Last season, the American League Most Valuable Player award came down to Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. A debate between old school stats and new school sabermetrics erupted, with Cabrera eventually taking home the award, despite more impressive advanced statistics from Trout.
This season, we have the exact same issue on our hands. Cabrera and Trout are once again the two best players in the American League, but, just like in 2012, the Detroit Tigers could be headed to the playoffs, while the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) will be watching from home.
None of this is the fault of Trout, of course. In fact, many of his figures are actually more impressive than they were in 2012. But with the Angels currently hanging around in fourth in the American League West, and sitting 13 games under .500, the likelihood that he takes home the hardware are slim. It’s simply the nature of accolades like the MVP award.
Still, despite the fact that the Angels aren’t going to make the playoffs, it’s hard to imagine where they’d be in the standings without him. As disappointing as this season has been, it could be that much worse if they didn’t have Trout in the mix. He’s shaken off whatever sophomore slump questions surrounded him heading into the season.
His .330 batting average is higher than it was last season. His .428 on-base percentage is simply absurd, and is just about 30 points better than it was last year. He’s sporting a wRC+ of 178, 12 points higher than last year. He’ll likely be right around where he was for home runs last year, will have more RBIs, more walks, and less strikeouts. The only noticeable decline is in his stolen bases.
There is not an offensive category where Trout isn’t in the mix with the league leaders. He’s no. 1 in WAR, second in both batting average and on-base percentage, fourth in slugging, third in OPS, fourth in hits, and second in runs. On top of that, he’s one of the premier defensive players in the game.
If the Angels were in contention, Trout could very well be taking home the hardware. But with Cabrera also having an even better offensive season than 2012 in a lot of ways, and with the Tigers likely on their way to the playoffs, Trout will likely lose out on another MVP award.