Friday, November 16, 2012


by Andy Johnson

Now, I vowed to stop talking about the American League Most Valuable Player race once the vote was decided and we all know, the less deserving candidate, Miguel Cabrera won.  

Some say that either Mike Trout or Cabrera were deserving and that struck a nerve with many in the baseball world. 

I thought about writing this article when a “friend” of mine said, “WAR is just a made up stat.”  I wasn’t able to defend my answer because I was on my way to crush a burrito and I didn’t have a chance to let him know that all stats are made up.

Take the holy grail of all stats, sarcasm, runs batted in.  Cabrera led the league with 139 while Trout only had 83...from the leadoff spot.  

Now the last paragraph is all well known if you are reading this.  I brought that up though because RBI was “made up” by the Buffalo Bisons and was not recognized by Major League Baseball until 1920.   

Another argument my “friend” presented was that Cabrera helped his team so much on offense because pitchers feared him.  

Do people think pitchers had no fear of facing Trout?  As a pitcher, I sure wouldn’t want to face him!  Not only could he take a pitch over the fence, when he gets on base, he can steal a base as he was successful over 90 percent of the time and go first to third on hits in which Cabrera could not.

Could Cabrera help his team on the bases?  Not so much.  He only stole four and according to Baseball Reference, his base running added zero runs while Trout added 10 above the average player.

“But he helped his team by moving from first to third base so Fielder could play!” said my “friend.”

While this may be true, he actually hurt his team.  Baseball Reference says he cost his team four runs on defense and Trout added 21 by playing above average defense at a more difficult position.

While deciding who is the most valuable player, think about who helps win games in all facets of the game because all are important when trying to win.  

1 comment:

  1. As Grant Brisbee put it:

    "Miguel Cabrera hit better than Mike Trout, but it was close.
    Mike Trout fielded better (at a more important position) than Miguel Cabrera, and it wasn't close.
    Mike Trout ran the bases better than Miguel Cabrera, and it wasn't close."

    It's so ironic, and I know this has been pointed out before, that the 'traditionalists' are now the ones who don't take into account things like defense, baserunning or positional value.

    Also, one of my favorite lines of the week. From Russell Carleton on Miguel Cabrera:

    He moved from first base to third base at the beginning of the season so that the Tigers could sign Prince Fielder. It marked one of the few times he went first to third all year.