5 Reasons Why Miguel Cabrera Will Win the American League MVP Award
Tomorrow, November 14, 2012, we will find out who will win baseball’s version of an election. Will the conservatives/traditionalists celebrate their most valuable player? Or will the progressives/sabermetricians be able to party with their calculators? The only purpose of the presidential election was to set up the real great debate: the American League MVP award
It doesn’t matter who the other finalists on the ballot are, the award will be given to either Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. Cabrera, who was baseball’s first Triple Crown winner since 1967, is the favorite to win the award due to the way baseball writers lean towards the conservative side. On the other hand, there is Mike Trout, who dominated in all facets of the game.
It doesn’t matter if either of these two players is on your favorite team; this debate strikes a nerve if you are a huge baseball fan. All the debating, bickering, pontificating, and opining will mercifully come to an end, and all of us will have our MVP.
For the purpose of this post, however, I’m going to tell you why I think Miguel Cabrera will win the MVP award. These are the five reasons why I think voters will lean towards Cabrera. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with these points. I’m just saying that these are the defenses a voter will use to vote your 2012 American League MVP.
One of the reasons Miguel Cabrera will win the MVP is his consistency. A lot of people seem to blame Trout because he didn't play a full season, while Cabrera did play the whole way. Outside of May, where he only had a .839 OPS, Cabrera was never under .940 in any other month. If it wasn't for his consistent mashing, Detroit definitely would not have won the American League Central.
I know clutchness is a touchy subject in the SABR community. Being the moderate SABR guy I am, I do believe clutchness exists; however, it isn't measurable. While I am completely against the RBI statistic, seeing as it's a statistic based on opportunity rather than skill, I am completely for statistics like BA w/RISP, 2-out hitting, BA w/runners on, etc. And Cabrera completely owns in all those statistics. The only situation Cabrera doesn't have an OPS over .900 is when the bases are loaded. Other than that, he's a God among men.
Switch to Third Base
Although Cabrera wasn't very good defensively at third base in 2012, he voluntarily moved there without making a fuss about it. This is one thing statistics cannot measure. This was a team first move by Cabrera, and it also allowed a smooth transition for Prince Fielder. If Cabrera whined and complained about the move, it could have became a problem early on and carried over. But he was a man about the whole situation, showing his true leadership.
This is one other thing I am pretty old school about. I believe the MVP should be a part of a winning team. I repeat: a winning team. Cabrera's Tigers won the division more so because of the Chicago White Sox choking away the division, but they were a division winner and evetual American League Champion. This is one of the major selling points in the pro-Cabrera camp. The next point, however, is pretty hard to discredit.
As my good buddy once said when the movie The Hurt Locker defeated Avatar for the Oscar: "The Hurt Locker winning is an absolute joke. It made pennies to the dollars compared to Avatar. And when people look back at the movies made during that year, and they don't see the highest grossing movie ever winning the Oscar, they will laugh hysterically".
That's same scenario we are in right now. Can you imagine telling someone twenty years from now that Miguel Cabrera was the last Triple Crown winner - an achievement that took 45 years for someone to accomplish again - didn't win the MVP award? They would look at you like you were a crazy person. It's hard to overlook the Triple Crown based on its importance from generations past, which is why Miguel Cabrera will be your 2012 American League MVP.