After one of the biggest debates on baseball’s post season awards in years, the National League and American League Most Valuable Player Award was handed out Thursday night and both awards were won with ease. Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera won the award, receiving 22 of the 28 possible first place votes. In all, Cabrera received 362 points.
MVP runner up, Mike Trout was second with 281 total points. Trout received the remaining 6 first place votes as well as 21 second place votes and one third place vote.
We have all heard the debate now for weeks about who should win between Cabrera and Trout. I know I gave you a simple two word answer a few weeks ago when the finalists were announced on why Cabrera would win, the Triple Crown.
But when it comes down to it, the MVP is awarded to the Most Valuable Player. Now, the question is, who was more valuable, Cabrera or Trout?
Well, without Cabrera, the Tigers do not make the playoffs. Yes, the Tigers finished with ONE less win than the Angels, but the Tigers WON their division. Did Trout play in a tougher division, maybe. But he still didn’t change how the Angels finished.
For the first time since 1967, a player won the Triple Crown. There have only be 17 Triple Crown winners in all of MLB’s history. Seventeen!
In its current incarnation, the MVP Award was first handed out in 1931. Since then, there have been 10 Triple Crown winners. Of those 10, six of them have won the MVP, including the last four: Mickey Mantle (1956), Frank Robinson (1966), Carl Yaztrzemski (1967) and now Cabrera (2012).
Cabrera led all of Major League Baseball in home runs (44) and in RBIs (139). His .330 batting average trailed only National League MVP Buster Posey, but was still .004 points higher than Trout’s (.326). Cabrera has better numbers than Trout in every single offensive category except stolen bases and on-base percentage.
Here is a comparison of Cabrera and Trout’s full season stats.
Cabrera - 44 HR, 139 RBI, .330 BA, 40 2B, 205 H, 84 XBH, 109 R, 66 BB, 98 K, 4 SB, .393 OBP, .606 SLG
Trout - 30 HR, 83 RBI, .326 BA, 27 2B, 182 H, 65 XBH, 129 R, 67 BB, 139 K, 49 SB, .399 OBP, .564 SLG
The point of the game in baseball is to score more runs than your opponent. Even though Cabrera score 20 less runs than Trout did, Cabrera drove in 56 more runs. Cabrera also put the ball in play more than Trout. Trout struck out 139 times. That is 139 times Trout failed to put the ball in play and move a runner up or possibly drive in a run with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera had 98 strike outs, that is 41 fewer times Cabrera went back to the dugout after failing to make contact.
Cabrera did all of this, while playing a position he had not played since full time since 2007, third base. When Cabrera came to Detroit, the Tigers played Cabrera at third for 14 games before moving him to first base. With the free agent signing of Prince Fielder, Cabrera moved back to the hot corner, a more difficult position.
Trout, was moved around in the outfield this year. He played 110 games in center field and 67 games in left field. He also played four games in right field whereas Cabrera spent 154 games at third.
Yes, Trout’s defense in the field was amazing, but again, it did not help the Angels win. Yes he robbed four players of home runs this year with leaping over the wall grabs, but what did those leaping grabs do to help the Angels in the American League West? Nothing. The Angels finished five games out in third place in the AL West. The Tigers, they won the AL Central by three games over the Chicago White Sox.
On the base paths, Trout motored around them like Rickey Henderson. A bad throw to second and Trout would be at third in the blink of an eye. Yes, Trout led all of Major League Baseball in steals. Yes, he was only caught five times all year. Trout made his team better, but he did not push them over the top.
Down the stretch with the playoffs on the line for both clubs, Cabrera showed up and Trout didn’t. In the final month of the season Cabrera batted .307 with 10 HRs, 27 RBI, and 22 R. During that same time, Trout hit just .262 with 5 HR, 6 RBI, and 21 R. At the same time, it appeared that unless Trout was scoring runs, the Angels didn’t have a chance. Of the Angels’ nine losses in September, Trout failed to score a run in seven of them. He also stole just one base during those nine losses.
So that brings us back to the original quest. The award is the Most Valuable Player Award and the question is who was more valuable? Was Cabrera more valuable or was it Trout? To me, the answer is simple. Down the stretch, Cabrera was simply more valuable than Trout was as he was producing runs when his team needed them the most.
Trout had a great rookie season. He has plenty of time to show whether he will be the next Bob Hamelin or Andre Dawson. But, the Baseball Writers Association of America got the award right. Cabrera won in a landslide because he was more valuable.
As for the National League MVP, the winner was Giants catcher Buster Posey. Posey received 27 of a possible 32 first place votes. Posey also received four second place votes and one third place vote, good for 422 points. Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, the NL winner in 2011 finished second with 285 points and three first place votes. Pittsburgh’s Ander McCutchen was third with 245 votes while St. Louis’ Yadier Molina came in fourth with 241 votes. Molina picked up the remaining two first place votes.
Cabrera’s Triple Crown season leads to MVP