The two regular season favorites for the American League MVP award have continued their battled into the ALCS. Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Rangers centerfielder Josh Hamilton are leading their teams as the American League Championship heads to Texas for a Game 6.
While their performances in the ALCS do not count toward the American League MVP award, they are both leading the charge for the ALCS MVP. All votes are already in for the regular season award that has yet to be announced.
Cano, who is becoming the leader of the Yankees lineup, batted .319 this season with career highs of 29 home runs and 109 runs batted in. Cano also had career highs in slugging percentage (.534) and on base percentage (.381).
Not only was Cano a leader with the bat, he also had a gold glove quality season from his second base position. He committed only three errors in 776 total chances. His range has improved tremendously and Cano is the best in the league at turning a double play.
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton led the league with a .359 average while belting 32 home runs and driving in 100. While he did commit four errors in 267 chances, Hamilton had nine outfield assists.
These two tremendous ball players have continued their battle in this years American League Championship Series. Hamilton has become some what of a ‘Yankee Killer.’
In this series against the Yankees, Hamilton is batting .316 with four home runs and seven RBI’s. He has stolen three bases without being thrown out and has also drawn five walks. With a slugging percentage of 1.000 for the series, Hamilton is showing why he is at the heart of the Rangers lineup.
Those are impressive numbers from Hamilton but Cano’s may be even better. In the ALCS, Cano is hitting a ridiculous .421 and also has four home runs. Cano has driven in five.
Hamilton has struck out four times while Cano, just twice. Cano’s slugging percentage for this series currently sits at 1.105.
After Mark Teixeira went down with a hamstring injury that will keep him out the remainder of the year, Yankees manager Joe Girardi needed to make a lineup decision. Who would bat in the three spot?
Sure, he could have moved Alex Rodriguez up a spot and put Cano fourth. However, it was Cano who is now batting third with Rodriguez to follow. This should tell you just how confident Girardi is in his young second baseman. By putting Cano third, it forces teams to pitch to him.
Cano and Hamilton each have four home runs in the series. The most all time in one playoff series is five, by Juan Gonzalez and Ken Griffey Jr. Ironically, both those players accomplished the feat against the Yankees.
While there will be other candidates, like Cliff Lee, it is easy to see Robinson Cano or Josh Hamilton winning the ALCS MVP depending on which team ends up moving on to the World Series. No matter what, these two players will go a long way in determining which team moves on.