Most years, when it comes time to select the MVP of each league, there is one standout candidate. Almost no one raised any dispute to the selections of Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols as the most valuable players of their respective leagues in 2009, and Pujols was similarly incontrovertible as the NL MVP in 2008.

In the American League this season, the super-stud is Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Hamilton has missed time with injury, but belted 31 home runs and posted a .361/.414/.635 line through Sunday’s action.

But what if Hamilton were less dominant? Better yet, what if (and it isn’t a stretch to suggest it) the voters don’t recognize his many dimensions of voluminous value? Who would win? Who WILL win?

If the answer isn’t Hamilton, then justice will not have been served, Still, it can’t hurt to dream a little bit. Here are the best cases to be made for four American League maulers who have garnered less fanfare than Hamilton, and an argument for the man himself.

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