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Miguel Cabrera is probably done for the season. What's that mean for the MVP race?

Sep 28, 2010, 9:11 AM EDT

Miguel Cabrera sprained his ankle while trying to get back to first on a pickoff play last night (hey, he has three stolen bases this year, so you’ve got to contain that risk!). It’s being described as a mild ankle sprain, but with only a few meaningless games left in the season it would seem silly for the Tigers to rush him back. If not for the sake of the ankle itself than simply so that he doesn’t get some other injury while compensating for it.

The American League MVP race is going to be interesting. Cabrera, assuming he doesn’t come back, will finish with nice triple crown stats: .328 average, 38 homers and 126 RBI
on the year.  His OPS is nearly identical to Josh Hamilton (1.049 for Hamilton, 1.042 for Cabrera).

The knock on Hamilton by some is that he’s missed a lot of time, but the difference is not extreme: Hamilton has 559, Cabrera has 644. Joe Mauer won the MVP last year after missing the first month of the season and he only had 573 plate appearances, so we certainly can’t dismiss Hamilton.

Other possibilities — which we’ll obviously be discussing more in the coming days and weeks — include Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista and Evan Longoria. I imagine Adrian Beltre and Paul Konerko have their advocates.  It’s quite wide open this year.

I’d probably give my first place vote — if I had one — to Josh Hamilton based on defense and pennant race stuff and what have you, but this is one award choice where reasonable people can disagree. And as long as they use some amount of reason to reach their conclusions, I’m pretty cool with that.

  1. kevinapps - Sep 28, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    If I had a vote, it would go to Longoria.
    My top 5 would probably be:
    1. Longoria
    2. Cabrera
    3. Cano
    4. Beltre
    5. Hamilton
    Mauer, Choo, and Bautista would also get some consideration.

  2. Ari Collins - Sep 28, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    Hamilton’s 100 missing plate appearances are more than made up for by the fact that he’s a very good defensive outfielder instead of a bad defensive first baseman, yet producing at the same rate.

  3. BC - Sep 28, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Hamilton. No question. Look at the suck tournament that Texas has conducted since he went out.

  4. Old Gator - Sep 28, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    My choice would be Felix Hernandez. There’s no way that the Mariners could have finished last without him. I would also choose Felix Hernandez for Gold Glove outfielder, rookie of the year, whatever they’re calling the good guy award this season, and award him the triple crown even though he hasn’t had any plate appearances. I mean, hey, this guy is a .500 pitcher! To hell with his stats!

  5. Trevor B - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Ignorance is bliss huh gator?

  6. Trevor B - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    In terms of MOST VALUEABLE [I would assume to their team] Player, Hamilton definately is the man. He’s had top notch defense and one of the best bats in the AL. Without him I don’t see the Rangers making the playoffs this year. He’s definately given more value than Miggy as well, because Miggy is really just an offensive guy whereas Hamilton produces on both sides.

  7. BC - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    I want to see King Felix lose his last two starts 1-0, giving up unearned runs in each. 12-14 with a 2.10 ERA.
    Seriously, if he wins the Cy Young, it’s the seventh sign of the apocalypse. It would be akin to Luis Castillo winning the NL MVP.
    Actually…. Castillo should get some MVP votes, in that he’s helping to get Minaya and Manuel fired….

  8. Old Gator - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    You know, my neighbor is a Tea Party activist and seems pretty happy all the time, so yeah, I suspect you might be right.

  9. The Steve Jeltz Experiment - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    I didn’t know you were my neighbor, Gator.

  10. The Steve Jeltz Experiment - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Hamilton, even with the missing PAs. But it would be extremely close among the rest of the bunch — I would probably vote for Longoria by a hair over Cabrera for second.

  11. BatCorker - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Those who categorize Cabrera as a one-dimensional (offensive) player obviously haven’t seen him play first base recently and are assuming he is a stiff at the position. In actuality, he’s made a very nice transition to the right side of the infield after being shifted there upon arriving in Detroit a few years ago and has made himself into a better-than-average defensive first baseman. Not necessarily gold glove caliber but, then again, Hamilton truly isn’t a gold glover in center either.

  12. Old Gator - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    You would if your binoculars were half as powerful as mine.

  13. Ari Collins - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Every fan of every team thinks that if everyone else watched their poor defensive players, they’d realize they’re actually average or even slightly above. Miguel Cabrera is not. It’s kinda like how most people think they’re an above average driver.

  14. Kiwicricket - Sep 28, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Cabrera is top 3 in all major offensive catagories is he not? Tough to knock that when it comes down to it. If Felix and Luis Castillo are getting votes, I want Yuniesky Betancourt in the mix right now! He’s somehow leading all American league SS in something

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