This past season, the Blue Jays had two players that had one of the best individual performances, which led to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien finishing second and third respectfully in the American League MVP voting.
Semien set the single season record for home runs (45) by a second basemen, while collecting 86 extra-base hits in total, 102 RBI, and taking home both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for his position. Throughout 2021, there were many discussions that Guerrero Jr. would win the AL MVP, which was emphasized at the conclusion of the season as he finished with 20 more runs, 50 more hits and hit 54 points higher on his batting average than the eventual winner, Shohei Ohtani.
It is well known that George Bell and Josh Donaldson were previous AL MVP winners, but there were other seasons that Blue Jays players just missed out taking home the award. Here is a look at which players came as close to winning the award as Semien and Guerrero Jr.
Carlos Delgado (2000) Fourth in AL MVP Voting
The steroid era of baseball has really put an interesting twist on the record books. Many baseball fans remember the names of Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa who were all tied to the use of steroids. But some of the names that are forgotten were the real superstars of that era that were never linked to having any suspicions of steroid use. One of those players was, who I think is the greatest offensive player in team history, Carlos Delgado.
Delgado had his best season in 2000 when he slugged 41 home runs, to go with a league leading 57 doubles while posting a slash line of .344/.470/.664 and having an eye popping 1.134 slugging percentage. Delgado took home his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award that season, but finished fourth in AL MVP voting and did not even receive any first place votes. Giambi took home the award that year, despite having almost identical numbers to Delgado, while Rodriguez would finish third in voting.
It would be interesting if they re-did the voting for that season and eliminated the steroid players to see where Delgado would finish. Frank Thomas finished second in voting that season and collected 10 of 28 first place votes. Both Thomas and Delgado have almost identical numbers across the board, however, Delgado finished with a higher WAR (7.3 to 6.0) and finished 16 points higher in batting average. Delgado did win the Sporting News Player of the Year Award that season.