Are you a traditionalist? Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .356, leads the league in RBIs, and plays for a first place team. He’s the classic model of what a league MVP has traditionally been. If you like RBIs and team win totals, you don’t have to look far to find your obvious candidate.
Did you grow up reading Bill James? Then you’re probably in the “best player should win” camp, and you prefer to reward a guy for what he did and not what his teammates helped him do. Jose Bautista is probably your guy, since he’s having one of the great offensive seasons in baseball history, and is far and away the best hitter in baseball this year.
Do you have a strong preference for positional scarcity? Your pool is a little more crowded since there are a lot of up-the-middle guys having strong seasons this year. Dustin Pedroia could be your candidate – depending on your feelings about defensive metrics – but Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson, and Asdrubal Cabrera could also work their way into the mix depending on just what kind of offense/defense ratio you prefer to look at.
...So, despite the fact that the crowd is superficially crowded, there are still really only two guys who look like they may gain a lot of traction when the final votes come down – Gonzalez and Bautista. And really, that means we’re headed for the same argument we have every year; best player or most RBIs on a winning team guy. You’ll hear arguments about all kinds of other variables, but in the end, those are basically the two camps.