If AL MVP voting were held today, the Detroit Tigers‘ Miguel Cabrera would undoubtedly win the crown. You can’t ignore his ridiculous .359/.668/1.121 slash line to go along with 32 home runs (second in the AL) and 98 RBI (also second). He has been every bit as outstanding as last year, when he scored the first Triple Crown in 45 years.
But when the ballot totals are released, don’t be surprised to see Mike Trout‘s name below Cabrera’s. Trout’s consistently amazing play has been overshadowed by the Los Angeles Angels‘ struggles this season, particularly the struggles of big-name busts Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
Even so, look at Trout’s numbers: .325/.557/.971, 17 home runs, 66 RBI, 75 runs (T-third), 31 2B (second), 8 3B (T-first) , 23 SB (seventh) and 62 BB (seventh). Additionally, Trout is second to Cabrera in WAR for position players (5.3).
Trout’s biggest competition comes from Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis. Davis dominates the power categories, leading the AL in home runs (40), RBI (102) and slugging percentage (.679). He is undoubtedly the best power hitter in the game today.
Trout has an advantage in average (.325 vs. .303), triples (8 vs. 0), stolen bases (23 vs. 0), and his defense is more notable than Davis’. Finally, Davis has struck out a staggering 133 times, while Trout has struck out 84 times to go along with his 62 walks.
Ultimately, the second and third place finishers in AL MVP balloting will be some combination of Trout, Davis, Manny Machado or even Seattle‘s Felix Hernandez. All I’m saying is don’t be surprised if Trout takes the number two spot. It would be a nice sign of recognition in a season where his team has been maligned for its underachievement. The good news for Trout is that at age 22, he still has plenty of time to put together MVP-worthy campaigns.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.