The American League has been dominated by the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers this year. The Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim each went out and spent boat loads of money, and have failed to live up to expectations. Here’s a look at who’s getting it done on the Junior Circuit.
Miguel Cabrera – Cabrera is a legit triple crown candidate this year. He is second in the AL in average (.343), tied for fourth in home runs (31) and leads all of MLB with 104 RBI. Cabrera doesn’t change the game with his glove or his speed the way Matt Kemp or Ryan Braun does, but in terms of a pure-hitter, Cabrera might be the best in the business. He is a career .318 hitter, this is his sixth consecutive 30-homer season, he has driven in 100+ runs in every single year he’s played except his rookie season in 2003. With 41 games remaining for Detroit he could surpass his career high of 127 RBI set back in 2008. The Tigers are locked in a tight division race with the Chicago White Sox, and if Cabrera can carry to the team to first place, he could very well earn his first MVP.
Mike Trout – The Angels went into the year expecting big things from Albert Pujols and also had dreams of the World Series in mind. Pujols struggled through the first month of the season, and the Angels haven fallen nine games back of the Texas Rangers. However, there has been no brighter surprise in all of MLB than 21-year old rookie phenom Mike Trout. Trout leads the AL with .343 batting average, and he leads all of MLB with 39 stolen bases and 96 runs scored, this all despite Trout not making his season debut until April 28. Trout entered the season as a highly-touted prospect, but he has exceeded all expectations to become one of the best and most exciting players in the game.
Josh Hamilton – The Texas Rangers have been atop the AL West all season long, and a big part of that is slugger Josh Hamilton. Hamilton is second in MLB in homers (34) behind Adam Dunn, and second in RBI (102) behind Cabrera. Hamilton and Cabrera are the only players in the league to drive in 100 runs so far. After a scorching April and May, Hamilton cooled off in June and July, but he and the Rangers have picked things up in August. Hamilton has 18 RBI so far this month.
Cy Young Award
Jered Weaver – The Angels ace and Cal State Long Beach product has been in top form this season. Weaver is second in the AL with a 15-3 record, is 5th in ERA (2.74), and has an unbelievable league leading 0.97 WHIP. He has been the only reliable starter for the Angels this season. Weaver also threw a no-hitter back in May.
David Price – As always, the Tampa Bay Rays are a surprising, and threatening team in the Wild Card race. The pitching of David Price has been a big part of that. His 16-4 record and 2.39 ERA both lead the American League, and he is sixth in strikeouts with 159. Price has been lights-out since the All-Star break going 5-0 in 7 starts with a 1.43 ERA.
Justin Verlander – The defending AL Cy Young winner is not having the legendary season he did last year, when he won MVP, as well. But Verlander’s still dealing. Verlander’s 2.53 ERA is second only to Price, and he leads the AL in strikeouts and innings pitched (180 K/181 2/3 IP). The Tigers will need Verlander’s arm to get them back to the playoffs for a second straight year. If he doesn’t get the Cy Young, Verlander can still find solace, in that he is allegedly going out with Sports Illustrated cover-girl Kate Upton.