Skip to content

And the MVP Awards will go to …

Nov 15, 2012, 9:27 AM EDT

Miguel Cabrera Getty Getty Images

Awards week concludes tonight when, at 6PM Eastern, the winners of the MVP Awards, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America, will be announced on MLB Network.  Let’s break it down:

The Finalists

American League:  Adrian BeltreMiguel CabreraRobinson CanoJosh Hamilton, Mike Trout

National LeagueRyan BraunChase HeadleyAndrew McCutchenYadier MolinaBuster Posey

The Favorites:

Everyone agrees that the AL Award is going to come down to the Tigers Miguel Cabrera and the Angels Mike Trout.  The National League is thought by most to be a three-horse race, with either the Giants Buster Posey, the Brewers Ryan Braun or the Cardinals Yadier Molina poised to take home the hardware.

The Arguments:

The American League MVP has been argued about for a couple of months now.  If you’re familiar with the arguments, you’re likely tired of them. If not, know that it comes down, as these things so often do, to a difference of opinion about what constitutes value.

Those who support Miguel Cabrera note that he did something which hadn’t been done for 45 years: win the Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average (.330), home runs (44) and RBI (139), all while leading the Tigers to the playoffs.  He is given extra credit by his supporters for moving to third base after playing at first base for several years, and such a move is no small trick, historically speaking.

The Trout supporters, meanwhile, point to his overall game, noting that his offensive numbers were almost as good as Cabrera’s — he hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBI and posted an OBP of .399 and slugged at a .564 clip — but that he (a) was a fantastic baserunner, stealing 49 bases in 54 attempts; and (b) played elite defense in center field as well, while Cabrera’s time at third base was decidedly lackluster, even if it was admirable.  While the Angels, unlike the Tigers, did not make the playoffs, Trout supporters argue that this wasn’t Trout’s fault, as he was not with the team for the first month of the season. They also note that, playoffs or not, the Angels won more games than the Tigers did, while playing in a tougher division. If you ask them, they’ll also tell you that the quality of the team a player is on should not have any bearing on his qualifications for an individual award like the MVP.

The National League arguments are less contentious. The defending MVP, Ryan Braun, had another fantastic season, leading the league in homers (41), runs (108) and OPS (.987). Posey, meanwhile, led the league in batting average (.336) and OPS+ (172), which adjusts OPS for the ballpark in which he played (Posey’s home park, AT&T Park, is rougher on hitters than Miller Park in Milwaukee).  Posey also catches and does it well, which gives him more defensive value than Braun.  The Cardinals Yadier Molina, for his part, is perhaps the best defensive catcher in living memory. And while he did not lead the league in any offensive categories, he posted a fantastic offensive season hitting .315/.373/.501 while hitting 22 homers to accompany that other-worldly defense behind the plate.

There are some other, less statistical arguments for and against these fellows as well. Posey came back in 2012 after a gruesome leg injury. Braun, the 2011 MVP, was dogged by a positive (but ultimately overturned on appeal) PED test at the end of last year, which will likely cause many voters to discount his case and/or punish him for what happened in the offseason.  Molina doesn’t have a narrative case like that, unless some voters give him a bit of extra value for helping lead the Cardinals to the playoffs after they lost future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols to free agency. That’s not likely to be a major factor, however.

The Prediction:

Ultimately MVP voters are going to be unable to resist voting for a Triple Crown winner and are going to be unable to cast votes for a guy in Ryan Braun who many view as tainted by PEDs. Molina will, as he so often has been over the course of his career, be overlooked and underrated.

As such, Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey,this writer predicts, will take home the hardware and it won’t be particularly close.  Tune it to MLB Network at 6PM tonight — or just come here to HardballTalk — to find out for sure.

Latest Posts
  1. Is spring training “horribly, utterly broken?”

    Mar 30, 2015, 7:24 AM EDT

    Equipment Bags

    The first rule of solutions: make sure you’re employing them to address actual problems.

  2. Rangers release Ryan Ludwick

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Ryan Ludwick Getty Images

    Ryan Ludwick didn’t hit much during Cactus League play, resulting in the Rangers releasing him on Sunday.

  3. Nick Martinez wins No. 5 spot in Rangers’ starting rotation

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:20 PM EDT

    Nick Martinez AP

    Nick Martinez beat out the field to win the final spot in the Rangers’ starting rotation.

  4. Mike Pelfrey recants his comments about the Twins trading him

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT

    Mike Pelfrey Mike Pelfrey

    Mike Pelfrey took back his comments about being happy with a trade to a team that would use him as a starter.

  5. Video: Ben Revere robs Rajai Davis of a home run

    Mar 29, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    Ben Revere Ben Revere

    Ben Revere broke a promise to Rajai Davis when the Phillies’ left fielder robbed a home run.

  6. Casey Janssen to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Casey Janssen Casey Janssen

    Nationals reliever Casey Janssen is dealing with more shoulder problems, which could lead to a stint on the disabled list.

  7. Dan Uggla on potential bench role with Nationals: “That’s not what I’m looking to do.”

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT

    Dan Uggla Dan Uggla

    Dan Uggla, who is having a strong spring training showing, says he wouldn’t be comfortable sitting on the Nationals’ bench.

  8. Phillies move Ben Revere to left field to make room for Odubel Herrera in center

    Mar 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Ben Revere Ben Revere

    Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg shook up his outfield a bit on Sunday, announcing that Ben Revere would be moving to left field.

  9. Cole Hamels to start Opening Day for Phillies

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    cole hamels getty Getty Images

    Hamels tossed five scoreless innings in his latest Grapefruit League start. He’ll take on the Red Sox on April 6 — a team he has been connected to in trade talks throughout the offseason.

  10. Christian Vazquez to visit Dr. James Andrews

    Mar 29, 2015, 3:37 PM EDT

    christian vazquez getty Getty Images

    Ryan Hanigan is expected to open the season as Boston’s starting catcher. And season-ending surgery for Vazquez would likely accelerate the timetable for top prospect Blake Swihart’s debut.

  11. Koji Uehara has setback with right hamstring, will not be ready for beginning of season

    Mar 29, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT

    uehara getty Getty Images

    Uehara originally strained his right hamstring on March 17 while doing conditioning drills in Red Sox camp.

  12. Video: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson talks baseball

    Mar 29, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    russell wilson

    Russell Wilson spent nearly seven minutes with the Rangers’ television crew on Saturday …

  13. Red Sox name Clay Buchholz as Opening Day starter

    Mar 29, 2015, 12:08 PM EDT

    clay buchholz getty Getty Images

    According to Sean McAdam of CSN New England, the Red Sox have named right-hander Clay Buchholz their Opening Day starter.

  14. Henderson Alvarez named Marlins’ Opening Day starter

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:12 AM EDT

    henderson alvarez getty Getty Images

    Jose Fernandez would have been given the nod, but he’s not expected to be recovered from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery until sometime in June.

  15. Braves release left-hander James Russell

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:14 AM EDT

    james russell getty Getty Images

    MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves have released left-hander James Russell.

  16. Ichiro compares being a free agent to being a puppy in a pet shop

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:25 PM EDT

    Ichiro Suzuki Ichiro Suzuki

    Let Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki tell you how being a free agent is like being a puppy in a pet shop.

  17. Mariners prospect Victor Sanchez has died

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    mariners logo

    Promising Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez died on Saturday night after he was involved in an unfortunate boating accident in February.

  18. Nate Schierholtz opts out of contract with the Rangers

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Nate Schierholtz Nate Schierholtz

    Outfielder Nate Schierholtz is a free agent again, opting out of his contract with the Rangers after a disappointing spring showing.

  19. Videos: Young talent on display as Bryce Harper homers and Mike Trout robs a homer

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT

    Mike Trout Mike Trout

    Two baseball superstars put their talented display in spring training action on Saturday afternoon.

  20. Jaime Garcia scratched from Sunday start due to shoulder setback

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Jaime Garcia Jaime Garcia

    More shoulder problems for Jaime Garcia, who has made 16 combined starts since the beginning of the 2013 season.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Fernandez (4354)
  2. S. Doolittle (3744)
  3. Y. Tomas (3682)
  4. K. Bryant (3618)
  5. C. Rodon (3591)
  1. H. Olivera (3573)
  2. G. Richards (3540)
  3. A. Cobb (3503)
  4. T. Walker (3394)
  5. K. Jansen (3360)