For the last two months of the season, Mike Trout and Miguel Caberera have been widely considered the two front runners for AL MVP. At one point Trout was running away with the chase, but after a month where the 21-year-old failed to hit over .300 for the first time this season, Cabrera has pushed his way right back in the conversation.
Cabrera is coming off a month where he won the honors of winning AL player of the month. In August Cabrera hit .357 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs.
But the big question is: If the season ended today who would win the MVP?
Lets start off by comparing the numbers. Cabrera currently posses a .326/.391/.587/.987 slash line. Trout’s slash line is .328/.393/.570/.963. Very comparable numbers.
Cabrera does hold the advantage offensively. Trout has 27 home runs and 77 RBIs. Cabrera has 35 home runs and 116 RBIs. But looking at RBIs and home runs are n0t an effective way of comparing the two because Trout is a lead off hitter.
When looking at the players as a whole, Trout provides not only outstanding offensive abilities, he provides gold glove caliber defense, to go along with his speed. Trout has stolen 45 bases, and has a UZR/150 of 13.6.
Cabrera provides little to no defensive worth(-0.2 dWAR), no speed whatsoever, but just gets it done at the plate. But Cabrera also provides something that Trout hasn’t had the chance to prove with just a year in the league: consistency.
Over his first 10 years in the big leagues, Cabrera has only failed to hit below .300 twice, hit over 30 home runs in eight of his 10 seasons, and drive in a 100 or more RBIs in nine of his 10 seasons. He may not get it done with the glove or speed, but he is always a lock for solid numbers every year.
But why does having a good glove and speed effect the MVP voting? Because the award is called most valuable player. Not most valuable hitter. What you do on both sides of the ball is extremely important to your teams success.
If you look at the Detroit Tigers, they have the worst percentage in the league at making outs of balls that are put in play. Not all Cabrera’s fault, but he has contributed to the numbers.
Trout also eclipses Cabrera in WAR (wins above replacement) but nearly five points (Cabrera 5.6 WAR, Trout 10.2 WAR). Trout also has a higher OPS+ than Cabrera,too.
Now don’t get the idea of i’m dogging Cabrera. The Tigers 5-9 hitters have been god awful this year. And if it wasn’t for Cabrera, the Tigers would be lucky to be sitting where they are at in the standings. He has played injured, went back to an old position, and has still managed to put up career numbers.
Cabrera has been more clutch than Trout. When hitting with two outs and RISP Cabrera is hitting .450; Trout .298. In late and close games Trout is hitting only .273; Cabrera is hitting .363. From the seventh inning or latter Cabrera is hitting .408 with 11 HRs and 29 RBIs. Trout is hitting .266 with six home runs and 16 RBIs. Getting big hits when it counts the most is definitely something a MVP should do.
But who would should be MVP? I think it will be Trout. And this is coming from a Tigers fan. You have to admire everything Cabrera does. Whether it’s big hits, his consistency, and being a great player and teammate.
But Trout is only 21-years-old and is putting up better numbers than anyone in the history of baseball ever did at his age. He gets it done in so many ways. With his glove, speed, or his bat. Trout can hurt you in so many ways. Not to mention Trout has put up such great numbers and nearly missed the whole first month of the season.
It’s going to come down to the bitter end between these two outstanding players. But if I got a vote, it would be for Trout.
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