At this point, I think that there are really only 3 viable candidates for the AL MVP, and each of them was in action yesterday.
Miguel Cabrera became the first player in the Majors to reach 100 runs batted in this season, as he drove in 2 and hit his 31st homer against the Yankees yesterday. He's batting .340, but his candidacy could be hurt by the fact that the Tigers are not really a major player in the playoff picture.
Robinson Cano went 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored and 3 runs batted in yesterday's game. He's been a bit quiet of late, but hit his 24th homer and now has 78 runs batted in. He has clearly been the best player on the Yankees this season, at least statistically. But with the Yankees, there's always the chance that the fact that other superstars are on the team could affect his candidacy.
Josh Hamilton went 0 for 4 in a rare down game for him. He's hitting .353 with 26 homers and 81 runs batted in, and is on pace to score over 100 runs as well. He seems to me like the front-runner, as the Rangers clearly would be in a much different position without the performance they have gotten from Hamilton.
Carl Pavano owners: Tough day. But you probably already knew that. 15 hits, 7 earned runs, and went 6 innings. All in all a pretty bad day. But he's still having a pretty good season, and I'd still start him in his next start.
Hopefully you Pavano owners had Ted Lilly as well, as he could almost balance out that horrendous start. Lilly threw a 2 hit shutout and struck out 10. He's pitching for a contract, and having so many of his starts in the NL West are really going to help him down the stretch.
Trevor Cahill won his 13th game of the season for the Athletics yesterday. He went 8 innings, allowed 3 earned runs, and struck out 5. He is a bit of a tough one to rank for me for 2011, as he really seems unlikely to keep up the sub-3 ERA, but he has done it for nearly a full season already.
Mat Latos also won his 13th game of the year yesterday, striking out 10 Cubs en route to the victory for the Padres. He's now sporting a 2.33 ERA, and I think that he's going to be a top-10 pitcher for next season. He's already at #6 for this season according to Yahoo, and I think that there's very little reason for him to regress based on what he's done so far.
Josh Beckett continues to be a mess this year, allowing 6 earned against the Angels and taking the loss. I really have no idea what to make of him for next year, or honestly for the rest of this season. If you're still holding on to him, I think he's droppable in nearly any league.
Jonathan Sanchez had a real nice start as well yesterday, going 8 innings and striking out 7 batters. Caveat emptor here, as he remains a high risk high reward type. I really don't trust him to do this every game, and can only hope that he'll do this more often.