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Athletics MVP??

After the past three games, you would never guess that the Athletics would be up by two games in their division.

But they are...despite the huge collapse by Dotel today (what is it about Tim Hudson games that lead to this kind of result?).

So made me wonder. Who has been the A's MVP for 2004 thus far? It's not like this player has a chance for the AL MVP, but who in your estimation is the A's most valuable player?

There are a few deserving candidates worthy of mention.

Scott Hatteberg started out on fire and had two straight months of a .400 OBP. He also has a season average of .296 with runners in scoring position and almost always has a solid at-bat. He's also shattered his own career-best in RBIs and has scored 87 runs. Defensively, he's been solid this year, but unspectular. Hatteberg was probably the team MVP through the first couple of months. He carried the team through a time period when much of the lineup was stagnant. But Hatteberg has also struggled this September. He's hitting only .241 and a really low Hatteberg .323 OBP for the month. He also has a .672 OPS in September compared to his .929 OPS in August.

Erubiel Durazo has had a career year. After struggling through April with a .798 OPS, his OPS has consistently been over .900, even reaching 1.008 in August. He's been quite possibly the A's most consistent offensive force this year. But, voting for Durazo is tough. He is a DH which also means that he hasn't contributed in the field on one of the best defensive teams in the AL. But I guess his stock would rise in this race if he rakes the ball against the Angels this weekend.

Tim Hudson probably also merits consideration in the A's MVP race. Despite missing five weeks of the season, he has a 12-5 record. Hudson is third in the AL with a 3.33 ERA. The A's bulldog pitcher turned in a great performance again in a key situation today, only to have it blown. But he is also sporting a 5.45 ERA in September and has 19 strikeouts to 14 walks. This, combined with his injury, leaves him out of the race.

And my choice for team MVP 2004...

Mark Kotsay struggled in a transition to the American League. His April was average. A .256 average and a .316 OBP. His May was slightly better and he had a dip offensively again in August. But to me, I look at the player who excels when it matters most. That is right now when the A's are clinging to life. Kotsay is hitting .348 in September with a .402 OBP. He has a .930 OPS, and this while playing remarkable defense in centerfield. Gold glove caliber defense. And that to me is what separates Kotsay from any of the other contenders here. Not only has he been relatively consistent offensively (although he has NOT been good with runners in scoring position in September - .154 average, but a .353 OBP which may indicate that teams also realize he's the only legit offensive threat right now), but Kotsay has separated himself defensively as possible the best Oakland centerfielder. Ever.

And to me that means that Mark Kotsay is the Oakland A's MVP 2004 with Durazo being the runner-up.

There are other possible candidates. Eric Chavez could be mentioned for all those bombs and the great defense at third. But he has also faded of late. Some might argue that Rich Harden has been the the A's unsung hero.

But that's the beauty of this site (and the new poll function). You don't have to agree. Click entry link below to take the poll on who you believe is the A's team MVP for 2004.

And let the debate begin.