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You’ll be shocked to hear that Jim Leyland prefers Miguel Cabrera in the MVP race

Sep 20, 2012, 9:13 AM EDT

Miguel Cabrera Getty Images

File this under: “Well, duh, of course he’s going to say that, and in his place you’d say the same thing,” but Jim Leyland’s rationale for thinking Miguel Cabrera is the MVP over Mike Trout is interesting. And yes, that “player you’re talking about” is Trout:

“Well, I’m gonna answer that this way,” Leyland said. “I will not use a player’s name, but according to the Sabermetrics, there’s a player that is better than Miguel Cabrera. When the guy that gave me the Sabermetrics told me that, I said, ‘Well then should we trade Miguel Cabrera for the player you’re talking about,’ and he said, ‘Oh no, you can’t do that.’

“And I said, ‘Well then you don’t believe in Sabermetrics, and neither do I.’”

Two things:

(1) I love how, when assessing Mike Trout, people dismiss it as “sabermetrics.” Since when is defense and base running “sabermetrics?”  Isn’t that part of baseball?  Indeed, the knock on statheads for years was that they only looked at the hitting numbers and paid no attention to defense and base running. Now, when that is considered, that’s some esoteric, statistical argument? Really?

(2) I know Leyland can’t say that he’d trade Miguel Cabrera for Mike Trout, but I guarantee you — I’d bet my life on it — that all 30 general managers in baseball, Dave Dombrowski included, would trade Miguel Cabrera straight up for Mike Trout. Indeed, the Angels would be the ones who balked at that, I’m sure.

Anyway, I’m going to go get my calculator so I can tell if this is a good play:

  1. proudlycanadian - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Not shocked at all. He had a great season last year also. At some point, consistency will be rewarded. Trout will have his opportunity later in his career.

    • The Common Man - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      Actually, just the opposite. Consistency gets penalized because it’s not as sensational and people get tired of it. That’s why Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols haven’t won 90% of the NL MVPs since 1993.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        Finally…something we can agree on T.C.M.
        I would add that I don’t know it’s so much an issue of people getting tired of consistency.
        More so…I feel they come to expect it, take it for granted and almost discount it as average for that particular player. Regardless of how other-worldly that particular player is.
        A.P.’s 1st 10 years were something that had never been done in the History of the game.
        Barry is/was also in a class by himself. They should have won 90% of the MVP awards.
        I will chalk it up to complacency among the voters.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Which is, I think, part of what hurts Miggy. After delivering so well for so many seasons, expectations are high enough that people shrug when he does his magic. It doesn’t seem special anymore.

        But, MVP isn’t an award for best player of the year and intangibles do matter, even it they are impossible to quantify.

    • The Common Man - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      Also, it’s the 2012 Most Valuable Player award, what a player may or may not do for the rest of his career should have no bearing.

      • kevinbnyc - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM

        See also: Arguments in favor of shutting down that pitcher kid in Washington.

    • brianc6234 - Sep 20, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      No reason Trout has to wait LATER in his career if he deserves the MVP this year. The season isn’t over yet. I think the voters should hold this against Cabrera though. Leyland is an old fool. Shouldn’t he be more worried about getting to the playoffs than Cabrera winning the MVP? Leyland is a dope.

  2. kevinleaptrot - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Calculator’s not going to cut it. You need to build a spreadsheet.

    • ezthinking - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      Only 50 more of these articles and posts until the award and then two months of rehash after the award is given.

      The bigger factor will be this:

      .371/.438/.823 1.261 OPS 15 R 8 HR 21 RBI 0 SB

      .273/.368/.394 .762 OPS 12 R 2 HR 3 RBI 4 SB

      Those are the September stats. If Trout keeps sinking and Cabrera keeps rising, it will be Cabrera.

  3. indaburg - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Maybe the guy Leyland was talking to meant, “Oh, no, you can’t do that. The Angels would never agree to it.”

    • baseballisboring - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM


      I love how Leyland’s whole approach to disproving “sabermetrics” is referencing a conversation he had with some guy once. Who, when asked if he would trade Cabrera for Trout, only said no because A) maybe he was a little intimidated by Leyland and didn’t wanna have the argument, or B) was talking about that trade in the context of 2012, since they already have Austin Jackson.

      Sabermetrics are nothing to “believe” in anymore. When Bill James came on the scene, they were just ideas. Now it’s legitimate information, that 30 MLB managers should be using.

      • indaburg - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        I agree. I’m not the most mathematically inclined person in the world–some of the sabermetric formulas hurt my head–but I do appreciate the value sabermetrics bring. For example, a simple sabermetric, OPS, is one of my favorite stats and I wish Fox Sunsports woud give that stat in addition to batting avg, RBIs etc. That simple stat says so much more about a player’s ability. I think the hesitancy from the old school comes from things that can’t be quantified. Leadership ability, raw instinct, intelligence, likeability, aggressiveness… yes, The Intangibles. I still think Leyland’s awesome, but he’s definitely old school.

      • baseballisboring - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        Yeah, you’re talking to a dude who graduated high school with a 2.1 GPA, and probably would’ve had to repeat my senior year if my Informal Geometry (!) teacher didn’t pass me out of pity. That’s what’s so frustrating about how slow the sabermetrics movement is catching on…a lot of this stuff just isn’t that complicated. I am about the furthest thing from a nerd you can be. And I mean, I definitely scoffed the first time I read Keith Law saying that wins and RBI’s don’t matter. But then I read about it, did a little research, had a saber-epiphany and never looked back. Some of it seems counter-intuitive, you might have to, you know, think a little to understand some of it, but it’s been hugely rewarding for me as a fan.

        I also have a limit with advanced stats, though. Some of them make my head hurt too…the numbers enter my brain and hit a wall of stupidity that they can’t get past. But I know enough to be a more qualified MVP voter than Jim Leyland, at least.

  4. largebill - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Any GM who wouldn’t trade a great player turning 30 for a great player who is 20 is a fool especially when you factor in that bodies like Cabrera’s don’t always age well. He isn’t Boog Powell size, but each year as he ages more doubles become long singles and more singles become outs by a step. I won’t dismiss the power difference between the players, but a younger player like Trout is likely to see his homers increase.

    • indaburg - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      Not only his size, but his history of heavy drinking is another factor in the likelihood he won’t age well.

      • alang3131982 - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        I dont get the thumbs down…Mickey Mantle wouldnt thumbs down that one…

      • indaburg - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Heh.. I was thinking maybe we have a few alcoholics on this message board?

        In all seriousness, being in the health field, I see daily the ravages of heavy alcohol usage. I don’t judge Cabrera; it’s a disease. If it wasn’t for alcohol, drugs, fatty foods, and sheer stupidity, I probably wouldn’t have a job.

  5. cur68 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Did Leyland demand that Trout kid get off the lawn, too? That quote by Leyland is the most Jim Leyland quote of the season. Not only does it reflect his blatant preference for his own guy, but Leyland its totally irrational, too. All this put forth with that grouchy old guy demeanor that indicates he’s been around longer than you, punk, so shut up.

    I hope Jim Leyland never retires. MLB needs him to keep being the same guy. He’s the Pop Fisher of MLB.

    • mommatocharlie - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:45 AM

      and just why should Jim Leyland make statements that show his preference for his player? Last I heard, trout was a limp fish, not a baseball player.

      • cur68 - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:17 AM

        Hey don’t let facts get in the way of your homerism there, sunshine.

  6. plseattle - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    i agree, defense is absolutely a part of a player’s value and should be a part of the MVP discussion and not just dismissed as sabermetric “get of my lawn, hippy” talk.

    unfortunately there are going to be the same old BWAA writers who put on their RBI glasses when they vote although those same guys usually don’t vote for players on teams who don’t make the playoffs so this may all be moot.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      The jury (AKA the BWAA) will make the final decision and I fully expect that they will vote for Leyland’s client this time. He has been close to winning the last few years. Craig’s client is young and will have to wait for another year.

      • The Common Man - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM

        I can’t tell if you’re talking about what will happen or what should happen, canadian. If you’re talking about what should happen, though, that’s the dumbest argument I’ve heard in a long time, and I’ve been hanging out in the Yunel Escobar threads for the last couple days. So that’s saying something.

    • dougefresh47 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      They are both great offensive players. The deciding factor is defense. Trout robs homeruns, Cabrera is the worst defensive player in baseball.

      • ezthinking - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        Actually according to WAR Cabrera is nowhere near the worst defensive player and Trout is not the best.

  7. fusionix7 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    I like the progression where people are actually considering defense into the equation for the MVP. I can’t recall an MVP race where the defense was actually a vocal point of the discussion. Having said that in regards to how important each player is to the team I would give the edge to Cabby. Considering how disastrous the offense has been for the Tigers without Cabby there is absolutely no hint of the playoffs. Trout has been very important as well for the Angels, revitalizing them at the beginning of the season until Pujols got his bearings. Great as his impact is, I think Cabby flirting with the triple crown will give him the late press attention that he needs to pull ahead.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      “I can’t recall an MVP race where the defense was actually a vocal point of the discussion.”

      Ozzie Smith narrowly losing the 1987 MVP race to Andre Dawson was certainly one, ditto Pudge Rodriguez in 1999. But overall, it’s like most factors in the MVP voting: voters pay attention to do it as a reinforcement tool to justify their decision, not as a factor in making their decision.

  8. legacybroken - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    I know its the cool thing right now to start making arrangements for Trouts Hall of Fame induction but the kid still hasn’t even finished his rookie season and he still had a long way to go before his career can be compared to Miggy who is only second to Pujols in year in and year out dominance. While Leyland’s use of the trade argument was stupid for purposes of MVP talk, I’d would not trade the consistently stellar Miggy for a kid who could just as easily turn into a one year wonder who could be out of baseball in five years.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      True, but so could Miggy. He’ll be 30 next year, on the downward slope of his career and making $22 million dollars. Players often drop off very, very rapidly after the age of 30. Much faster than most people realize.

      Miggy will probably be fine, he’s a special player who probably has many, many more great seasons left in him. But I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to trade a 30 year old first baseman for a 20-year-old phenom with a 10 WAR, amazing baserunning and defense, almost equal hitting and making $21 million less per season.

    • frank433 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      Trout really isn’t a rookie if you follow the proper rules in the rule book. MLB gave an exception to him due to not spending the minimum time in the minors between call-ups last year. Guess it doesn’t matter in the long run.

  9. scoregasmic - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    I wouldn’t trade cabby for trout, Cabby is an underrated fielder and the best hitter in baseball and has been for awhile now

  10. The Dangerous Mabry - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Didn’t look like much of a trade to me. Did he get any RBI? No? Move along.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Crap. Can’t even snark right. Didn’t look like much of a play to me is what that was supposed to say.

      I know it’s never been mentioned before, but an edit function would do some good here.

  11. detroitr1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    So one clip of Trout is what settles the argument then? Should I post a video of Austin Jackson and make the same point? And the argument about ‘a trade any GM would make’ is disingenuous at best. Of course GMs would make the trade at the present time. The better argument to make would be to compare the two players at the same age (edge Trout). Cabrera is older but has a track record. Compare the track record. Cabrera is in his 9th year and close to the Triple Crown. Will Trout have the same success?

    • The Common Man - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      “So one clip of Trout is what settles the argument then? Should I post a video of Austin Jackson and make the same point?”

      If you can explain how Austin Jackson’s defense is relevant to Miguel Cabrera’s MVP candidacy, I suggest you go right ahead. Good luck with that. And their track records shouldn’t have any bearing. This is an award for the Most Valuable Player of 2012. We don’t give guys extra credit for what they did before or what they may do later.

      • detroitr1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:18 AM

        By posting a video of Trout making a defensive play, Craig seems to be indicating that it is defensive plays like that which justify the MVP argument. My point was that I could post a video of Austin Jackson making super human plays in centerfield and make his argument for MVP. In other words, I’m saying defensive plays should not be the main argument for MVP. As for this season, feel free to look up Cabrera’s numbers for 2012 by month. No extra credit needed.

      • The Common Man - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        No. It’s Trout’s overall defense that helps justify his MVP case. This play is a reminder of how phenomenal he is defensively. It’s no different from you posting a homer of Cabrera’s and say “see, he’s awesome!”

        Anyway, the main argument for Trout is not his defense. Offensively, he’s got the same OBP as Cabrera while providing slightly less homerun power, but he gets some of that value back with his tremendous baserunning. While he’s not quite as good as Cabrera on offense, he is incredible (keep in mind he plays in a tougher home offensive environment and plays a disproportionate amount of road games at Safeco and Oakland Colosseum).

        But you can’t ignore the value his defense adds either. When a player is an elite defender, as opposed to a poor one, and plays a difficult defensive position, as opposed to an easy one (not that 3B is an easy position, mind you, I’m just arguing the concept), that takes a ton of runs off the board for his club over the course of a season and is harder for that team to replace.

        And I’m not sure what you think looking at Cabrera’s monthly stats will tell me that you think his overall won’t. Feel free to explain and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.

      • detroitr1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        “And I’m not sure what you think looking at Cabrera’s monthly stats will tell me that you think his overall won’t. Feel free to explain and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.”

        O.k. Let’s look at September’s stats for Trout and compare them to Cabrera’s. Now tell me who is performing better offensively at the close of the season. Am I wrong?

      • The Common Man - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM

        No, you’re right. Cabrera is having a better offensive month (though Trout hasn’t been a slouch). But games early in the season count exactly as much as games in September, and in those games, Trout outplayed Cabrera.

    • nategearhart - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      1) No, the clip of Trout is not what settles the argument, and it wasn’t supposed to.
      3) The trade argument isn’t “disingenuous”, but it isn’t perfect either. But keep in mind that it was Leyland’s argument, not Craig’s. Craig was merely countering it.
      2) Your argument isn’t better at all, because this is about the MVP for this very year (I do find it amusing though, that Trout wins out in your argument, too).
      No one knows what Trout is going to do in his career. You, as a Tigers fan, may have very well been saying the same things nine years ago about some kid playing for the Marlins named Miguel Cabrera. What will happen to Trout and to Cabrera in the future is for Angels and Tigers fans to worry about.

      • nategearhart - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM

        1,3,2? EDIT FUNCTION!

      • detroitr1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        O.k. Here’s an argument for Cabrera. He was playing first base in 2011 and asked to move to 3rd base in 2012. He did so and played it at an average level defensively at age 29 and it is September 20th and he is one home run from leading the Triple Crown. The Tigers are two games back from the Division in the Central with Cabrera contributing 7 RBIs in two must-win games. One of which is a grand slam against Oakland to put the game out of reach.

      • nategearhart - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM

        Trout is brilliant in CF, which is more valuable than Cabrera’s (arguably) average 3B play.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        The Tigers are two games back from the Division in the Central with Cabrera contributing 7 RBIs in two must-win games.

        Can someone explain this line of thinking to me please? The Angels have a better record than the Tigers. But because the Tigers play in a worse division, they are “closer” to a WC spot. Therefore, Cabrera should get more credit than Trout because his team is closer to a playoff spot?

        Am I the only one who thinks this line of reasoning is a bit odd?

      • detroitr1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        “Am I the only one who thinks this line of reasoning is a bit odd?”

        The Tigers play in the Central and there was no mention of a WC spot in my post. I said they are two back from winning their division. To compare them to other divisions they don’t play in is meaningless in this context. What is relevant is how Cabrera is helping his team in the division they play in. Furthermore, the Angles have a better team record is meaningless as well. Cabrera has better offensive numbers than Trout right now and is posting even better numbers to help his team try and take the Central Division. That’s my reasoning and it is not odd at all. The reasoning is only odd if you’re trying to be willfully ignorant.

      • nategearhart - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        Comparing them to other divisions is not meaningless. YOU brought up the Tiger’s place in the standings, which is based on W/L. Well, the Angels have a better record than the Tigers. They are not as close to winning their division because the Rangers are way better than the Angels, the White Sox, OR the Tigers, which is not at all Mike Trout’s fault. You need to stick to only which PLAYER is having a better year.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        there was no mention of a WC spot in my post

        Of course you didn’t mention it, because if you did you’d have to admit that the Angels are a better team than Detroit, seeing as how LA is 1.5 games ahead of them.

        Cabrera has better offensive numbers than Trout right now and is posting even better numbers to help his team try and take the Central Division.

        Actually he doesn’t. Once again:

        Trout – 173
        Cabrera – 170

        If you look at counting stats, Cabrera wins but that should be obvious considering how much more playing time he’s had.

    • bbil2012 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      I’m with you Detroit. I’ll keep the guy with the outstanding track record.
      I’d feel foolish if I had traded Reggie Jackson to get Fred Lynn after the 1975 season.

      • nategearhart - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        If you go look and compare post-1975 Reggie to Fred Lynn, they’re a lot closer than you’d probably think. Close enough so that you shouldn’t feel “foolish” by such a trade.

      • Joe - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM

        And yet, Fred Lynn posted WAR of 22.6 over the next six years, vs. 20.9 for Reggie.

        Lynn hit 294/372/489-106-437 (130 OPS+) in 744 games. He also won three gold gloves.
        Reggie hit 281/368/522-171-552 (149 OPS+) in 787 games.

        So you might have felt foolish, but it would have been a good trade, especially considering that Lynn’s numbers were depressed by his injury history, which you wouldn’t have known about in 1975.

      • Joe - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        I should point out that I cut off in 1981 because that was Reggie’s last year in New York. It might look cherry-picked, because Reggie did lead the AL in homers in 1982, which was his last great season. He and Lynn were teammates that year. Reggie’s WAR was 2.9 that season. Freddie’s was 4.5.

    • plseattle - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      it certainly doesn’t settle the argument but it is there to remind us that trout’s speed in the outfield and the base paths, in addition to his bat, is what comprises his value (and his historic WAR – oh yeah, that).

    • yahmule - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Maybe Craig should have posted video of all four home runs Trout was stolen this year. As well as the dozens of other great defensive plays he’s made this season, including the balls he made routine plays on that many OF wouldn’t have come close to catching.

  12. Lukehart80 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Title for the comments section of this post:

    “You’ll be shocked to hear that Tigers fans prefer Miguel Cabrera in the MVP race.”

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      I wondered where they all disappeared to after hearing the comments in the preseason about how great the team would be. Then they disappeared just as fast as they showed up.

      • detroitr1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:22 AM

        Well, this thread was about Cabrera…so I would think that would attract Tigers fans attention

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        Of course it would, but why the gap from all the talk in the pre-season, to almost nothing during the season, to back in the comments right now?

      • historiophiliac - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        Well, then, y’all haven’t been paying attention because I’ve been making Miggy comments. Of course, our pro-Tigers comments might have been missed because we’re the only ones reading/commenting on the related stories. The rest of you are busy wringing your hands about Strasburg for the last month.

    • Detroit Michael - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      Just to give you a counter-example from a Tiger fan:
      Trout is clearly the most valuable AL player of 2012 if the season ended today.

      • plseattle - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        thanks for the voice of reason. they are both having amazing seasons and i too am trying to weigh in as a baseball without any skin in either argument.

  13. Detroit Michael - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Craig, what did your calculator say about that play? Talk about a cliffhanger ending to a blog post. 😉

    • historiophiliac - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      It said “hello.”

  14. plseattle - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    detroitr1 – you’re still riding a high from a grand slam and yes miggy killed it in “must win” games against oakland. wasn’t that series two weeks ago against LAA “must win”? the one where trout also hit homers and jumper over a fence to rob biggy of a HR – and the tigers were swept?

    • detroitr1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      plseattle. That’s a good point. I guess that makes up for Trout’s 1-13 and 5Ks in the August 24/26 series games against the Tigers.

      • echech88 - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        Both of you have terrible logic and should stop posting.

  15. hisgirlgotburrelled - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    A straight up trade is so irrelevant. Cabrera is insanely consistent at a high level and is a sure bet to hit .320/.395/.565, and Trout would technically be a riskier venture for years to come. But this is just an award for this year, not for who is the better franchise player.

    Last night I was a bit surprised at Harold Reynolds and John Smoltz on MLB Network talking about it and how “statistically, it’s not even close.” WAR doesn’t have to be the end all to MVP conversations, but if you go just by triple crown stats when comparing these two players then you are heavily favoring hitting and where you hit in the batting order. Of course Cabrera is going to have more RBI’s than Trout by a wide margin. The guy’s leading off. You can’t put more value in RBI’s and completely dismiss R’s and SB’s.

    • plseattle - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      and trout didn’t come up until may!!

  16. Joe - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    You know how Sabermetricians love their defense and base running! Sabermetricians are always talking about the 1962 NL MVP that was won by Maury Wills (104 steals, Gold Glove at SS) as being a prehistoric victory for the stat head crowd.

    • nategearhart - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      Now HERE’S a post that begs for a sarcasm font! :)

  17. kalinedrive - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    All outfielders run down fly balls and catch some at the wall. The value of a center fielder may be greater than the value of a third baseman, but does it really make as much difference as flat out hitting? If Trout catches one fly ball a week that the average center fielder doesn’t get to and turns into a double, how many of those would have driven in runs or scored runs? How do you even measure that, when another center fielder may just as well have caught them, too? You can’t look at a play and say nobody else would have made it, or at least not very many plays.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      but does it really make as much difference as flat out hitting?

      Trout – 173
      Cabrera – 170

      So when you properly add up all the things a hitter can do, and apply proper weights, Trout is still a better hitter than Cabrera. wRC+ is just a hitting stat, so it doesn’t even factor in the huge lead Trout has over Cabrera in running and defense.

    • kalinedrive - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Oh, a plus three on the infallible wRC+ scale, that proves it! If anyone thinks Trout is a better hitter than Cabrera, there is no point in arguing. Those are the people who are dependent on imagination and feel entitled to ignore facts, and they’ll never vote for Miggy anyway.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        Admit it, you have no idea what wRC+ means, do you?

      • kalinedrive - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        You got me! I assume the RC is for runs created or something. Is 3 a big difference on this metric? Or is .333/.398/.616/1.014 in 147 games vs. .327/.395/.556/.951 in 126 games meaningless? Or do you just like to look around until you find a stat in your favor and then use it to the exclusion of any other comparison?

  18. echech88 - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    What I love is that Tigers fans suddenly have become this old fashioned, metric-bashing sect but the past few years have used the exact same advanced stats (rightfully so) to argue why Verlander is superior to every other pitcher.

  19. jschulz79 - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    If WAR is all that matters, you might as well just get rid of the voting and let the computers spit out the winner. I won’t deny that baserunning and defense are important, but the bottom line is that Trout has been very average down the stretch while his team has seen it’s playoff chances slip away. Meanwhile, Cabrera has been a BEAST in Aug/Sept, and is the only reason the Tigers still have shot at the division.

    Trout: August – .284 average, .866 OPS; September – .273 average, .762 OPS.
    Cabrera: August – .357 average, 1.092 OPS; September – .371 average, 1.261 OPS

    And Cabrera is way more clutch than Trout. Cabrera – .360 with runners in scoring position and .457 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs. Trout – .333 and .298.

    If this was 3 years ago, before WAR became a religion, there wouldn’t even be a debate. On one hand, you have a guy on the verge of becoming the first triple crown winner in nearly 50 years. On the other hand, you have a guy who didn’t even play in his teams first 20 games and trails the first guy in average, OBP, OPS, home runs, RBIs, etc.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Phew, thank god the first three months of the season don’t matter, and that wins in Aug/Sept count for 10x the amount. Or else when Trout was hitting like a beast and the Angels were winning games and Cabrera wasn’t playing well and Detroit was falling back of Chicago, we might have an argument to counter the “last few months schtick”.

      The season is 162 games long. For the majority of the season Trout was a better hitter (he’s still a better hitter by wRC+). Trout is a better fielder, and a better baserunner. His Angel’s team has a better record than the Tigers.

      Please refute the above with something other than counting stats which will favor Cabrera due to playing time.

      • jschulz79 - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        #1 – The first 3 months of the season do matter. Specifically, the first month where Trout didn’t even play.

        #2 – Your argument would have some weight if Cabrera didn’t lead Trout in pretty much every offensive category for the ENTIRE season. Also, I’d like to know when “Cabrera wasn’t playing well.” His “worst” month was May, when he hit .331 with an .839 OPS. This is far better than what Trout has done down the stretch.

        #3 – When a race is close (and the ONLY reason this is close is because of Trout’s superior baserunning and defense), how you play down the stretch does matter. And in this case, it’s no contest.

    • kalinedrive - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Extra playing time favors percentage stats such as AVG, OBP and SLG? I did not know this.

  20. jschulz79 - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    And to everyone who worships at the religion of WAR, who would you rather have on your team? Josh Hamilton (4.0 WAR), Josh Reddick (4.4 WAR) or Denard Span (4.3 WAR). That’s what I thought.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      And to everyone who worships at the religion of WAR, who would you rather have on your team? Josh Hamilton (4.0 WAR), Josh Reddick (4.4 WAR) or Denard Span (4.3 WAR). That’s what I thought.

      I like how you bring up WAR and not understand the error bars involved. 0.5 WAR difference isn’t significant, especially if the difference involves defense. However, let’s see where a 0.5 WAR difference wouldn’t include the error bar:

      Mike Trout – 9.4
      Miguel Cabrera – 6.8

      Trout – 10.2
      Cabrera – 6.5

      Hmm, looks a lot different than the three you mentioned above.

      • jschulz79 - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        My point is that is if all you looked at was WAR, you would think Josh Hamilton and Denard Span are comparable players (I hope you aren’t really going to make that argument). WAR is a useful tool to look at more than just traditional statistics, but it isn’t the ultimate authority on a player’s value to a team. Managers and pitchers fear Cabrera, they don’t fear Trout. That’s why Cabrera has 15 intentional walks, even though he has Fielder hitting behind him. Trout only has 3, with light-hitting Erick Aybar hitting behind him.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        Trout leads off the game! Of course he’s not intentionally walked. He also has far less plate appearances than Cabrera.

        As for the breakdown of the players, it’s very possible that defense is a deciding factor. And it’s bad enough that we use less than three year’s of samples to determine an ability, let alone one full year. However, if we just look at offensive ability, we get a breakdown of:

        Hamilton – 4.6 (-0.7 dWAR)
        Span – 2.8 (1.8 dWAR)
        Reddick – 2.9 (1.0 dWAR)

        Like I said above, 0.5 WAR (and please, when referencing WAR, let us know which you are using, rWAR or fWAR, it makes a difference) is generally just noise so no, the total value of those three players is essentially a push. However, when you just look at their offensive contributions you can see how far ahead Hamilton is than the rest. What’s wrong with that?

      • kalinedrive - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM

        So the difference between a great player and an average player is a couple of wins a year? Seems like umpires, injuries, and luck play a bigger factor than that. I don’t know how you figure out how many wins a team would have had with a league average player instead of a specific player, since situations vary based on who is at the plate and who is on the mound, but I think it’s absolutely ridiculous for someone to take one theoretical statistic that they really probably can’t explain with any meaningful analysis and use it to override a dozen actual statistics of what a player actually did on the field of play.

  21. drpompanoduke - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Get real, Trout 3rd time around the league & pitchers figured out Mr Trout. 8 years in the bigs & they still have figured out Miggy. Come back in 8 years.

    • brianc6234 - Sep 20, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      What a tool you are. Mike Trout hasn’t been figured out. Miguel Cabrera has been though. Just give him a couple beers and get him wasted before a game and he’ll be useless.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:55 PM

        brianc6234, you make me proud to be on the other side.

  22. thatyankeedude - Sep 20, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Trout=MVP. Yay Cabrera can hit, but trout plays a complete game. He hits, steals, plays awesome defense and is a smart player. If the MVP was based on only HR I guess Miguel would have a better chance.

  23. blabidibla - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Trout fading, Miggy rising as the season comes to a close means Miggy wins. Humans remember what happened 5 mins agao, not 5 weeks ago.

  24. nflfollower - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Well two things: First, who is finishing stronger? That always plays an important role for voters it seems, and right now it’s Cabrera finishing much, much stronger. That’s just a fact, no room for argument there.

    Second: We have had a lot of great, great individual performances since 1967, and NOBODY has won the triple crown. It’s like baseball’s holy grail. If Cabrera wins the triple crown, he wins the MVP. Every single year, somebody wins the MVP, Cabrera may be the first one to win the Triple Crown in about 50 years. Stop for a second and think logically about that. Voters respect history, they respect the Triple Crown and what it stands for in the game of baseball—-it represents that nearly unattainable dream season from an individual perspective. Win it, and you win the MVP. And that’s the second fact.

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