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Nate Silver explains why Mike Trout, not Miguel Cabrera, should be AL MVP

Nov 14, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Nate Silver

Before he was a household name in the political world Nate Silver wrote about baseball and used his projection skills for batting averages and ERAs instead of electoral college votes.

Now that the election is over Silver took a break from politics to analyze the American League MVP race between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, and in a lengthy, well-written, numbers-driven piece for the New York Times he argues that Trout should win the award.

Silver presents most of the same numbers and makes most of the same arguments that various other sabermetrically inclined writers have been doing for the past month, but the words probably carry a little more weight coming from him and I’d be curious to find out how many readers were swayed by his article when they might otherwise have brushed aside the same ideas from someone without so much cachet.

165 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. jarathen - Nov 14, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    If we’ve learned one thing, it’s that Nate Silver Is Right 90.9% of the time. 100% of the time.

    Trout should win. He won’t. It’s okay.

    • earache88 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      Mike Trout doesn’t need any stinking awards!! Everyone knows he’s the best player in baseball!!

    • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      WOW! Politics and stats all in one argument! There won’t be any survivors from this on.

  2. tcostant - Nov 14, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Triple crown or not, Miguel Cabrera will be the MVP because his team made the playoffs; while Mike Trout’s team did not. Trout has bright future and a ROY the year award, but he will have to wait at least one more year before he gets a MVP.

    • jarathen - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      So MIguel Cabrera gets to benefit from a horrendous division with some hardware, whereas Mike Trout is punished for being in a division where the worst team was actually not terrible, and the other three were all good or better. And all three had better records than the Tigers, even though the Tigers got plenty of chances to play the Indians, Twins, and Royals.

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM

        Every batter has a chance to hit the ball. No matter who is throwing it. The odds are always the same 50%. To say someones odds are better because they came from a player in a different division as ridicules.

      • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        Right MotorCity and that is why Justin Verlander and Phil Humber are exactly the same caliber of pitcher. All batters have a chance to hit the ball. Its 50/50. Always.

      • sirsean - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        http://chanceitwillhappen.com/c/get+a+hit/not+get+a+hit

        Science says it’s 50/50

      • johnchoiniere - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Dichotomy is not the same as even odds. There are only two possible outcomes (hit/not hit) for every pitch, but they don’t have an equal likelihood of occurring.

        Also, the benefit Cabrera gets from playing in the AL Central is only relevant if/because he’s getting credit for his team making the playoffs. Otherwise, I’d argue there’s little difference.

      • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        @johnchoiniere

        We know that’s the joke

      • michflaguy - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        Wah, wah, wah.
        Is THAT your logic…”we had a tough schedule” ??
        Well, perhaps if Trout had been just a bit more VALUABLE to his team, they would have made the playoffs.
        The Tigers made the playoffs, and then crushed their American league opponents on their way to the Series. The same American league teams you claim were much better than the Tigers.
        Your argument – FAIL.

    • paperlions - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      If that is the reason…the voters are idiots…because they are rewarding Cabrera for simply playing in the worst division in baseball. The Angels played in a far tougher division AND finished with a better record. Again, this is like rewarding Cabrera because Hamilton lost it during the season and E5 got hurt (preventing either from having more HR than him). Awards should be based on what a player does, not based on what others didn’t do. Cabrera was actually better in both 2010 and 2011 than he was in 2012…the difference in perception is based entirely on what other players in the AL did not do….not on anything Cabrera did do.

    • ugglasforearms - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      @ jarathen
      I don’t see this as Mike Trout being “punished” if Cabrera is awarded the MVP. Both players should be recognized for the great seasons they had. No argument from me no matter who gets the MVP. Cabrera / Trout… two outstanding seasons each deserving of an award. I believe anyone who loves baseball would agree we were blessed to see these two put up the numbers they did during 2012.

    • manifunk - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      Angels after Trout callup: 83-59 (.584 win percentage)
      Tigers: 88-74 (.543 win percentage)

      The whole “playoffs” thing is so stupid considering how the Tigers would’ve been 4th in the ALW or ALE.

    • indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      You do realize that Miguel Cabrera’s team only won 88 games, while Trout’s team won 89 games? And you do realize that Miguel Cabrera’s team making the playoffs had more to do with the Chicago White Sox utterly collapsing, of which Miguel Cabrera had nothing to do with? And you do realize that the Oakland A’s went on a tear at the end of September, of which Trout had nothing to do with? Cabrera also had the luck of playing half the games against the worst teams in the league.

      Trout is the more valuable player.

    • earache88 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Mike Trout’s team won more games than the Tigers so that playoff theory is not valid!! Sorry but if I am putting together a baseball team. I pick Trout first any day of the week.

  3. MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Triple Crown……ever heard of it? If for no other reason then that. So he would be the first Triple Crown winner not to win the MVP? I will never see one again in my lifetime. Most of you will not either. This is one of the hardest achievements in baseball and it’s not worthy of the MVP? If the writers can’t see this, let the people vote. As ridiculous as Cabrera not winning the Silver Slugger Award! Is there a limit on how many awards a player can win in a year?

    • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      He didn’t win the 3Crown. Melky Cabrera had a higher BA.

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        Pretty sure the 50 game suspension says otherwise…………

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8458298/detroit-tigers-miguel-cabrera-wins-first-triple-crown-1967

        Pretty sure he did………..unless you can change history. Can you?

      • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:38 AM

        Melky finished with .346. Even adjusted for the 50 game suspension, he still has a higher BA than Miggy. Other players have won awards (actual ones, too. Not “in name only” ones like 3crown winner), been found or admitted to using PEDS and had no loss of consideration or title;
        Ken Caminiti: 1996 MVP Award
        Jose Canseco: 1986 AL Rookie of the Year, 1988 AL MVP Award
        Jason Giambi: 2000 AL MVP Award
        Andy Pettitte: 2001 ALCS MVP Award
        Manny Ramirez: 2002 AL Batting Title
        Mark McGwire: 1998 National League HR Title, Single-Season Home Run Record
        Benito Santiago: 1987 NL Rookie of the Year Award
        Alex Rodriguez: AL MVP Award, 2003, 2005, 2007

        That’s not even an exhaustive list.

      • ezthinking - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        cur68.. pretty sure Melky played in the National League, what with the Giants being a National League team and all, and Miggy was in the American League seeing as the Tigers are an American League team.

        Sorry to break it to you, but Miggy did win the AL Triple Crown.

      • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        Got me there, then. Thanks.

      • kehnn13 - Nov 14, 2012 at 3:24 PM

        What in the world does Melky Cabrera have to do with this? He plays in the National League. Miguel Cabrera absolutely won the triple crown.

    • mjstoner10 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Lots of people have seen more than one triple crown in their lifetime. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc and that’s just in my family. I’m going to say there’s a decent chance we’ll all see another. Plus he’d be far from the first TC Winner to not win the MVP. The Silver Slugger should have gone to Cabrera. The MVP… not so much.

    • Maxa - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      In that regard, the triple crown resembles the cycle. Hitting for the cycle is very difficult, and it has a special cachet (especially among older fans, I’d guess) because it is statistically neat, so to speak. However, it should be obvious that hitting three home runs is better than hitting for the cycle. For similar reasons, Trout was the MVP, Cabrera’s triple crown notwithstanding.

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        You can’t say “not withstanding”…..That’s like saying it means nothing. In the modern Era of baseball, where no-hitters are common, how can being superior in batting not be relevant? That’s as ridicules as a Closer having no real shot at winning the CY Young.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        In the context of this particular MVP race, nothing is precisely what the triple crown should mean. To suggest otherwise is r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s.

    • badvlad - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      –Number of MLB Triple Crowns achieved: 18 times (including Cabrera).
      –Number of seasons with at least.330 BA, 44 HR and 139 RBI: 18 times (including Cabrera).

      –Number of seasons by a player with a.300 BA, 30 HR, 40 SB and 120 R season: 5 times (including Trout).
      –Number of players with 30 HR, 45 SB, and 125 R: 1 time (Trout).
      –Number of players with.320 BA, 30 HR and 45 SB: 1 time (guess who).

      If you wan to play the “never see it again in my lifetime game”, how about you use the player who, I don’t know, put up numbers that are guaranteed to have never been seen in anyone’s lifetime?

      • manifunk - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        You mean a 19 year old who put up a 10 WAR season? Which has never been done before in the modern era?

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        You do know Cabrera lead the AL in HR, RBI, AVG, OPS, SLG. 2nd in Runs and Hits.

        4th in OPB 7th in Doubles.

        Trout was only better then Cabrera in Runs and SB, walks, triples

        Not mention Trout struck out over 40 more times.

    • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      First Triple Crown winner not to win MVP?

      Ted Williams would like to have a word with you
      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/19/a-message-from-ted-williams/

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        one…..out of 17. Must have bee the year “Saber-metrics” was born.

      • Alex K - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:44 AM

        So would Lou Gehrig and Chuck Klein.

      • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        lol MotorCity might want to do some actual research first before tossing out garbage assumptions

      • dgravey321 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        Ted Williams didn’t get the MVP because he was not liked by the media which has no baring in this discussion.

        Bottom line is Miguel Cabrera was the one that carried his team. He was the threat in the lineup whereas Mike Trout (who had a brilliant year) had the luxury of working in a better lineup.

        Numbers don’t lie and if a player leads his league in AVG, HR’s and RBI’s there shouldn’t be much of a discussion. In addition to that Cabrera’s numbers were steady throughout the season, but Trout’s faded at the end. Maybe it was fatigue or maybe there was more tape on the kid…

      • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        @dgravey321

        How is that even remotely evidence?

        Also how does that explain Gehrig and Klein not winning MVP?

    • kiwicricket - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      You obviously never bothered to read the link. It is spelled out so clearly in the first 8 or so paragraphs why Trout has more value, it’s almost beautiful.

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      “so he would be the first Triple Crown winner not to win the MVP?”

      Nope, not at all. Ted Williams won 2 triple crowns and didn’t win the MVP either year. Lou Gehrig finished 5th in the 1934 MVP voting and Chuck Klein finished 2nd in 1933.

    • nategearhart - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      Yeah, but only one of the triple crown stats is actually worth much of anything.

    • nbjays - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      No, MotorCitySteel, actually he would be the FIFTH Triple Crown winner to not win the MVP. Chuck Klein in 1933, Lou Gehrig in 1934 and Ted Williams in 1942 AND 1947 are the other four.

      Baseball history… ever heard of it?

  4. cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    DrunkNateSilver runs through town shouting: “All in all, adjusted for park effects, batting order, plate appearances, runs saved, and runs earned Trout was better and it isn’t even close.”

    I’ll have whatever he’s drinking, please.

    • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      I think he ate a bad piece of Trout……

    • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Dammit! You stole my funny. :( I was totally going to say this prediction must be the work of drunk Nate Silver. Gah!

    • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      After staggering around a bit, DrunkNateSilver catches his breath, swigs from a hip flask, checks his laptop, smacks his head in disbelief and resumes running and yelling: “I nearly forgot! Trout played way tougher teams, too!”

  5. yodougmurphy - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    STICK TO POLITICS, SILVER.

    • manifunk - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      You do realize he started out in baseball, right?

    • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      Silver is on the record saying that baseball stats are way harder than averaging state by state poll results. He contends that the latter “isn’t that hard to do”. Also, he is a baseball numbers guy, not a political guy. So he’s sticking with what he started out doing, since just because some people shout that something is true doesn’t mean that it actually is.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:57 AM

        In all fairness, there were like — what? — 6 states that were tough to call? It’s not like he broke a sweat over Oklahoma, Alabama, NY, etc. Baseball would be harder.

      • yodougmurphy - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM

        Yes, I know. Trying to make a joke. Failed. We’ll get ‘em tomorrow.

      • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        No worries. We all have our bad moments on the inter webs (see above for mine).

      • indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        Bad moment on the webs: that was DrunkCur.

      • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        Bad moment while drunk? Not at all. I’m very dignified and suave when drunk.

      • indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        Dignified and suave. Like a pig on ice skates.

      • nbjays - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:08 AM

        A dignified, suave pig on ice skates… now THERE is a mental picture for you. Better hide quick, Cur, before the Leafs try to sign you.

  6. kiwicricket - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Where is Fiorentino??? He loves this guy! All Gleeman needed to mention was Ryan Howard/RBI’s and there would of been a trifecta in there for him.

  7. Maxa - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    It would be interesting to see whether those receptive to sabermetrics also tend to lean left politically. Keith Law speculated as much in his ESPN chat last week, and I’d guess that he’s right.

    • kiwicricket - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      So you think knuckle dragging, hillbilly tea party goers are not receptive to sabermetrics?

    • ireportyoudecide - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      I would guess no, doesn’t the left own the ghetto vote and the women vote while the right has the white male vote. Just an observation from attending games but I would say white men kind of dominate baseball crowds.

      • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:44 AM

        The “ghetto vote”.

        Really dude?

      • ireportyoudecide - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        Yes ghetto, Noun: 1.A part of a city, esp. a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.

      • ireportyoudecide - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        Do you think people in the ghetto lean to the right? Dude.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        Are you saying women and minorities aren’t good at math?

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      AHh….we could get into the reasons for this here, but it will start a holy comments war.

      Yes, one said of the aisle does seem much more inclined to be receptive to sabermetrics, statistics, science and other provable theories.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        “Other provable theories”??? Just because something can’t be quantified doesn’t mean it’s not legit — which does not at all mean I’m not trying to quantify how much of a pretentious ass I think you just were.

        — a woman vote

      • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        A’hem…excuse me?

        I was saying, which you would be able to tell when reading the words I wrote, that these things *are* quantifiable. We can look at the statistics of Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout and say that Trout was probably the better baseball player, just as we can look can trace back the lineage of chimps and humans and find a common ancestor for millions of years ago.

        Saying that something can’t be quantified as your excuse for ignorance is sad and deplorable. When your best response is to merely reply “but it ain’t quantifiable you ass!”, you are showing yourself to be either insecure in lack of intellect or worse, someone who feels the need to troll someone on the internet for no other reason than to prove to themselves that they still exist.

        So, here’s my advice the next time you want to unleash something as mindlessly moronic as your post below: Take a deep breath, think about how much of a pathetic jackass you are going to end up looking like, and go fuck yourself instead.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 3:31 PM

        I think you mean the post above and are talking to me, in which case I will need you to quantify my moronity before I am convinced by your argument. As you reject non-quantifiable assessments, we’ll need to go to the numbers if we’re playing dueling asses.

      • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 4:51 PM

        Well retorted. Did you take debate classes? To clarify, your counter-argument is:

        A): I said your post below, when in that scenario, the post would appear above mine
        B): By saying some events are quantifiable, you know say that I think *all events* are quantifiable?

        To answer back to A…well, fair enough. But is the best thing you can defend yourself with is pointing out an error about comment placement? Because you come off like even more of a petty douchebag by doing so.

        To answer B: Many things are non-quantifiable, say…the moral argument about the death penalty. But most things measured by statistics and scientific theories are quantifiable…the entire purpose for the existence of those two fields is to quantify things. You do understand what quantifiable means, yes?

        Again on point B, your retort is to put words in my mouth that never existed. Is this how you win arguments? Because you clearly aren’t arguing with me. You cherry picked a couple of words, ignored other and somehow created a cartoon sketch of someone who holds opinions that I don’t have in order to win an argument with me. This is beyond pathetic. Anything I actually have to say is fair game, but you want more nuance or details about an opinion, just ask.

        If you really feel the need to flame someone over the internet to make yourself feel bag about being a raging jackoff, please do me the favor of at least *pretending* to have some understanding of what the other person is saying.

    • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      I always tend to doubt this country is becoming as anti-science and education as it seems. Then I come on this site and see that it is indeed true.

      So gathering data and collecting it for cause-effect analysis is now liberal. There’s flat earth thinking for you.

      • indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        So, it’s liberal to objectively analyze data and come up with a logical conclusion. But wait, I thought liberals are all city dwelling, colored, and/or female, and numbers… ouch, numbers just make my lil’ ole head hurt. As a city dwelling colored female, I’m bad at all that ‘rithmethic but I like to analyze data. Oy, what a conundrum.

      • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        Don’t you worry your pretty little head. We’ll explain the hard stuff to you. :-)

      • indaburg - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        My hero! ;-)

      • nbjays - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:11 AM

        Didn’t you know, Stex… “truth” and “facts” have a liberal bias.

  8. hermie13 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Cabrera wasnt even the most valuable player on his own team; Verlander was….again.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      I disagree on that one.

    • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/programs/choice_winners.jsp

      Isn’t this the most telling of alll……..the players voted for Cabreara.

      Why don’t the players get to vote for all the awards? Who knows the talent better then them?

      Sports writers, fans? Let the players determine you wins.

      • nategearhart - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        Because players are paid to play baseball, not evaluate talent.

      • mjstoner10 - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:35 PM

        Players also rarely see many games other than their own. They’re a little busy

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        “Because players are paid to play baseball, not evaluate talent.”

        So you can not give an evaluation of your co-workers, because your not paid too? But someone who does not actually work at your job would be better to evaluate you for a promotion then, right?

        Pretty sure if someone asked me who the best worker at my job was, I would be able to to pick a person better then a Customer who just watches.

      • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        But what would be your statistics to support it? And what if you didn’t work at the same office as that person?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM

        Why don’t the players get to vote for all the awards? Who knows the talent better then them?

        Gee I don’t know:
        http://deadspin.com/5959879/at-least-two-players-had-no-idea-rams+49ers-could-end-in-a-tie

        Jeff Francouer thought OBP wasn’t important because it’s not on the scoreboard (it is). Donovan McNabb, like the link above, thought regular season games couldn’t end in a tie even though he was in a previous one. Merely playing a sport (or being in a field) doesn’t automatically make you an expert in the subject at hand.

      • myopinionisrighterthanyours - Nov 14, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        @church: I agree 100%, but what makes one think that members of the BWAA are experts, either?

      • nbjays - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:13 AM

        Why don’t we just let the owners vote, after all, they know everything about baseball…. oh, wait…

  9. thomas2727 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I hope it does not get to the point where a bunch of numbers/stats are fed into a computer and the player with the highest score wins the MVP. No more human voting.

    • manifunk - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      Yes thank god for today’s voting, done by rapidly-aging and obsolete sportswriters who vote according to “narrative” instead of what actually happens on the baseball diamond.

      • thomas2727 - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        Sounds like you are making a broad generalization. Unless of course you polled each voter and they explained the rationale for their votes.

      • manifunk - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        You claim that all people who want Trout to win are feeding numbers into a computer and merely looking at the biggest number, yet *I* am the one making generalizations?

        Seriously?!

      • thomas2727 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        I did not even say who I think should win. Learn some reading comprehension. I did not even mention Trout.

    • cktai - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      You mean like: whoever has the highest BA, HRs and RBIs must win the triple crown!

      • paperlions - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        Exactly.

        Motorcity loves feeding in stats….as long as he gets to choose which ones to use.

      • cktai - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        I mean MVP, but you catch my drift.

  10. kkingprior - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    I like how he got a dig in at A-Rod in there. The fun never stops with Nate Silver!

  11. Charles Gates - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    What is it about the Triple Crown that makes the argument, ‘he won it, so he must be MVP’ seem valid? Is it the number of randomly picked stats? Or the noble piece of head gear? Trout beat Cabrera in the quadruple fedora of stolen bases, OBP, zone rating and WPA?

    TROUT WON THE QUADRUPLE FEDORA, HE IS THE MVP! ARGUE WITH THAT!

    • michflaguy - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      And Cabrera took his team to the World Series.
      That’s the ‘V’ in ‘MVP’.
      Cabrera was more VALUABLE to his team…and his team was rewarded by his efforts with a Series appearance.

    • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Since no one recognizes that as an accomplishment, Some of the Greatest players in Baseball history have won the triple Crown. So that does carry some weight. Trout deserves to be in the running, but Cabrera’s performance at the plate this year is just more deserving. If there could be a tie, I would be fin with that too.

      • cktai - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        I am pretty sure some of the greatest players in baseball history have won the quadruple fedora.

  12. nategearhart - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I lost it with the link that turned out to be a pic of Arod.

  13. randomdigits - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Did Silver get special inside information from the Angels camp, that no other analyst got, to help him decide this?

    He is incredibly overrated. His “system” very well might have consisted entirely of posting whatever the Obama internal polling said.

    How did he do when he tried to predict the elections in England?

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Hey actually used readily available *public* pulling.

      It was the same polling everyone in the media had access to, yet a vast majority of them chose that narrative that the election was a “tossup”, Silver repeatedly pointed out that it wasn’t.

      His accomplish *shouldn’t have been* that impressive. In theory, the media should take a more objective view of the polls and stop relying so heavily on punditry to make predictions about the election. Sadly though, Silver was on of the very few who took this approach and staked his reputation that he was going to be correct. He deserves all the credit he gets for being the only won willing to say that it wasn’t close.

      • randomdigits - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        He also had access to internal polling from the Obama camp (at least in 2008) that other folks did not have access to.

        I have not heard that such access was made available to him in 2012 but I do not see why it wouldn’t have been.

        That is dealing with a stacked deck.

      • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

        Oh god, we are now into “Nate Silver” conspiracy theory time.

        Okay, did Real Clear Politics, Pollster, the Princeton Election Consortium and HuffPo pollsters have access to the same internal polls? Because they all came to the same conclusion as Nate Silver.

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      “How did he do when he tried to predict the elections in England?”

      Oh, he totally sucked at that and fully owned up to it. It doesn’t mean his models for Presidential polling aren’t great or that Cabrera was actually more valuable than Trout.

    • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Silver used state by state poll results. The public ones. As he’s pointed out repeatedly what he did wasn’t very hard. he averaged the results of each state’s polls. Duh. The damn election walked like a duck, quack like one and shit duck goop. Its not Silver’s fault he can tell a duck apart from other fowl. Its the fault of the willfully ignorant for claiming this duck was actually a chicken.

    • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      Oh, and as to why he didn’t do so well in the UK a little research provides an explanation: In the UK, the Conservative Party’s ’40 Group’ – the forty MPs holding the most marginal constituencies – have no equivalent information (information like the many, many, many state polls in the US) to draw on. Thus the information from national polls are not enough for people like Silver to provide accurate conclusions from. Given the number and variety of state polls available in the US though, seeing the clear trend was relatively easy.

    • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Even if your argument is correct, what you are saying is that the Democrats have better pollsters and the Republicans should quit being so starry-eyed and wishful.

      Which is probably true, now that I think of it.

  14. doubleogator - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    co mvp’s simple….

  15. michflaguy - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Hey Nate…great call on the election (seriously…amazing), but leave baseball to the experts.
    Cabrera not only won the triple crown in batting, but led his team to the world series.
    He also played 2 different positions this season.
    In the real world, we call those “X factors”, and they can’t be tallied in a spreadsheet formula.
    Cabrera is ABSOLUTELY the AL MVP. No doubt at all.

    • Charles Gates - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      Your ignorance on multiple items in the above is quite entertaining.

      • Charles Gates - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        Ok, preemptively:
        1) Nate Silver *is* an expert on evaluating baseball.
        2) How did Cabrera actually lead more so than, well, anyone. Statistical production isn’t leadership (but by example).
        3) Cabrera occupied two different positions. The skill in which he played them supports the argument for Trout.
        4) X factors…despite the fact that I don’t know what that means, Trout had energy, vigor, and enthusiasm. X^2 factors, if you will.
        4a) GRIT, presumably one of your X factors: http://www.flotsam-media.com/2007/12/flotsam-data-special-tangiblizing.html
        5) The ‘is he the MVP?’ question is only absolute to those that are already privy to the results.

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      A couple of points of criticism

      1. Silver was considered a baseball statistical expert long before he had anything to do with politics.
      2. Trout played *3* different positions, and was excellent at all of them
      3. Cabrera had a lot of help getting the World Series…I mean the probable Cy Young winner was on that team too.
      4. “X factors” largely don’t exist. I mean, almost everything is baseball is counted as a statistic, broken down and examined. Unless Cabrera taught all of their pitchers how to throw curveballs, this is just another way of saying “I know he’s better, I have zero proof”.
      5. The Angels actually won more games than the Tigers…they were just in a tougher division
      6. There is clearly much doubt, hence the literally hundreds of articles and thousands of arguments commenting on way or another.

      Here is what we know:
      1. Trout’s batting line was *slightly* worse than that of Cabrera
      2. Trout came up later in the season, and had played fewer games
      3. Trout was a better a much better baserunner and fielder.

      I think the strongest argument you can make for Cabrera is #2. I don’t agree with it, but there is a lot more merit to had be there than in claiming “x factors”.

    • cktai - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      Where I come from, the Triple Crown is based in stats, not “X-factors”

      Trout, however, is the best center fielder in the league, a young refreshing player that invigorated a franchise. If anyone has X-factors, its him.

    • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      You’re right, he did win the Triple Crown in batting. Problem is there’s also those pesky things like defense and baserunning to consider.

      Cabrera played exactly 3 whole innings at 1B this year. So unless you are considering DH “playing a position”, he actual only played one. Meanwhile Trout logged 110 games in CF, 67 and LF and 4 in RF.

      In the real world we use facts and logic to base our decisions on, not immeasurable x-factors.

      Finally not sure why this continually needs to be explained but MVP ballots are turned in at the conclusion of the regular season, there is no “bonus” for World Series play. Someone whose opinon matters would know this.

  16. aceshigh11 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    “LOOK!! IT’S A LIBERAL!! KILL HIM!!”

    – Every Republican in America

  17. lionsplayoffs - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    If Miguel Cabrera does not win the MVP this year, the award becomes an absolute joke. He even has an argument on defense, something no one expected.

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      ??

      What argument is that?

      It’s fascinating the see the ways people can bullshit themselves on this. There are very legitimate arguments for Cabrera. He played 20 more games, he was better in clutch situations…I personally don’t think either of those is near enough to put him ahead of Trout, but it’s certainly better than saying he may have been an equal on defense!

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        What argument is that?

        He only took one ball to the face, and it was in pre-season so it shouldn’t even count?

      • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Cabrera better in the clutch? Actually…he wasn’t. It’s about even, according to Silver. Here’s his reasoning:

        But much of the difference simply reflects the fact that Cabrera hits third in the batting order, and had more opportunities to hit with runners on base. His 89 R.B.I.’s with runners in scoring position came in 205 plate appearances, a rate of 0.43 R.B.I.’s per opportunity. Trout’s 53 R.B.I.’s came in just 135 opportunities, since he is the Angels’ leadoff hitter. That yields a similar rate of production: 0.39 R.B.I.’s per plate appearance with runners in scoring position.
        Furthermore, leading off the inning, as Trout frequently did, represents a sort of clutch situation of its own. Advanced statistics have validated the conventional wisdom that getting the leadoff hitter on base greatly increases a team’s chance of success: a plate appearance to lead off the inning is more than twice as important as one with two outs but nobody on base.

        He goes on to add:

        Trout was very good when leading off the inning, hitting .339 with a .398 on-base percentage. (He also stole 16 bases with nobody out.) Cabrera hit .301 with a .342 on-base percentage in leadoff situations. That counteracts much of the advantage from Cabrera’s superior performance with runners on base.

        I like how he comes up with this. Silver levels the field based on PA’s, RISP, batting order, and score in game when RBI occurred. After making it all equal & counting who scored a run when said run scored would affect the outcome meaningfully, he finds that Trout gets the job done at about the same rate as Miggy.

      • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        I stand corrected on my clutch argument.

        In my own defense, it only represented the entire 2nd half of Silver’s article, so it was pretty easy to miss and all. What I mean to say is…reading is hard…okay!

        So, Cabrera played more games and that’s all he has over Trout.

      • lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:46 PM

        Not so stupid now, is it?! Miggy wins.

      • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:15 PM

        “Not so stupid now, is it?! Miggy wins.”

        No, it’s just as stupid.

        You see, voters have often made stupid mistakes…such as the two MVPs given to Juan Gonzalez.

        And yes, if you think Miguel Cabrera was comparable on defense to Mike Trout, you need to step away from the computer because the drool coming out of your mouth in endangering your computer’s circuitry.

      • lionsplayoffs - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:20 PM

        Boohoohoo…Trout’s #2

    • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:38 PM

      This should be good. lionsplayoff please induldge us with your argument for Cabrera’s defense.

      • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        Except the fact that Trout strikes a lot more and is not feared as a hitter. Much like when Cabrera is on base, no one tries to pick him off. Trout demands respect on the bases and Cabrera at the plate.

      • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        @MotorCitySteel are you having a stroke? I’m seriously worried bc you can’t even match a response to the proper argument. What does this have to do with defense? And Trout is not a feared hitter says who? Have you ever pitched against him? Pretty sure slugging .564 garners respect.

    • lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 12:37 AM

      Slugging %, OPS and batting average all go to Cabrera. Hits, doubles, HR, RBI all go to Cabrera. Sure you can say Trout scored 20 more runs, if that makes you feel good. Trout is a leadoff hitter. The 2-5 hitters are right after him. Cabrera had Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta batting after him. Both sub-.250 hitters. Far cry from Pujols and Trumbo. Total bases goes to Cabera by over 60. Cabrera had 60 more at bats, yet he struck out 41 less times. Walks were a tie. So you can basically say Trout is faster, which also speaks for his defense. Cabrera played a position he hadn’t been asked to play in 4 years and did very well. And oh yeah, Cabrera won the triple crown. And oh yeah, his team made the playoffs.

  18. migoli - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    michflaguy, the Tigers had the 7th best record in the AL……… 7!!! come on lets not brag about the Tigers awesome regular season, that team had no business in the playoffs. The tigers made the playoffs because of the physical location of the city of Detroit.

    IMO it has to be Trout. Trout was clearly the best ALL AROUND PLAYER in the game. Cabrera had a great offensive year and they have a award for that, the silver slugger. Thats what he deserves.

    • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      Not arguing. but the real offsensive award is the Hank Aaron Award and Cabrera did win that.

    • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:09 PM

      And the Angel’s have been a Baseball Powerhouse since when? This coming from a team that is going to pay Pujols millions to be a “Greeter” at the ballpark gates for years are he retires

      “The Angels are the favorites to win the World Series next year!”……….Said no one ……..ever!!!

      • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        Wait are you saying the Angels have not been a good team? Have you not been watching baseball the last decade? Seriously

  19. monkeyjuice313 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Nate B (me) explains why current baseball players and HOFers, not Nate Silver, should have the say in who wins AL MVP….

    Silver has never picked up a baseball before!

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      It’s true. It’s hands were too full of calculators and asthma inhalers.

      Fuckin’ nerd.

    • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      And that is relevant is some way? (I will give you the benefit of saying it is true, although I doubt it.)

    • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      I guess co-authoring the Baseball Prospectus for several years running disqualified him from knowing anything about baseball.

      • monkeyjuice313 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        I would never question the intellect or work ethic of Silver. I just believe there are intangible aspects of baseball that tend to be overlooked. For example;switching positions so his team could sign a power house player to make them better as a unit. Making his team’s roster in the beginning of the season. Making it to the World Series. Stats are a nice candy shell, but the intangibles are the peanut and chocolate center.

      • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        Understand your point, but I would have to say intangibles are the candy coating. When baseball teams make out contracts, they are going for the hard numbers. The other stuff is nice, but doesn’t bring it home.

        We don’t talk about the intangibles for Ruth or Williams. One was a drunk and a womanizer, the other basically hated everybody. But oh, those stats.

      • monkeyjuice313 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:26 AM

        Understand. And both sides have valid arguments. I would not kick and scream if Trout wins. I just feel people who have actually played at that level should have more insight. I get it….numbers don’t lie…but in Miggy’s defense…numbers don’t lie! It’s been fun and interesting to see both sides. But baseball isn’t all statistics. Otherwise we would know who wins, and mystique would be gone.

  20. fusionix7 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Is there a stat a little more in depth than WAR? Something that factors in how teammates performances would change with that player out of the lineup. I’m looking at it from a perspective of removing him from the batting order. Taking into consideration how pitchers would approach other hitters with a big bat removed from the lineup.

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      “Is there a stat a little more in depth than WAR? Something that factors in how teammates performances would change with that player out of the lineup. I’m looking at it from a perspective of removing him from the batting order. Taking into consideration how pitchers would approach other hitters with a big bat removed from the lineup.”

      Yeah, that stat doesn’t exist. Many, many many (did I mention many) studies have been done which shows batter protection is largely a myth. Having a better player in the lineup doesn’t make a player better or worse.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      Taking into consideration how pitchers would approach other hitters with a big bat removed from the lineup.

      If you’re asking about lineup protection, it’s been disproven multiple times. And you won’t find anything more in depth than WAR* since it encompasses hitting, fielding, baserunning, position and time played.

      *it doesn’t take context into affect, but no stat does yet that also includes the other information.

      • stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        That does seem to be the next big step needed. A lot of decisions made at the plate and in the field reflect circumstances that the statistics don’t necessarily show.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 14, 2012 at 8:30 PM

        A lot of decisions made at the plate and in the field reflect circumstances that the statistics don’t necessarily show.

        Possibly, but it’s also possible that they don’t. For instance, the idea of a “clutch hitter*” has been disproven multiple times, yet people still think it exists.

        *to clarify, clutch hits happen; however, in a sample of a little more than 15 years only two players (Molitor and another) were shown to hit significantly better over 15 years in clutch situations than others. Good hitters hit the ball at all times, bad hitters don’t.

  21. earache88 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Mike Trout doesn’t need any stinking awards!! Everyone knows he’s the best player in baseball!!

  22. ezthinking - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    The saddest part is that all this MVP bullshit is making me dislike Trout; not for anything he’s done, but for all the “you’re-an-idiot-if-you-don’t-think-as-I-do” preaching.

    Cabrera’s backers seem to have less of it due to the expanded statistical analysis favors Trout.

    After this last election, as with every election, Silver of all people should understand that very few voters are undecided and the folks in either camp are not going to move positions.

    A psychologist maybe would call all of this chatter confirmation bias – searching for facts that support a preconceived position and a discounting of facts that discount the position.

    In the end, I can’t wait until about Friday when the last of these shitty discussions can end. This horse is long dead, time to stop beating it.

  23. psousa1 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Will someone please throw this nerd in a locker???

  24. MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Stop with the “If Trout played in the AL Central” crap.

    Trout VS the AL Central this year……40-137 ……. .291 AVG ……31 K’s….4 SB

    That’s against “the worst division in baseball”…………..If he played a whole year in that division, his line would be way less then in the AL West. And yes the Indians struck him out 5 times!

    • MotorCitySteel - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      Based on the 35 games he played against the AL central.

      • Alex K - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        Because 35 games and 137 AB’s are even close enough to make that argument……

    • pmcenroe - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      lol who is this even in response to? Who is making this argument? But if you want to make crazy assumptions and cherrypick stats from large sample sizes I’ll play. Cabrera vs. ALW 37/121=.306. So “If he played a whole year in that division, his line would be way less”. Also the Indians struck him out 18 WHOLE TIMES and the Pirates struck him out 5 times OMG!! I guess Cabrera doesn’t deserve the MVP then.

  25. anythingbutyanks - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    This is really all quite simple. In terms of actual value added to his respective team, Trout is obviously the most valuable player. It isn’t exactly disputable: he added more wins to his team’s total than any other player. Now Cabrera may win the VOTE and be recognized as the “MVP”, but that does not make it so. With the Triple Crown, Cabrera’s achievement is historically significant, but historical significance is not synonymous with value.

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