OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers celebrates after scoring against the Oakland Athletics in the second inning during an MLB baseball game at O.co Coliseum on September 21, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
After watching the second half of the season that Mike Napoli had, it'd be hard to think of anyone else more worthy of being the most valuable player to the Texas Rangers this season, in which they set a club record for wins in a season with 96.
Unfortunately for Napoli's chances, he's teammates with Michael Young. And Harold Reynolds, of MLB Network, said after Tuesday's ALDS clincher that Young is his vote for American League MVP, and that it's basically a two-horse race between him and Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson.
Young is Mr. Ranger. He's had 12 major league seasons, all with the Rangers, and he's moved from second base, to shortstop, to third base, to a disgruntled designated hitter that nearly led to his departure before spring training this season.
But Young has gone on like a professional, and the Rangers are lucky he didn't bolt.
Turns out, Young played more games in the field than he did at DH this season, often filling in for injury.
As Reynolds emphatically pointed out in Tuesday night's postgame show, Ian Kinsler needs a day off? Oh, just throw Young in. Elvis Andrus is struggling? Easy, put Young at shortstop. Adrian Beltre goes on the DL for more than a month? No problem, just throw Young in at third base. Oh, Mitch Moreland is struggling and Mike Napoli is catching? Easy, put Young at first.
That makes a pretty good case for Young right there. That's before you even look at the numbers the veteran has put up this season.
He led the league in hits with 213, was second in batting average with .338, a career-high, and he drove in a career-high 106 runs while spending much of the season in the cleanup spot despite his low home run total (11).
That 11 home runs might end up being what gives Granderson the award, but the Rangers would not be where they are without Young.