<
>
Insider

Scouting minor league MVPs

9/7/2011 - MLB
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

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.