The American League MVP race may have been a foregone conclusion for some time now, but that doesn’t mean things can’t get interesting down the stretch. Sure enough, strong front runner Miguel Cabrera has stumbled in the month of September, while Los Angeles Angels‘ Mike Trout has maintained his dominant play heading into the season’s final phase.
After three-quarters of a season in which he seemed absolutely invincible at the plate, Cabrera has slumped since August 30, hitting just .154 with no home runs over a nine-game stretch. Cabrera’s temporary struggles can be explained, in part, by the abdominal irritation he suffered at the end of August, an injury that has kept him out of four games over the past two weeks.
Even so, the reigning MVP and Detroit Tigers superstar has come down to earth after spending most of 2013 in the stratosphere. As of this writing, Cabrera is hitting .348 with 43 home runs, 133 RBIs, and a 1.100 OPS, a very MVP-esque stat line.
Trout, on the other hand, has only gotten stronger late in the season. The 22-year old phenom has hit .367 and walked 17 times during Cabrera’s slump, though he has taken his new-found plate discipline to an extreme at this late juncture. Trout has struck out 15 times in his last 15 games, and he has watched strike three pass him by in most of those Ks.
Heading into the final two weeks of the season, Trout is hitting .334 with 23 home runs, 86 RBIs, nine triples, 38 doubles and a 1.003 OPS. He also leads the AL in hits, runs and walks. It says something about Cabrera’s greatness that Trout is likely to be an MVP runner-up.
Cabrera may have sewn this race up a long time ago, but if he keeps slumping, look for the final vote to come down to the wire.