Friday, October 5, 2012

Who should win the AL MVP? Trout or Cabrera?

By Kshell

This past week there has been a huge debate brewing and no I'm not talking about the presidential election. Instead I'm talking about the American League MVP race which comes down to two historic seasons featuring Los Angeles Angels 20 year old rookie center fielder Mike Trout. The other is Al Central Champion Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera has won the triple crown for the first time since Carl Yastrzemski won it back in 1967 for the Boston Red Sox. Trout became the first player in baseball history to hit 30 HR's, score 125+ runs and steal 45+ bases in a single season. Both guys in a normal year would run away with the MVP and this MVP either way will be controversial to a significant number of people. In this following post I'll talk about why each guy deserves to win the MVP then will make my conclusion.

The case for Miguel Cabrera boils down to him winning the triple crown for the first time in 45 years and leading his team to the playoffs. Cabrera this year hit .330/.393/.606 with 44 home runs and 139 RBI's. He also scored 109 runs while recording 205 hits. In the month of September Cabrera carried his team to the postseason hitting .333/.395/.675 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI's in only 31 games while scoring 23 runs that month.

In a normal year or perhaps even five years ago Cabrera runs away with the MVP by winning the triple crown and leading his team to the postseason. Cabrera won the triple crown which is historical but his season isn't historical just happened when baseball was down. Still Cabrera has now won back to back batting crowns, has finished in the top 5 of the MVP race five times including a runner up in 2010. Another reason people are pulling for him because he has "paid his dues" while Trout has the rest of his career to win many MVP's.

Mike Trout at the age of 20 years old and despite missing the first 20 games as he sat in triple A. Despite that Trout still had an incredible season. He hit .326/.399/.564 with 30 home runs and 83 RBI's. He led the league with 129 runs scored and 49 stolen bases while only being caught five times. His stolen base rate was 90.7% as he recorded 182 hits.

Trout also posted a 10.7 WAR which lead baseball and is higher than Cabrera's 6.9 WAR(which is second on his own team behind Verlander). Trout's WAR tied for 16th in a single season since 1950. WAR for those who don't know is wins above replacement level(think quadruple A guys). If you are a 0-2 WAR player player you are a bench guy, if you are a 2-4 WAR you are a starter, if you are a 5-7 WAR you are an all-star(where Cabrera falls in) and if you are an 8.0+ WAR you are an MVP which is where Trout falls into. The game between Trout and Cabrera is the same gap as a good starter vs a triple A guy think about that.

In my opinion despite the triple crown Mike Trout should win the MVP. For those who bring up Cabrera making the playoffs please remember his Detroit Tigers won 88 games while Trout's L.A. Angels won 89 games despite playing in a division with two playoff teams. Also the Angels started off 6-14(.300) before calling up Trout. Since his call up the Angels went 83-59(.584) which if Trout had been up the whole way puts them as the second best record in the A.L. Then you factor in that Trout's defense was incredible posting a 2.2 WAR on defense while Cabrera was a negative 0.2. Even offensively Trout beat him out posting a 8.6 O WAR while Cabrera was 7.5 O WAR. Trout is the best player in the game who had the best season in the game. His team was terrible without him and his team posted the best record in the AL with him up which proves how valuable he is to his team.

This MVP is going to get people riled up. It is basically the new age SABR crowd vs the old school crowd. The baseball writers all say Trout while the former players are saying Cabrera. If you are under the age of 35 you are saying Trout, if you are older you are saying Cabrera. Both had terrific seasons but Trout's season was the better season. Trout is the better defender and much better base runner while almost being equal to Cabrera minus RBI's. As you know RBI's is a stat more dependent where you bat in the order and your teammates. Bottom line this AL 2012 MVP vote is going to be remembered for years just don't get caught up in the triple crown. Trout had a better historical MVP season that is why he is the MVP of the American League if I had a vote.

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