After Robinson Cano hit his 15th homer Sunday night to beat the Dodgers, the talk about the Interwebs was a Cano for MVP 2010 campaign. He does, in fact, do it all and deserves consideration.
That got me thinking about which players deserve the prestigious fantasy baseball MVP award. While Cano is an option, he wouldn’t get my vote. Despite what our earlier list says, I’d pick Paul Konerko.
Konerko belted his 20th homer Sunday, tying one of Frank Thomas‘ White Sox records — 11 consecutive seasons with 20 or more homers — in the process. He also moved into a three-way tie atop the majors with Jose Bautista — another candidate for fantasy MVP — and Miguel Cabrera.
On pace for the greatest season of his career, Konerko could surpass the numbers from a three-year stretch (2004-2006) when he averaged 38 homers, 110 RBI and was one of the most coveted players in all of fantasy. Let’s take a look at Konerko’s season and impressive career statistics:
- 2010: 45 runs, 20 homers, 56 RBI, .301 AVG, .984 OPS
- Career: 927 R, 346 HR, 1,101 RBI, .278 AVG, .848 OPS
Can he keep that pace for the rest of 2010? I sure think so.
Of course, we have to talk steroids. The 2004-2006 era was at the tail end of the PED boom and any slugger from that era is guilty until proven innocent, at least until MLB releases the whole list. Now homer totals are lower and testing is stricter but Konerko is still bashing. Does this performance — and the fact that Konerko’s name has never been mentioned with PEDs in the past — make him a “clean?”
In 12 full (he played in a combined 81 games from 2007-2008) major league seasons, Konerko has amassed 346 homers, but not once has he had more than 41 in a season. He does have seven with 27 or more.
Those statistics are somewhat comparable to Hank Aaron‘s. I’m not trying to say Konerko is Hank Aaron, just that as a baseball fan it always impressed me that Aaron, who played a decade longer than Konerko has, never had 50 homers in a season. In fact, he never had more than 45 and still amassed 755. I’ve always considered that raw power.
This argument has devolved into a history lesson and a PED debate. I’m sorry for that, but in the end I’m just trying to prove that Konerko has the raw power to continue this pace and that the off-cycle slumps many enhanced hitters suffer through may not be a factor.
In the preseason, Konerko was being drafted as the 20th best first baseman and was ranked 271 overall by Yahoo. Now he’s the 15th best hitter in the game and an obvious contender for most valuable pick in 2010.
Who do you think is the fantasy MVP? Can Konerko keep this up? Let us know in the comments.