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Cabrera vs. Trout - 2012 AL MVP Debate

Poll Results: Who should be the 2012 AL MVP?

Poll expired: Oct 10, 2012  
  • 50% (7)
    Cabrera
  • 50% (7)
    Trout
14 Total Votes  
post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Title says it all.

Cabrera

+Triple Crown
+Playoff team
+3rd highest WAR
-Horrible defense
-Great protection ahead of him and behind him in the lineup

Trout

+Best defensive CF in game
+1st in runs, 1st in SBs, 2nd in AVG, top ten in HR and RBI
+Highest WAR
-Team didn't make the playoff
-Missed the first 20 games of the season stuck in th minors
post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by whnay. View Post

Title says it all.
Cabrera
+Triple Crown
+Playoff team
+3rd highest WAR
-Horrible defense
-Great protection ahead of him and behind him in the lineup
Trout
+Best defensive CF in game
+1st in runs, 1st in SBs, 2nd in AVG, top ten in HR and RBI
+Highest WAR
-Team didn't make the playoff
-Missed the first 20 games of the season stuck in th minors

Trout will definitely get Rookie of the year. To be fair, getting your team into the playoffs is a BIG factor in the MVP race. As much as I hate Cabreras lack of defense, his offensive prowess definitely more than makes up for it as we can see with his WAR.

Gotta go with Cabrera on this.
post #3 of 33
I have followed this debate casually (which means I read an article on it in Sports Illustrated), and don't find the arguments in favor of Cabrera to be compelling. Triple Crown? Wonderful achievement, but it came in an off year for AL batters who hit for average. Playoffs? That rewards Cabrera and penalizes Trout for a factor outside their control, namely that the Tigers play in a much weaker division than the Angels. Give Trout the MVP and give Cabrera the award for best hitter.
post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
They call it most valuable player and not hitter for a reason. Cabrera is a liability at third base and I'm sure if the Tigers had their way he'd be the permanent DH. The AL Central had 3 out of 5 teams way below .500, the AL West one.

I guess the question I would ask folks is this - if you were building a team and you had to pick between the two who would you pick and why (assume for a moment they were the same age)?
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
AL Central / West ERAs

Central

Twins 4.78 29 out of 30
Indians 4.78 28 out of 30
Royals 4.32 23 out of 30
White Sox 4.05 19 out of 30
Tigers 3.77 9 out of 30

West

Angels 3.97 17 out of 30
Rangers 3.96 16 out of 30
Mariners 3.78 10 out of 30
A's 3.48 6 out of 30
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
From Jayson Stark at ESPN:

It's been bizarre to sit back and watch the American League MVP debate unfold. There has never been anything like it. Has there? Maybe it started out as a debate over the credentials of Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. But now it's erupted into your basic civil war between new-age and old-age thinkers. On one side, you hear the self-appointed enlightened minds of a new millennium screaming, "The Triple Crown is meaningless." On the other side, you hear the Carl Yastrzemski Fan Club roaring, "WAR is just a bunch of sabermetric baloney."

But here's the deal: Both sides are wrong. If Miguel Cabrera pulls off this triple crown, it's NOT meaningless. It might not mean what it meant when, say, Joe Medwick won it. But there's a tradition, a dash of folklore and a certain romance in play here. And ohbytheway, if NONE of the great hitters who have passed through the old batter's box in the past 45 years have found a way to win this thing, it must be pretty frigging hard to do, right?

So we're allowed to celebrate this Triple Crown if Miguel Cabrera wins it. And anybody who refuses to celebrate it, based on some sort of condescending principle, has lost touch with a part of baseball that separates it from every other sport on earth. BUT, now that I've got that preamble out of the way, I have to admit: I missed the memo that says, "If you hit this trifecta, you should automatically win yourself a shiny, new MVP trophy." That, to me, seems just as absurd.

The reason Mike Trout should win this award is that he's been the best -- and most valuable -- baseball player on this continent. That's not a new-age concept. It's as old-fashioned as it gets. And those of us who believe that don't believe it because we worship WAR, or because we see that Trout has accumulated more wins above replacement than Cabrera or anyone else.


We just understand that Trout's insane 10.5 WAR are one more clear indication that he's a better baseball player than even one of the greatest hitters of our lifetimes. I've often said that if I had to pick one hitter to send to home plate with a big game riding on it, I'd pick Cabrera. But that doesn't mean he's been a better baseball player than Mike Trout. And remember, that Triple Crown isn't the only historic achievement that belongs in this argument. Trout is the first player EVER to hit 30 homers, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in one season.


If you want to toss in his slash line, his 62 extra-base hits, his 92.3 percent stolen-base success rate or any other item on his stat sheet, you'll find that no player in the history of baseball has combined this much excellence in so many areas in the same season. Again, that phrase was "no player in the history of baseball."


Now, his 10.5 WAR aren't unprecedented. But only 13 position players in history have reached that plateau -- and they're all Hall of Famers. The last center fielder to reach it? Willie Mays, in 1964. And then there's this: When Mike Trout walked through the Angels' clubhouse door for the first time on April 28, they were 6-14 and tied for the second-worst record in baseball. Since that day, they own the BEST record in the American League (82-57). That's not a coincidence. That's what happens when an MVP is allowed to do his thing
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by whnay. View Post

I guess the question I would ask folks is this - if you were building a team and you had to pick between the two who would you pick and why (assume for a moment they were the same age)?

I would pick Bryce Harper. devil.gif
post #8 of 33
Trout, no question. Cabrera's the best hitter in the league this year, but MVP is an all around award.

W/A: Miggy's WAR is in the high 6's, Trout's is in the high 10's... yes it's 1st vs 3rd place, but that's misleading. Those 4 WAR is the difference between top 15 player during the season, and top 15 season of ALL time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser View Post

I would pick Bryce Harper. devil.gif

lurker[1].gif
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcernedParent View Post

Trout, no question. Cabrera's the best hitter in the league this year, but MVP is an all around award.
W/A: Miggy's WAR is in the high 6's, Trout's is in the high 10's... yes it's 1st vs 3rd place, but that's misleading. Those 4 WAR is the difference between top 15 player during the season, and top 15 season of ALL time.
lurker[1].gif

Didn't realize Cabrera's was only 6. That changes things for me. Trout seems to be far and away the most balanced, and best player, in the AL this year.
post #10 of 33
TROUT!

Honestly, he's been the best player in baseball and if had those extra 20 games it wouldn't even be close. The fact that he didn't should speak volumes about where his stats are now.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteslashasian View Post

Trout will definitely get Rookie of the year. To be fair, getting your team into the playoffs is a BIG factor in the MVP race. As much as I hate Cabreras lack of defense, his offensive prowess definitely more than makes up for it as we can see with his WAR.
Gotta go with Cabrera on this.

+1
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteslashasian View Post

Didn't realize Cabrera's was only 6. That changes things for me. Trout seems to be far and away the most balanced, and best player, in the AL this year.

Okay I stand corrected, it's a 3-3.8 WAR differential depending on what source you use.

BBRef has Trout and Cabrera at 10.7 and 6.9 respectively. (3.8 diff)
Fangraphs has Trout and Cabrera at 10.3 and 7.3 respectively. (3 diff).

Either way, Trout absolutely crushes Cabrera if you care for sabermetrics.
post #13 of 33
Trout. I don't think enough can be said about the defensive difference. Cabrera is not a good fielder, although it's nice to have that big of a bat at third.

I'm not in love with WAR, even sabermetrically. There's a lively debate about replacement value that's never fully been resolved. I'm inclined to believe that the replacement level assumed by WAR is a little too high, which favors guys like Trout, who've played fewer games at a higher level.

So I do think WAR overstates the difference.

But if the Angels were in the Central, they would likely have won the division.
post #14 of 33
The best argument against Trout is his rather mediocre performance the last month compared to Cabrera (and a certain rookie centerfielder in DC, I might add). The sabermetrics guys will tell you that a win is a win, regardless of whether it occurs in May or September, but that doesn't seem quite right to me. Shouldn't an MVP play his best baseball in the heat of a pennant race?
post #15 of 33
The biggest problem with this argument is that the old-school vs. the Sabermetrics people have turned into the Democrats and Republicans who can't even have a conversation. Baseball Prospectus has 28 of 29 voters going for Trout. I'd assume old men who smoke cigars while they type their sports page articles on typewriters are just as staunchly behind Cabrera. The Baseball Prospectus voters are just as "sure" of Verlander for the Cy Young while it seems anyone else is expecting it to go to David Price - I'm assuming because the numbers tell them it's so.

Some thoughts:
  • If you're saying Cabrera is "horrible" on defense, you are not watching the Tigers play very often. Go to ESPN and look up the fielding stats. Cabrera is 6th among 3rd basemen in fielding percentage. How is that horrible? Trout is 9th on the list of center fielders... I think if he hadn't moved positions and everyone went into the season assuming he would suck there would not be as much desire to highlight the errors.
  • My problem with WAR is that it assumes a fictional replacement player that is a 4A type player. That's not a realistic scenario, because teams have, you know, other players. Trout's replacement would be Peter Bourjos, who is no doubt better than the player WAR assumes. Who would the Tigers have at 3B if not Cabrera? Inge? Ramon Santiago? Danny Worth?
  • I do think that Trout has had a better season in more areas of the game, but I would not be shocked if Cabrera gets the MVP because the Triple Crown is such a unique occurrence. Additionally, I think Cabrera is more valuable to the Tigers than Trout is to the Angels. The Tigers would not be in the playoffs without Cabrera, the Angels would still be watching from home without Trout.
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