I'm partial to JD because my tickets are tucked just inside the foul pole, down the right field line. In section 109, we sort of feel that JD is our Sock. And this weekend, section 109 led the hearty M-V-P chants that blossomed right after JD launched a game-tying homer in the ninth against the Twins. The chants haven't stopped since. Last night, JD once again carried the team to victory (even if Delmon Young's introduction to the outfield fence helped matters).
But is JD really an M-V-P candidate? The consensus right now seems to be that he is a legitimate guy to get some down-ballot votes, but that he's not really in the picture for the top spot. That's a load of crap if you ask me. Dye is suffering because he's not a household name. He's ranked 5th in the AL in VORP, a Baseball Prospectus stat that is supposed to measure a player's overall offensive contribution. Of the guys in front of him, three should leave the picture. Travis Hafner is a DH on a crappy team. Manny Ramirez is sitting when his team needs him most. David Ortiz is, sadly, in the hospital and has bigger concerns than collecting MVP votes. That leaves Derek Jeter. VORP doesn't take defense into account, but denizens of section 109 can tell you JD has played great D this year, and advanced metrics like Rate and Runs Above Average back this up. The metrics actually show Jeter has played pretty good D this year, as well. Still, Dye's defense further separates him from Manny, and keeps him ahead of the guys right behind him in VORP, like Vernon Wells.
In the end, I think Derek Jeter is probably the AL MVP at this point, but I also think the numbers show JD should be the number two candidate right now. And, they're close enough that there is time for JD to overtake Captain Charisma. So, yes, JD is a legitimate MVP candidate. Let the chants ring out. Maybe the rest of the country will notice.