Let’s be clear: the 2013 American League MVP is Miguel Cabrera. He is having a significantly better season than he had in 2012, a year in which he became the first player in 45 years to take home the coveted triple crown.
With his .358 average, 43 home runs and 130 RBIs and counting, he is cementing his place as the greatest hitter since Albert Pujols in his prime.
Even so, the Los Angeles Angels‘ Mike Trout keeps raising his game and putting the frustratingly mediocre team on his back, an Atlas-like feat that has resulted in the Halos winning eight of their last nine games.
His stat line is even more outrageous than last year: he is hitting .334 with a .431 OBP, has 23 home runs, 82 RBIs, and leads the AL in triples with nine on the year to go along with 29 stolen bases.
By now, any casual baseball fan should be well-versed in the Trout vs. Cabrera MVP debate: The traditional stats favor Cabrera, while the advanced metrics, such as WAR, tend to favor Trout, who leads Cabrera in that category with 8.1 wins versus 6.9.
It’s hard to quantify exactly how much of an advantage Trout has when it comes to speed and fielding. Though sabermetricians are famously skeptical of the value of stolen bases, the Angels’ center fielder is 29-of-34 in his stolen base attempts for a very solid 85.3 percent success rate, leading to more runs for the Halos.
Additionally, Trout has undoubtedly saved runs with his unparalleled range in center field, though again, it’s difficult to say exactly how many.
Perhaps the overarching reason to give Cabrera the MVP this year is the fear he strikes into the hearts of opposing pitchers. He is a threat to hit the ball out every single time he appears at the plate, and that continues to be the most valuable asset of all in this game.
Even so, if Trout can put together more years like his 2012 and 2013 campaigns, it’s only a matter of time before he takes home the MVP. Until he does, it’ll be a blast watching these two guys compete year after year.
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