Scouting minor league MVPs
Breaking down the 10 players who took home the top awards this season
There has been considerable debate on the various intertubes of late as to what exactly makes one an MLB MVP candidate. Can we just use some single-number stat to decide? Does narrative play a role?
In the minor leagues it's different and, at times, much more complicated.
More often than not, if a player is doing exceedingly well (read: MVP-level performance) in a league, he doesn't stay in that league very long. Although prospect status does not matter for the awards, counting numbers should.
The MVPs of the 10 full-season leagues are a mixed bag of prospects and performers (and there is a difference). Here's a realistic look at their respective futures.
Triple-A International League: Russ Canzler, OF, Durham (Tampa Bay Rays)
A classic upper-level MVP, Canzler is a 25-year-old former 30th-round pick by the Cubs who signed with the Rays as a free agent in the offseason and is in his eighth minor league season.
As a bulky, slow first baseman who also can play left field, he's a good bat but not good enough to play every day in the big leagues at either position, and his right-handedness does not help his cause.
His .314/.401/.530 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) line is certainly impressive, but a high strikeout rate and merely average power likely will make Canzler an up-and-down type.
Become an ESPN Insider and read about the rest of the minor league MVPs, including a prospect who is projected to be a big league superstar.