2014 MLB Awards: Top 15 Early-Season AL MVP Candidates

Top 15 AL MVP Candidates

Albert Pujols
Getty Images

Although the MLB season is still in May and just one month in, it's never too early to look at which AL MVP candidates have the best chance to take home the crown after the regular season ends. I will be looking at each league's candidates after each month, leading up to the actual award distribution.

Let's look at the top 15 American League MVP candidates after about a month of play.

15. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

Felix Hernandez
Getty Images

15. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

Felix Hernandez
Getty Images

As a former Cy Young winner, Hernandez is usually at the top of the list when it comes to starting pitchers in the American League. However, it's very rare for pitchers to win MVP awards.

2014 Stats: 3-1, 2.73 ERA, 53 K, 1.10 WHIP in 52.2 innings

14. Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

Michael Brantley
Getty Images

14. Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

Michael Brantley
Getty Images

Michael Brantley isn't exactly a name you were expecting to see on this list, but the hot start he has gotten off to in 2014 is hard to argue with. If his Indians can get back into playoff contention this season and he stays hot, he could be a dark-horse candidate.

2014 Stats: .289 AVG, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 19 Runs, 4 SB, .348 OBP

13. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Justin Verlander
Getty Images

13. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Justin Verlander
Getty Images

Verlander was the last starting pitcher to win the MVP award(2011) and he could end that drought for pitchers once again this season. Although his strikeout numbers haven't been where they should be, he's near the top of the American League in ERA once again.

2014 Stats: 4-1, 2.68 ERA, 38 K, 1.32 WHIP in 47.0 innings

12. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka
Getty Images

12. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka
Getty Images

Coming over from Japan because of a huge cash deal, not many people knew what to think of the phenom that is Masahiro Tanaka. However, it's looking like the Yankees made the right move in acquiring the pitcher for a hefty amount of cash.

2014 Stats: 4-0, 2.53 ERA, 51 K, 0.96 WHIP in 42.2 innings

11. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

Jose Abreu
Getty Images

11. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

Jose Abreu
Getty Images

Yet another international player on this list in his first season in the big leagues, Jose Abreu has taken MLB by storm with his extreme power. He leads the big leagues in homers and is hitting the ball harder than anyone in the league.

2014 Stats: .266 AVG, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 24 Runs, .323 OBP

10. Mark Buehrle, Toronto Blue Jays

Mark Buehrle
Getty Images

10. Mark Buehrle, Toronto Blue Jays

Mark Buehrle
Getty Images

Mark Buehrle is playing like a much younger version of himself this season. It's very doubtful that his hot streak will last, but if it does and if the Blue Jays can contend for a division title, he will be close to the top of the MVP voting list.

2014 Stats: 6-1, 1.91 ERA, 29 K, 1.17 WHIP in 47.0 innings

9. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers

Max Scherzer
Getty Images

9. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers

Max Scherzer
Getty Images

Coming off his first major MLB award -- a Cy Young in 2013 -- Max Scherzer is looking to make it two straight years taking home the prestigious hardware. However, he could take home an even more prestigious award -- the MVP award.

2014 Stats: 4-1, 1.72 ERA, 60 K, 0.96 WHIP in 47.0 innings

8. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Miguel Cabrera
Getty Images

8. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Miguel Cabrera
Getty Images

Winning back-to-back MVP awards and a Triple Crown in 2012, Miguel Cabrera has placed himself in an elite category of players. There's no better hitter in baseball these days -- despite his early-season 'struggles'. Any player that can 'struggle' and still be on pace to drive in about 130 RBI is going to be in MVP consideration no matter what.

2014 Stats: .282 AVG, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 15 Runs, .326 OBP

7. Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles

Nelson Cruz
Getty Images

7. Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles

Nelson Cruz
Getty Images

Nelson Cruz was a late addition to the Baltimore Orioles roster this offseason and many people were skeptical with the pick-up. Coming off a substance-abuse related suspension, it looked like Cruz's career was on the way down. However, he has shown that it's not at all the case.

2014 Stats: .287 AVG, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 22 Runs, .356 OBP

6. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout
Getty Images

6. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout
Getty Images

Mike Trout has been rivaling Miguel Cabrera for the MVP award for the past two seasons and this might be the year the young five-tool superstar takes home the hardware. Trout's numbers aren't quite legendary, but they are definitely discussion-worthy.

2014 Stats: .287 AVG, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 24 Runs, 4 SB, .373 OBP

5. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Bautista
Getty Images

5. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Bautista
Getty Images

Playing for the Blue Jays might seem like an MVP trap. You can have a great season, but since Toronto hasn't made the playoffs since 1993, it seems unlikely Jose Bautista has a shot at the award. However, the Blue Jays are due for a playoff appearance, right?

2014 Stats: .298 AVG, 9 HR, 23 RBI, 30 Runs, 1 SB, .450 OBP

4. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels

Albert Pujols
Getty Images

4. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels

Albert Pujols
Getty Images

Is Albert Pujols finally back to his old ways? It would be pretty cool to see the 34-year-old slugger get back to the way he played in St. Louis and take home his fourth MVP award -- and first since 2009. It would be quite a feat to win MVP in both leagues.

2014 Stats: .293 AVG, 10 HR, 26 RBI, 23 Runs, 1 SB, .358 OBP

3. Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays

Melky Cabrera
Getty Images

3. Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays

Melky Cabrera
Getty Images

Melky Cabrera isn't exactly the biggest name on the list, but many know that he is a solid hitter with the ability to hit for average and power. Substance-abuse suspensions might scare some voters away, but Cabrera's numbers can't be overlooked.

2014 Stats: .331 AVG, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 22 Runs, 3 SB, .361 OBP

2. Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers

Victor Martinez
Getty Images

2. Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers

Victor Martinez
Getty Images

Are you as surprised to see a 35-year-old Victor Martinez on this list as I am? The Tigers' DH is coming off major surgery from two seasons ago and it looked like he would be a much more watered-down version of his old self after last season. However, he reached seven home runs already this year -- he didn't do that until July last year.

2014 Stats: .333 AVG, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 14 Runs, 1 SB, .389 OBP

1. Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox

Alexei Ramirez
Getty Images

1. Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox

Alexei Ramirez
Getty Images

Alexei Ramirez has been struggling with his average for years now, but the start of the 2014 season has been good for the veteran White Sox shortstop. Sitting in the second slot in the American League in batting average is a pretty good indication that he's turning things around with the bat.

2014 Stats: .338 AVG, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 23 Runs, 5 SB, .367 OBP

Connor Muldowney is the Content Associate for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.

Around the Web