Tonight, the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the most valuable players for both the American and National leagues. It is assumed that Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera is going to take him his second consecutive crown, but let us not forget about Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis.
This year’s race for the AL MVP is perhaps one of the best in recent memory, with two second consecutive finalists in Cabrera and the Los Angels Angels’ Mike Trout, and the resurgent Davis, who was nearly out of baseball after failing to hang on with the Texas Rangers, who traded him to the Orioles in 2011.
Cabrera finished 2013 with a battling line of .348/.442/.636, also known as otherworldly. Davis finished with a line of .286/.370/.634. Cabrera, who walked 90 times this year, got on base at a significantly higher clip than Davis; which will ultimately win him the award; but Davis, who crushed and MLB-leading 53 home runs, has a serious case to make.
Both had an OPS over 1.000, solidifying their status as the two best hitters in the game, but in 2013, Davis had 42 doubles, good for third in the AL, compared to Cabrera’s 26. Davis also led baseball in total bases with 370, compared to Cabrera, who finished second with 350.
On defense, Cabrera, who moved to third base when the Tigers signed Prince Fielder in 2012, made only 12 errors at the position. Davis, a gold glove finalist, had six. However, Davis, who plays first base, posted the significantly higher range factor of 9.24 compared to Cabrera’s 1.96 and had an excellent .996 fielding percentage.
Both men put together Herculean efforts on the field this year, and if not pitted against each other would both be locks for the award. But Davis, the better fielder and home run hitter this year, deserves the title. Davis’ home run and double totals to go with his lone triple means that Davis was standing on at least second base 96 times in 160 games played.
That makes him an unbelievably valuable player, perhaps the most valuable.
Evan Szymkowicz is a Washington Nationals writer for rantsports.com. You can follow him on twitter @evanszy19