Paul Konerko is Playing Like An MVP in 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Paul Konerko is a professional hitter. One day he will have his number retired from the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers 13th overall in the Amateur 1994 Draft, the 6 foot 2 slugger had lofty expectations by the time he made the Major Leagues. For the Albuquerque Isotopes in 1997, he hit .323 with 37 HRs and 127 RBI. The Dodgers ended up trading Konerko to Cincinnati for Jeff Shaw in 1998. The Reds then turned around and traded the man from Rhode Island to the Chicago White Sox for Mike Cameron.
There may be no more underrated player in the MLB over the last 14 years. All that Konerko has done is hit 402 HRs with the Chicago White Sox in that span and plated 1270 RBI. He currently sits 2nd all time in both categories on the club for the all time list, trailing only Frank Thomas . At age 36, Konerko seems to become better at the plate each year. He has hit .300 and clubbed 30 HRs and 100 RBI in both 2010 and 2011. If he keeps up this years pace, he will do it again, but this time he may challenge for an average title and possibly an AL MVP.
Paul Konerko enters today’s action with an AL Best .357 AVG and a .431 OBP-in leading the team to a 35-33 start, which trails the Cleveland Indians by just a half game. The team had started off slow before Konerko went absolutely beserk in May and had raised his average to .399 at one point during his torrid streak. To date this year, he has hit 13 HRs and added 38 RBI. In my opinion, he will be selected to his 6th all-time ALL-star game in Kansas City next month when they unveil the roster. Now Konerko still has a chance to catch Prince Fielder with the fan voting with only being a few hundred thousand votes behind the Tigers 1st baseman.
There is no doubt that the return to form of Adam Dunn has helped soften some of the pressure of long time veteran. You can add some much-needed protection from A.J. Pierzynski and a hot last month from Alex Rios. With the club exceeding expectations, Konerko is the leader and calming influence behind the veterans and youngsters. The guy plays hard at every facet of the game. You will hardly ever confuse him at first base with some of the better 1st basemen of all time like Don Mattingly or Keith Hernandez, but you will get a solid effort on every single defensive opportunity. Doing some research on this topic, led me to this awesome stat. If Konerko can stick around long enough to hit another 98 HRs with the Chicago White Sox, he will become only the 10th player ever in MLB history with 500 HRs on the same club. He would be to the South Siders what Ernie Banks has meant to the Cubs. Banks is one of those 9 MLB Players to hit 500 HRs with the same team. The others are: Aaron, Bonds, Mantle, Mays, Killebrew, Schmidt and Sosa. This would be quite the collection of greats to join. Lou Gehrig and Eddie Matthews rounded up the top 10 of this list. Currently Chipper Jones and he are on the only active players to even hit 400 HRs on the same club
Konerko’s current contract runs through the end of the 2013. He will probably be close to Frank Thomas’s all time HR record of 448 round trippers with the White Sox, if not having already passed him already. There is no signs of regression from the man. I honestly think that Konerko can play until he is 4o years old. If this is the case, he may just get to some lofty totals. 500 HRS and over 1000 XBH would certainly garner some BBHOF consideration. It certainly helps that he has played the majority of his career in the same place. What would help him most is to have some hardware next to his name like an MVP trophy!
If you are looking at other candidates thus far, you would have to give the nod to Josh Hamilton (.332 22 HRs, 64 RBI). Other early contenders are Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers (.313 14 HRs and 55 RBI) and Adam Jones, (.306 18 HRs 39 RBI. You have an outside chance at Mark Trumbo (.326 16 HRs and 47 RBI with a .626 SLG. Then there are: Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols who are always capable of slugging their way back into the MVP contention. A lot of the MVP race will be decided by the clubs performance. I think it is safe to say the at the White Sox have been a pleasant surprise. A lot of that has to do with #14 being their clean up hitter.
***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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Posted on June 20, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged a.j. pierzynski, adam dunn, adam jones, al mvp, alex ríos, all-star gae, all-star game, cincinnati reds, cleveland indians, don mattingly, eric karros, frank thomas, jeff shaw, jose bautista, josh hamilton, keith hernandez, la dodgers, mark trumbo, miguel cabrear, mike cameron, paul konerko, prince fielder, tigers, white sox. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Paul Konerko is Playing Like An MVP in 2012.