To many, there is no debate about which player is most worthy of being the Tigers’ MVP this season. It’s Miguel Cabrera, the probable back-to-back Al MVP.
But, with others having breakout and career seasons, 97.1 The Ticket’s Terry Foster lists another Tigers player as most valuable.
“It is, without a doubt, Joaquin Benoit,” Foster said on his radio show Thursday. “If you don’t get a closer, would the Tigers have been celebrating last night? We have talked about every position, but closer, since June. That’s why Benoit should be considered for the Tigers’ MVP.”
Benoit was named the Tigers’ official closer “when healthy and ready” by Jim Leyland on June 20 and has since run away with the promotion, having saved 18 straight games at one point and 20-of-21 since being named full-time closer.
Benoit ranks seventh among MLB closers with a 1.91 ERA and sixth with a .193 batting average against.
Before the beginning of the season, the Tigers anointed rookie pitcher Bruce Rondon as the team’s closer following the implosion of José Valverde in the 2012 playoffs. The Tigers eventually started the season with a “closer-by-committee” strategy that left Tigers fans in search of consistency.
The Tigers brought Valverde back and after a stint in the minor leagues, he earned the title of Tigers’ closer once again. The Valverde 2.0 project eventually failed with him going 9-of-12 in save opportunities and posting a 5.59 ERA, while giving up 12 earned runs and 6 home runs in 19.1 innings pitched.
Benoit may not be the sexy pick for the most valuable player for the Tigers, but would the Tigers would be where they are today had Benoit not stepped up to solidify the back end of the bullpen and adding consistency to the bullpen rotation?
Who do you believe could be an unexpected choice for Tigers’ MVP this season?
Let us know in the comments below.