Marlins Yeah, I can't believe he's on this list either, but the Marlins' first baseman leads the bigs with a 1.222 OPS and his seven homers and 22 RBI (in 17 games no less) have been a big reason for Florida finishing the month in first place. Since he was a career .275/.317/.460 hitter entering this season, I'll try out for the Marlins Mermaids if he stays in this discussion for the entire season. Still, what a fantastic first month.
Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals A pitcher hasn't won an MVP award since Dennis Eckersley did it in 1992, but if Greinke puts up a few months like the one he just did, that could change. He currently holds or shares the major league lead in ERA (0.50), wins (5), complete games (2), shutouts (1) and strikeouts (44).
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals The best player on the team with the best record (16-7) in the majors. Pujols has been his usual self from the start of the season, leading the league in RBI (28) and hitting eight homers. Though his road numbers leave room for improvement, he's already on his way to defending last year's NL MVP award.
Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers So does .372/.500/.654 with 5 HR, 15 RBI and 20 walks calm any fears that the honeymoon might end in Mannywood? The presence of Ramirez in LA's first-place lineup has produced a high tide for all boats.
Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox My preseason pick for AL MVP hasn't disappointed. He's hitting a MLB-best .395, trails only Cantu in OPS (1.203) and is Boston's best chance to make sure the AL MVP award stays in the family. I'm not much for the Red Sox, but I find Youkilis one of the league's most fascinating players to watch.
Others? Where would the Padres be without Adrian Gonzalez? The White Sox without Carlos Quentin? The Rays without Evan Longoria? Look at the Phillies and you have both Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley splitting votes. Nick Swisher might be a surprise pick in the Bronx. And what about Aaron Hill in Toronto? Johan Santana or Dan Haren despite receiving no support from their teams? The candidates seem endless.
What do you think?