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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. chrisman2012 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    If Trout Wins, Michigan should secede from the Union!!! :-)

    • dickclydesdale - Nov 14, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Nate Silver’s has an opinion..Who cares! Just like everyone has a butt hole.
      I bet this guy was a twinkie eating scrub while warming the bench in little league baseball.
      I’d respect MVP trophy’s more if the baseball hall of famers were given the chance to vote for these awards.

      • bigharold - Nov 14, 2012 at 7:54 PM

        “I bet this guy was a twinkie eating scrub while warming the bench in little league baseball.”

        The difference between your opinion and Nate’s is he has facts and data to support his opinion while you’re just pulling yours out of “butt hole”. Not to mention your opinion isn’t germane to whether or not Silver is correct.

      • drewsylvania - Nov 15, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        This is Donald Trump.

  2. stex52 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    OKAY OKAY I will say it because we’re going in circles. MVP is a content-zero assessment because no one knows what it means. A pitcher may win it this year, a 3rd baseman next year, a catcher the year after. Different skill sets, different results.

    The best shot might be WAR, but we certainly don’t have a consensus on that. Otherwise, it devolves into opinion and stats taken out of context.

    Let’s have more fun!!

  3. mwojo586 - Nov 14, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    WHY DOES NOBODY MENTION THE FACT THAT CABRERA ACCOUNTED FOR OVER 20% OF HIS TEAMS RUNS SCORED IN SEPTEMBER.

    Through the months of August and September, Cabrera batted .332, had 18 home runs and 51 RBI. He also had an OBP of .405 and 67 hits.

    Meanwhile, Trout did have more runs and stolen bases during this two-month stretch, but his average stood at just .271 with 12 homers and 25 RBI. These stats combined barely beat Trout’s outstanding July, while his batting average was over .120 lower in August and September than in July.

    • dan1111 - Nov 14, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      If you believe that the MVP award should go to the player who was the most valuable over the entire season, then late season stats are no more relevant than any other period. Silver pretty clearly falls into this camp, so it’s not surprise that he doesn’t mention September performance.

  4. rje49 - Nov 14, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    It doesn’t serve any purpose to say why a player should win an award now, at this point. After all, the voting was done a long time ago!

  5. Just a Fan - Nov 14, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Cabrera should win…..but because Verlander won last year he can’t. If he does, then the Yankee rule comes in and the Tigers MUST be hated by all other teams because the have better players. It is simple, any “projector” could see that. Let’s just ask FOXNEWS. They will project the winner based on how many white voters they’re are voting, against how many inner-city voters and project and announce the winner before the election starts!

    And they wonder why people don’t vote…….If everyone’s vote counted, why can someone win before all the votes are counted? Just because a state takes too long to count their votes, they loose the right for their votes to count?

  6. iranuke - Nov 14, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    What do Carl Hubble, Mickey Cochrane, Joe Gordon and Joe DiMaggio have in common. They won the MVP award when someone else hit for the triple crown.
    This is just the tenth time that someone has hit for the triple crown since the advent of the MVP award, and so far only five of the people who did it won the MVP award.

  7. cktai - Nov 14, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I wish those stat-heads would crawl back to their mothers basements and stay there. They obviously never picked up a baseball in their lives. Open your eyes people! There is more to baseball than simple stats. The MVP should not be determined by numbers alone. Just because someone happens to end first in three arbitrary contrived stats does not mean they are the most valuable.

    What kind of stat is: “The number of times a player gets on base by putting the ball into play, on the condition that a fielder does not approach the ball in such a way that a play could be made by normal effort divided over the number of plate appearances, minus the times a player is either given a base on balls, hit by the pitcher, hits a ball to the outfield where it is caught with a player on third base who can score following the out, or drops a bunt allowing a player to advance a base, without attempting to get a basehit” anyway? Any stat that reads (OB – BB – HBP – E) / (PA – SF – SH – BB – HBP) should be viewed with extreme caution.

    Or what about the stat that counts the number of times a different player manages to score while the player is having an at bat, with the exception of the times that the player hits into a double play, excluding the times that this double play is made on a fly out, and the times that a fielder comes in the range of the ball but fails to make a play that would lead to an out with ordinary effort in the case that there are two outs on the board?

    In short: Mike Trout was a better ballplayer. Your statistical monstrosity of the “triple crown” be damned!

  8. joerymi - Nov 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Votes are already in.

    Debate has been boring since July.

    Right or wrong, Cabrera will win it.

    In the history of MVP, Trout losing won’t go down as robbery.

    Less about new school vs old school than it is established superstar vs rookie (Again, whether it is right or wrong)

  9. jburrell4 - Nov 14, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Drew Brees wants a clarification on the ‘Ghetto Vote’….

    Anyway, anyone ever seen so many guys in one place vehemently defend another dude? It’s really um, interesting to see all of the MT man love going on here. Must be sabermetrics in the air….

  10. banggbiskit - Nov 14, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Cabrera is the MVP. The games are played on the field, not the ‘war’ room.

  11. mplsjoe - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Aaron said: “…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.”

    Someone like…Aaron Gleeman? Bitter much?

    I support Trout for MVP, by the way. Just don’t think the piece needed the unnecessary shot.

  12. lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    MIGGY WINS. SUCK IT TROUTHEADS.

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