The “Mike Trout was robbed of the AL MVP Award” crowd needs to simmer down and try to think objectively about this. You can argue about Old School versus New School statistics, compare the players’ WAR, etc. and what attributes really make one player more valuable than another, but when it comes right down to it, there is no way you can reasonably say that Trout was robbed of the AL MVP Award.
To do so would be to suggest that Miguel Cabrera’s season was anything but historic, was not worth bringing up in this discussion and that all of the first-place MVP votes automatically should have gone to Trout. Such a notion is, of course, preposterous. Cabrera’s season was equally as noteworthy as Trout’s, if not more so, and he clearly made an excellent case to be the AL MVP.
Yes, Trout had a remarkable rookie season, and for all intents and purposes appears to be the second coming of either Ken Griffey, Jr. or Rickey Henderson. He ran, he hit, he caught, he threw, he dropped bombs. He did it all and was part of the reason why the Los Angeles Angels eventually got out of their early season swoon and at least attempted to make a run at the AL Wild Card.
But he is not the only reason the Angels woke up. Rumor has it that some guy named Albert Pujols finally started to wake up in May after being benched on May 5 with 0 HR, 5 RBI and an average that was below the Mendoza line. After the benching? Pujols hit over .300 with exactly 30 HR and 100 RBI for the rest of the season. Pujols was arguably just as valuable as Trout was.
And not to put too fine a point on it, but Cabrera did win The Triple Crown this year. You know, that trifecta that hadn’t been achieved by anyone in 45 years. And he had over 200 hits. Plus, his efforts helped to propel the Detroit Tigers all the way to the AL Central title and then The World Series, facts which cannot be overlooked.
To simply dismiss the Tigers’ success away because the AL Central was a weak division, as some have done, is, frankly a weak argument. It’s as ridiculous as the people who railed against the San Francisco 49ers during their Joe Montana and Jerry Rice heyday and said the only reason they won their division every year was because the Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons and St. Louis Cardinals were all garbage teams. You can’t help which division you are placed in. You still have to go out and win the games you are scheduled to play.
If Trout duplicates his success over 162 games next season—a schedule which will now include 18 games against the AL West’s newest addition, and this year’s worst team in baseball, the Houston Astros—will Trout-for-MVP supporters be lamenting how easy the Angels’ competition was? And what if the Oakland Athletics come back to earth next season and the Seattle Mariners continue to blow chunks? That could be the worst trio of teams in all of baseball next year, all in one division, but will that be Los Angeles’s fault? Will it be Trout’s?
The AL West was a three-way horse race this year—something no one could have foreseen—but how many people were predicting that Oakland would lose between 100 and 110 games this year during Spring Training, to say nothing of the lowly Mariners? If Trout & Co. were really as good as the Trout-for-MVP crowd suggests, they should have been able to win far more than they did this year. The fact that they didn’t means they just didn’t rise to the occasion the way they could have. Detroit did what they had to do, thanks in large part to the Herculean season that Cabrera had, and they reaped the benefits of his historic season.
Would it have been understandable if Trout had been named MVP? Absolutely. His season was noteworthy, and there’s a good chance he’ll be wrecking the American League for many years to come. But was he robbed of the MVP Award? Are you kidding me? Give Cabrera his due. Trout’s rookie year was remarkable, but Cabrera’s season was phenomenal. Here’s hoping Trout handles the disappointment better than some of his supporters are.