The Duke Debates: AL MVP
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 23:10
Miguel Cabrera earned the right to be called MVP in the American League this year. Along with all the intangibles almost all of the stats say that Miguel Cabrera had a better season than Mike Trout.
Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown. A Triple Crown is when a player leads the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs. Cabrera dominated the league with a batting average of .330, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs.. The last time that feat was accomplished was in 1967 by Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski. The Triple Crown winner has only been beaten out for the MVP four times and not since 1947. All four times The Triple Crown winner was beaten out by a player on the team that won the World Series. Mike Trout’s Angels are not going to win the World Series, they didn’t even make the playoffs.
Cabrera was instrumental in helping the Tigers get to the postseason. Cabrera’s supporting cast is much worse than Trout’s. There are only two batters on the Tigers with wins above replacement player rating above 2.0, Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson. The pitching is about the same. There are only three pitchers on the Tigers with an earned run average below 3.0, two relievers and Justin Verlander. Trout has four aces in his starting rotations and two sluggers in Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo.
Miguel Cabrera was statistically superior in almost every category. Cabrera had a .277 compared to Trout’s .238. Cabrera’s .999 on-base plus slugging mark was 36 points higher than Trout’s. Cabrera had more singles, 121, and doubles, 40, than Trout’s 117 and 27 respectively. Trout started late, but the difference in plate appearances is miniscule, 63. Even with more plate appearances Cabrera struck out less than Trout, 98 to 139. One last stat to factor in is BABIP, or batting average on balls in play. Usually when the number is extremely high it indicates that the batter may have been getting a little bit lucky. Mike Trout’s BABIP was .383, while Cabrera’s was closer average at .331.
What Trout has done is nothing short of remarkable. He has had one of the most exciting seasons and at the age of twenty he will be watched by many for years to come. But, his performance was not as good as Cabrera’s.
The MVP implies that the player must be valuable to their team. Cabrera was very valuable as he helped his team get to the playoffs, especially with his second half surge. Trout couldn’t have been that valuable if his team didn’t even make it to the Wild Card. Consider this: would the Tigers have made the playoffs without Cabrera? Would the Angels have missed the postseason without Trout?