It isn’t the official American League MVP award, and it isn’t a reliable tracker of eventual MVP voting, but the Players Choice award for AL Outstanding Player is a pretty nice award to have. And at least this year, Miguel Cabrera doesn’t have it. The honor goes to Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton, Cabrera and Major League home run leader Jose Bautista were the finalists for the award, which is voted on by Major League players through balloting conducted in September. Hamilton was out at that point with a rib injury that ended up costing him almost the whole month, but his body of work before that was enough to convince players that he earned it.
Since the award is for Most Outstanding Player, not Most Valuable Player, a team’s playoff contention usually doesn’t play into it. In fact, six of the previous nine winners didn’t get to the postseason that year. That would seemingly play to the advantage of Cabrera and Bautista and their individual resumes, but not this year.