Welp. The last post I wrote here was that Mike Trout deserved to win AL MVP, but that in all likelihood Miguel Cabrera would win because Triple Crown and playoffs and other dumb non-MVP reasons.
What I didn’t expect was how lopsided the final vote would be – Miggy getting 22 of the 28 first-place votes.
Look, Cabrera had a terrific season. But the fact that 79% of BBWAA voters thought he was more valuable than Trout is, at best, a misinterpretation of what the word “valuable” means in the context of this award.
What’s particularly frustrating about this year’s old-school-vs-new-school vote is that Trout was a more worthy candidate whether you ignore or include all the numbers, be they archaic (RBI, AVG) or sabermetric (WAR, wOBA).
Instead of rehashing or stripping away all the math, let’s focus on just one simple statistic – runs. Trout not only led the majors in that category, but had the greatest impact on the creation of runs on offence, and the prevention of runs on defence.
Trout got on base more than Cabrera, stole more bases, and played far better defence at a far more important position. And he did it despite missing the first month of his first full season in the majors, turning around an Angels team that stumbled out of the gate and leading them to a better record than Cabrera’s Tigers.
How much more “valuable” could Trout have been to his team? What more could he have done? Short of taking Ervin Santana’s turn in the rotation back in May, not much.
Cabrera was fortunate enough to put up totals that led the AL in all three Triple Crown categories – something that hadn’t been done in 45 years, and that, along with his team reaching the postseason, is ultimately what gave Cabrera the edge over Trout.
But we may never see a season like Trout’s again. It may have been the best display of baseball in ten years; can anyone honestly say that Miguel Cabrera accomplished that?
Hopefully it won’t take another ten years – or 45 – to come around again, and hopefully voters will get it right next time.