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Jim Leyland thinks Miguel Cabrera should be the MVP but worries about “Wonderboy”

Aug 9, 2012, 4:33 PM EDT

Mike Trout AP

It’s not terribly surprising that Jim Leyland is going to say that he thinks his guys — Miguel Cabrera — should be the MVP over someone else.* But his comments about why Mike Trout may win the award instead of Cabrera are pretty fun:

“I mean this respectfully,” Leyland said during the interview. “I don’t mean this disrespectfully — I think what could be a little problem for Miggy … he could run into one of these Wonderboy stories.

“You know — a young kid, 20 years old, everybody gets excited about that, everybody loves that. It has a nice ring to hit, it should have. So I think that’s dangerous for Miggy.”

Between “clown question, bro,” “blinkin’ fertilizer” and now “wonderboy stories,” this has been a pretty good year for silliness.  Maybe it’s just society.

That aside, I think it’s a little rich of Leyland to argue that some sort of off-the-field narrative (Trout’s Wonderboy status) may unfairly drive the MVP race when, in the very same interview he says that Cabrera’s track record — he talks about Cabrera’s career numbers — should be taken into consideration. Neither Trout’s age nor Cabrera’s past performance should have any bearing for a single season award.

*Please forget for a moment that last year Leyland publicly said that he didn’t think his guy, Justin Verlander, should win the MVP award.

  1. Kyle - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Leyland is having a laugh.

    And don’t forget the greatest silliness of all: Weird Wuss.

  2. elmaquino - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    There is a reason Bryce Harper is getting more pub than Albert Pujols this year.

  3. Mike Luna - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I think it was “blinkin’ fertilizer”, was it not?

  4. dondada10 - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    MVPs aren’t won in August, anyway. Let’s see who performs down the stretch, and that will be the story voters base their ballots on.

    • Kyle - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:59 PM

      You’re right, MVPs are won between the months of April and September.

      • ezthinking - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        Or just September – ask Vlady circa 2004 – .371 10 HR 23 RBI, 24 R, 6 2B. More than a quarter of season’s HR and a fifth of his season’s RBI’s. ^ jacks in the final week to help put the Angels in front of the (Moneyball) A’s. The last month and who makes the playoffs is a HUGE factor in the voting. Just ask Braun/Kemp.

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        …he also finished 3rd in batting, 9th in OBP, 3rd in slugging, 3rd in OPS, 1st in runs, 3rd in hits, 1st in total bases, 10th in doubles, 4th in home runs, 4th in RBIs, and 2nd in OPS+

        It’s not like the guy hit .280 with 25 home runs with an awful September. He was pretty fantastic all year.

    • judahbenhur - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:20 PM

      You are right not conceding the award too soon, but to date, Mike Trout is the MVP not Cabrera. If Trout continues his current rate of production he has to get the award. Trout is literally doing things no one has ever done in the history of baseball. If he hits .340 with 20 HRs and 30 steals it will be a first (he’s already got 20HRs and 36 steals, while hitting .346. He could hit 30 HRs and have 50 plus steals despite missing the first month of the season. He has 60RBI hitting leadoff and after missing the first month. He’s second in slugging percentage, number one in steals and in the top 5 in a slew of other categories. Now mix in the catch of the year over the fence and the fact the Angels were tanking and you have the very definition of the MVP. Without Trout the Angels are completely out of the race.

  5. elgorditodehumboldt - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Not that this has any bearing on who is the MVP or not, but who inspires you to watch/play more baseball? An exuberant, out of this world talent like Mike Trout or a sometimes in shape, multiple DUI’er like Miguel Cabrera.

    • thereisaparty - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      Multiple? Try one. Not that facts take away from your argument. There is no one I like watching hit more than Miggy.

      • paperlions - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:32 PM

        I’ll bet anything that Cabrera has driven under the influence dozens of times. Maybe he was only caught once, but it seems highly doubtful that it was an isolated incident.

        Not getting caught does equal not brea

      • paperlions - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:33 PM

        dang it…

        Not getting caught does not equal not breaking the law (and in this case putting peoples lives in danger).

      • ezthinking - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:52 PM

        and DUI’s have nothing to do with watching probably the best hitter in baseball in Cabrera. Trout is fun, Miggy is a a stud, watch and enjoy – leave the DUI’s to M.A.D.D.

        P.S. is this you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_Lions or are you just a fan?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM

        “Leave DUI’s to MADD”…..Driving while intoxicated is a concern of society at large. It is the place of the average citizen to speak out against this type of behavior. Personally, I would like to see more stringent penalties for offenders.

  6. legacybroken - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Elgor, Id rather see Miggy win it because for the last 9 seaasons Cabrera’s been the best and most consistent hitter in all of baseball who doesn’t answer to the name Albert Pujols.

    • elgorditodehumboldt - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      MVP is not a legacy award though – that’s what the HOF is for. At this point, can you really say that Miggy has been more valuable to his club than Trout has been? Plus outside of HR’s and RBI’s – Trout’s number are superior in every category.

      • ray0414 - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:28 PM

        this is not true. cabrera leads in just about every hitting category in the majors. he has more go ahead hits, clutch hits, he also has hte highest BA in the 7th inning and later. he has more game tying hits and go aheads than anyone else in baseball. they showed about 5 stats the other day on tv and he was 1st in all of them, as far as hits at certain times. lets see who finishes better, and maybe 1 team makes the playoffs and the other doesnt.

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        Miggy does have the advantage in playing 23 more games. I think there is a reasonable debate on whether his performance makes up for that 23 game gap where he produced nothing.

        As it is, there is still plenty of time left in the season to see who the MVP is.

  7. ditto65 - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Leyland hit a yicketty with that comment.

    • GoneYickitty - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      def a mammo

  8. Andy Snakovsky - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    That “Wonderboy” has been the best player in baseball since he was called up, so why wouldnt he be the MVP.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      “since he was called up, so why wouldnt he be the MVP.”

      Because for 23 games, he wasn’t a player at all.

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        That comment makes it sound like I think Miggy should win it. I don’t, I think Trout is ahead at this point. *BUT*, playing time does matter.

  9. stlouis1baseball - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    You don’t think Leyland has a point Craig? Think about the spirit in which he is conveying his opinion.
    Hell…even Jim said…”It has a nice ring to hit, it should have.” People love this stuff.
    Personally, what I find a little rich is people giving their honest opinion on something and the P.C. crowd gets their feelings hurt, their panties in a bunch and start calling people out for it.

    • seitz26 - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      I can’t speak for Craig, but I don’t think Leyland has a point (or at least not a very good one). He seems to be making excuses for why Miggy may not win, where if the season ended today, the only excuse should be “because Trout is having a better season in batting average, OBP, and slugging, leading the league in stolen bases (taking them at a 92% clip), while playing gold glove quality defense at a tougher position (most of the time).”

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Please don’t missunderstand me. Trout absolutely deserves it at this point. As GoneYickitty stated…the rest of the season will ultimately determine who deserves it.
        All I was saying was Leyland has a point, if you think about what he said.
        Essentially, the new girl…the new teammate…the new kid in school always gets people excited. What (I think) Jim was trying to convey is Trout is creating serious buzz.
        Deservedly so. But there most certainly is a “Wonderboy” factor involved.

    • GoneYickitty - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      Leyland is totally right. The rookies are always carting off the MVP awards. Happens like, well, all the time.

      When I’m not being completely sarcastic, I would say that Trout would have to be clearly superior (which he is right now) to win. People are so much more apt to make the new guy wait than they are to vote for a cute story.

      As far as the match-up, Trout’s defense is superior and he’s a great on the basepaths … not just ok but great. Miguel is adequate at best defensively and as a base-runner. Cabrera would have to be obviously and emphatically better than Trout with the bat to deserve getting the award … I hope we could all agree on that. Only the rest of the season will say whether or not he’ll be able to make that claim in the end.

      • drdavidb - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:42 PM

        Mike Trout’s numbers (so far) are so impressive, rookie or not, that unless he suffers a huge setback, the MVP currently belongs to him. There is no player as exciting to watch as Trout. As
        an Angels fan, I have the privilege (yes, privilege) to watch him play daily. Chris Ianetta said that if he played as well as Trout, and got the same press as Trout at age 20, he “wouldn’t be able to fit his head through the clubhouse door”. The way he plays, and the constant praise he gets, Trout remains as humble as any rookie in the game. Doubters can watch as Mike wins ROY, and American League MVP. It doesn’t matter that he missed the first month of the season. What matters is the ungodly numbers he has put up, and the way the Angels have rebounded since a 6 and 14 record in April. While the Halo’s are currently slumping, Trout still plays daily, as if it were the 7th game of the World Series.

  10. yahmule - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I found it rich when Leyland abruptly quit on the Rockies after one season and had to spend the next six years on the outside looking in.

  11. wijason - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Speaking of 2012 silliness, I’m actually quite fond of the whole “botched robbery” commentary…

    Too soon?

  12. pistolpete31 - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Who cares, I’m just amped for the playoffs

  13. Stiller43 - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Legacybroken,

    Mvp is a year to year award. You cant consider his previous 8 or 9 when determining the 2012 mvp.

  14. rcali - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Although I’m not sure I care, it’s Trout for MVP and I don’t think it’s even close when you add in the fielding aspect. Trout’s taken away a lot of big balls in the outfield. Just think of the kind of numbers Trout would have if he batted 3rd or 4th in that order.

  15. tombradysmerkin - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Old man Leyland needs to stop drinking with his “MVP” so much. He is basically saying “Hey, remember that one time in junior high and I hit .500 and had 30 homers…yeah…yeah…that should apply to this year because way back then, I was awesome!” Trout has had a exponentially better year than Cabrera so what is his problem?

  16. keithbangedyermom - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    “I mean this respectfully. I don’t mean this disrespectfully.”

    Then he disrespects him.

    • ezthinking - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:27 PM

      It’s not a double-negative. Good try though.

      • keithbangedyermom - Aug 9, 2012 at 7:00 PM

        I quoted him word for word. And ‘Wonderboy’ is a diss.

  17. bravesfan388 - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    You’re right, Verlander should not have won the MVP award last season, Jacoby Ellsbury should have.

    • camjkaiser26 - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      Haha sir you make me laugh. Obviously Ellsbury wasn’t that valuable to the team because they didn’t make the playoffs. If he wasn’t on the team they still wouldn’t have made the playoffs so you are wrong about his “value”. That’s not saying that Ellsbury isn’t an amazing player, because he is, he just wasn’t as valuable as Verlander because the Sox wouldn’t have made the playoffs with or without him. Verlander was the clear MVP last year because every time he took the mound, it was almost certain Detroit was going to get a W. Without his 24 W s last year, Detroit would’ve not made the playoffs, therefore he was the most valuable. This year, the most valuable players have been Trout and Cabrera, because without them, their respective teams wouldn’t even be contenders right now. Whoever has a better August and September will determine who the MVP is. Personally I think the MVP should come from a playoff team because team value is only measured by how for into the season you get to play into.

  18. echech88 - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    No need to slight one player to pump the next…but Trout has amassed a full 2 Wins more than Cabrera in 20 fewer games. That seems pretty freaking significant

  19. weaselpuppy - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Variables- Trout has yet to play a season of near 160 games…we’ll see if he holds up through the grind. Adjustments- The League adjusts to young successful guys..see Bryce Harper 2012 post AS break, Heyward 2011 etc etc. Will people find a way on tape to exploitt Trout? Maybe this year, maybe not…wheras Miggy has no weak spots and has protection behind him. BABIP- Trout’s .399 isn’t sustainable long term…and based on his minors numbers, neither is his .251 ISO. Miggy’s ISO is a little elevated but his BABIP is about as equally below career norms…so Trout is due for regression due to luck and possibly hitting “the rookie wall” and Miggy is just being Miggy and likely will stay that way…Then there is the playoffs…if LAA keeps pitching like crap, they are missing the playoffs…DET still looks like the team to beat the ALC…

    • yahmule - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:06 PM

      Trout’s compact swing should make his weaknesses tough to exploit. His terrific speed will always give him a high BABIP. Since he’s built like an NFL running back and still maturing, I think projecting his power based on his minor league numbers is unwise.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        Yeah…what yahmule said.

  20. andreasoxfan - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    MVP’s should be batters, just sayin

  21. papacrick - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Just reading these comments shows how many people are caught up in the Wonderboy phoneme non. Trout is exponentially better? Have any of you clowns checked Cabrera’s stats? He’s top 3 in just about every conceivable hitting stat and he is number 1 in every single clutch stat like go ahead hits, highest ba 7th inning or later, etc.. If the batting title wins you MVP why did Miggy finish 5th last year? He’s 2nd to Trout anyway and will most likely pass him by years end. RBI has always been the most important statistic in baseball and he’s killing Trout by at least 30 but that doesn’t count anymore with all these geek stats.

  22. chiadam - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Wonderboy is a better nickname than Steroidface.

    • dexterismyhero - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Miggy can do a good laughing Scotch face though!!!

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