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Cabrera vs. Trout - 2012 AL MVP Debate

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by whnay., Oct 3, 2012.

Who should be the 2012 AL MVP?

Poll closed Oct 10, 2012.
  1. Cabrera

    7 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Trout

    7 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. whnay.

    whnay. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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
     
  2. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    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.
     
  3. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    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.
     
  4. whnay.

    whnay. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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)?
     
  5. whnay.

    whnay. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    L 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
     
  6. whnay.

    whnay. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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
     
  7. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    I would pick Bryce Harper. :devil:
     
  8. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Senior member

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    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.


    :lurk:
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  9. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  10. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    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.
     
  11. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    +1
     
  12. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Senior member

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    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.
     
  13. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man Senior member

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    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.
     
  14. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    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?
     
  15. johnny_flapjack

    johnny_flapjack Senior member

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    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.
     
  16. Baron

    Baron Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    If you adjust for park factors, Trout has been equal to Cabrera with the bat alone. Add in the fact that he's one of the best 5 or 6 defensive players in baseball, and the best baserunner in all of baseball by far, and it's really not even close. Trout just put up one of the greatest seasons of all time. The triple crown is awesome and I salute Cabrera for that, but it's more of a curiosity than an accurate measure of value. Trout in a landslide.
     
  17. jesask

    jesask Senior member

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    Trout has my vote FWIW. No contest.
     
  18. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    when was the last time someone stole 50 bases and only got thrown out 4 times?
     
  19. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Senior member

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    1. Errors aren't the only measure of a player's defensive performance. Alone, its basically useless. Miggy has no range, why should he be rewarded for balls he couldn't get to? Assume there is 3B 'A' who has above average range and Miggy... Assume 2 identical screamers are hit down the line (this isn't implausible), Miggy would be unable to get to either of them and both balls would be scored as hits. Now assume 3B A who has above average range gets to both balls, on one he makes the play, on the other he doesn't set his feet and his throw sails over the 1B's head. Miggy is now at a 1.0 fielding percentage while 3B A who made an additional out has an error and a .5% fielding percentage.

    2. There's really no way to quantify that. But I'll play along, without Trout the Angels might be at the bottom of the AL west- and even if they had the Mariner's record they'd still be in 3rd in the central... And of course we can't forget that the Angels were 6-14 before they called up Trout, 83-59 since. I doubt they go 6-14 if they played Trout in the beginning instead of Vermin "Paid 15 million to hit .230" Wells.

    The Triple Crown argument is ridiculous. Josh Hamilton gets a sinus infection and that makes Cabrera the best player in baseball? What even distinguishes those 3 stats as being the most importance besides "historic myth" anyway? I concede that AVG and HR are essentially solely individual stats, though I believe OBP and slugging% respectively more accurate measure a player's contribution (Trout slightly leads OBP while Cabrera has a 40 point lead on slugging %). But where does baserunning factor in this equation? 49/54 SB is a pretty significant contribution, but it doesn't register in "Triple Crown" talk. Neither does runs scored, nor going from 1st to 3rd on a single (which isn't even a statistic, but is a big deal in terms of effect in a game). My real beef is with RBI though, Trout bats first, he doesn't get the same opportunities Cabrera does to drive in runs. On the flipside, Trout gets more opportunities to be driven in by others which is reflected in his runs scored stat. Both are incredibly dependent on the performances of others, which is why I don't place particular importance in either.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  20. johnny_flapjack

    johnny_flapjack Senior member

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    1. Understood on the range issue. I watch enough of the Tigers' infield to understand guys with a good glove and no range. My point is that Cabrera is not the abortion at 3rd base that most people make him out to be.
    2. I'll agree that the Angels might not have gone 6-14 in the first 20 games with Trout, but they also might have. A decent number of those losses were blow-outs. He might have helped when it was a one run game, but probably not any more in the early blow-outs than in the ones while he was actually on the team. And prior results to not always predict future performance. Plenty of teams start hot or slow and then reverse direction.
    3. I'm not saying I agree with the triple crown argument, I'm just stating what I see as a probable reason for people to favor him here. Last year the notion that Verlander was somehow going to be a more attractive candidate for the MVP if he got to the magical 25 wins rather than 24 seemed just as silly, but perception is reality. 30 teams x 9 hitters x 45 years is a LOT of chances to get it done, but somehow nobody did it for 45 years. That makes it unique enough that he'll get more support than if he didn't win it - but not as much as if he could give a good interview. And people have been getting sinus infections for a while now. Every year there's someone who COULD have done better, but didn't - or did. The dice roll where they roll. And I get that it's largely anachronistic now that we have all of the new fun stats, and that OBP might be a better measure than BA, but I'd assume most fans of the game can appreciate it for what it is.

    Again, this is not a hill I'm going to die on. I see the argument for both. if Trout wins, I understand why. If Cabrera wins, I'll understand that it's because he got hot when his team needed him to and he did something that we might not see happen again until my five-year-old has kids in college.
     

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