5 Reasons Why Miguel Cabrera Deserves 2013 AL MVP
Miguel Cabrera Should Be American League MVP
The Mike Trout versus Miguel Cabrera debate is back again, but the choice seems fairly obvious this time.
In 2012, Cabrera won the Triple Crown and the AL MVP award. After an incredible rookie campaign, many people thought that Trout deserved to win the MVP. It basically came down to traditional baseball purists versus the sabermetric "stat-heads".
Even though Cabrera took home the Triple Crown in 2012, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1967, the sabermetrics crowd argued that the traditional Triple Crown stats were overrated and Trout's incredible overall value made him the most valuable player in the AL.
Trout may not have put up the incredible Triple Crown stats like Cabrera, but he was undoubtedly a more versatile player. Defensively, Trout is one of the best in the business in the outfield and he steals bases with regularity. While he may not put up monster RBI totals like Cabrera, Trout is no slouch at the plate.
I think the sabermetrics crowd may have been right last season. Trout was an incredible asset to his team in all facets of the game and that trumped the seemingly-overrated Triple Crown numbers that Cabrera put up. In 2012, Trout had an incredible 10.9 WAR, which was the best in all of baseball by a wide margin. Cabrera's WAR was 7.3 -- solid, but nowhere near the level of Trout.
Obviously, when you add in defensive and baserunning metrics, the gap between a player like Cabrera and one like Trout widens quickly.
I am on the other side of the argument this season. Cabrera has insane Triple Crown numbers once again, and it appears that he will take home a second straight MVP award. Here are five reasons why Cabrera should be the AL MVP this time.
5. He Plays A Premium Position
Defensively, Cabrera is not anything special. In fact, he is pretty bad. While Trout is obviously the far superior defender, Cabrera played third base all season long. Third base is considered one of the premium positions, and the fact that he plays 3B makes his offensive stats even more impressive. Trout played center field for about two-thirds of the season, and played left field in the other third. Center field is a premium position, but left field is most certainly not. Trout's numbers are impressive as a center fielder, but playing a third of his games in left makes them less impressive.
Anybody who has seen these two play would never give Cabrera the upper hand defensively, but I think he deserves some credit for playing a premium position.
4. The Detroit Tigers Are Legitimate World Series Contenders
At 91-65, the Detroit Tigers are coasting into the playoffs. At 76-79, the Los Angeles Angels are getting ready to head home for the winter. It may not be fair, but voters almost always vote for the candidate on the better team. In this case, it is obviously Cabrera.
3. Sabermetric Stats Are Closer Than 2012
While Trout is very much still elite in the sabermetric categories, he is not as dominant as he was in 2012. He WAR has dipped almost two full wins to 9.1, as Cabrera has stayed steady at 7.3. With Cabrera being the obvious juggernaut in traditional stats, metrics such as WAR are essential for Trout to win the MVP.
2. Cabrera Absolutely Dominates Traditional Stats
If it was not for Chris Davis' incredible out-of-nowhere power surge, Cabrera would win the Triple Crown once again. His .349 batting average is by far and away the best in baseball, and his 136 RBIs are well ahead of everybody besides Davis. Cabrera has no chance to catch Davis in the home run category as he trails 52 to 44. When it comes to traditional stats, Davis is the only comparison to Cabrera; and when you look at the bigger picture, Davis is not a MVP threat.
1. He Has Been Better Than Last Season
Even though he will not win the Triple Crown, Cabrera has actually been better in 2013. His triple-slash line in 2013 is .349/.445/.647, up from .330/.393/.606 in 2012. His OPS is an incredible 1.092 compared to .999 from last season. Obviously, he was still impressive in 2012, but do not let the fact that he did not win the Triple Crown fool you. Sometimes, those traditional stats rely too much on other players, and we do not get a great feel for how good a player really is. Miguel Cabrera has been even better in 2013 and he should be the obvious winner of the AL MVP award.