|You'd be smiling too if you hit 53 HR and knocked in 138|
Last year's winner, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, had a legitimate shot to not only repeat his Triple Crown feat but to win back-to-back MVP Awards as well. Just like last year, Mike Trout was right in the mix as well, saying "go to hell" to the sophomore jinx.
But this year's winner of the AL MVP Award should be Baltimore's Chris Davis. The former sixth round draft choice of the Texas Rangers (2006), Davis struggled with his original organization. There were way too many strikeouts compared to his output (e.g. 2006 - 150 Ks, 21 HR, 59 RBI .726 OPS) to play regularly. He hit a low in 2010 when he appeared in just 45 games with a .571 OPS and a batting average below the Mendoza line.
Not much was thought of it when the Rangers dealt Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter to the Orioles for bullpen help (Koji Uehara - a huge 2013 impact in his own right). The 31 games he played for the O's showed nothing spectacular - .708 OPS and 2 HR in 129 plate appearances.
But Davis had a break out year in 2012 when he slugged 33 home runs, drove in 85 runs and sported an .827 OPS. And he was still just 26 years of age.
This year Davis has had a season for the ages. He broke the franchise record for home runs with 53 and led the league with 138 RBI and 370 total bases. He's also scored 103 and has a 1.004 OPS. Sure, the strikeouts are still there (198), but his 6.3 WAR was well above his previous high and career average.
The Orioles took a step back from their 2012 playoff appearance and finished 12 games behind Bosto in the AL East and 6.5 back in the wildcard race. However, the Orioles were competitive and in the playoff mix for most of the season and that would not have been accomplished without Davis' power surge.
Had the Orioles pitching been more up to snuff, Davis could have been putting on a power display in the post-season instead of watching it on TV.