Monday, October 8, 2012

0 Triple Crown doesn't equal MVP

By Shaee Flatt

As I’m sure you all know by now, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers won the first triple-crown in 45 years this season. I’m here to tell you that while that’s remarkable, he still doesn’t deserve to win the American League’s MVP award.

The American League MVP belongs to no other than Angels’ rookie centerfielder, Mike Trout. Period.

Cabrera led his team to the playoffs, Trout didn’t. Cabrera hit for more home runs, more RBI, and also had a higher batting average than Trout (obviously) but Trout did more for his team, than Cabrera did.

First, forget numbers for a second. While Los Angeles came up short in their attempt to make the playoffs, Mike Trout, was the reason they even had a chance. They were 6-14 when they called Trout up, and went 83-59 the rest of the season. It isn’t farfetched to think that the Angels would have won the American League West, had Trout began the season in centerfield. While Albert Pujols struggled for a majority of the first half of the year, it was this rookie sensation that kept them alive. Without him, and a struggling Pujols, the Angels would have been dead by July, if not earlier.

Second, there is a lot more that goes into a baseball player than hitting. Player’s field and run bases as well, and in these two areas, Trout blows Cabrera out of the stadium. Trout will probably win a gold glove for his efforts in centerfield this season which included some of the best plays of the entire season. He also led the American League with 49 stolen bases. Now, to the all important hitting component, Trout hit 30 homeruns to Cabrera’s 43, but is it really Trout’s job to lead the league in homeruns? No, he’s a leadoff hitter. His job is to get on base, and eventually get around them. He did that better than anyone this season, scoring a major league leading 129 runs. Trout had 83 RBIs to Cabrera’s 139. A wide margin, but I will argue that Trout didn’t have nearly as many chances to drive in runs hitting leadoff, as Cabrera did, hitting in the heart of the Tigers order. Their batting averages (.330 for Cabrera and .326 for Trout) go hand in hand, as do their on base percentages (.399 for Trout and .393) for Cabrera.

The major difference in Trout and Cabrera comes with their WAR (wins above replacement) stat. Trout had an astounding 10.7 war this season, which suggests that he alone, added almost 11 wins to the Angels record this year. Cabrera, on the other hand, had a 6.9 war for the Tigers, good enough for fourth in the American league, but seems pretty average when compared to Trout’s 10.7.  This stat proves that all in all, Mike Trout was in fact, more valuable to the Angels this season, than Miguel Cabrera was to the Tigers.

So after all this, we’ve come up with two great hitters but only one great all-around baseball player, Mike Trout. If the voters get it right, Cabrera will be joining Ted Williams, Chuck Klein, and Lou Gehrig has players who won the triple-crown, but did not win MVP.


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