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. Archie Bradley has no structural damage in shoulder

    Jul 2, 2015, 7:28 PM EDT

    Archie Bradley Archie Bradley

    Bradley has been out for a month with right shoulder tendinitis.

  2. Cardinals place Jon Jay on disabled list with nagging wrist injury

    Jul 2, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTc3MGY5MjU2OTgyMDlhMTEzNjQwN2M5MDc4NTYyYTMx Getty Images

    Jay has already had one stint on the disabled list this season due to his nagging wrist injury.

  3. The Dodgers sign Trevor Cahill

    Jul 2, 2015, 5:02 PM EDT

    Trevor Cahill AP

    Cahill was designated for assignment by the Braves earlier this month after allowing 23 runs in 26 innings.

  4. Breaking: Cardinals fire their scouting director, likely due to the Astros hacking scandal

    Jul 2, 2015, 4:29 PM EDT

    cardinals logo square

    The director, Chris Correa, has admitted to hacking into the Astros system.

  5. Orioles sign suspended reliever Chris Perez

    Jul 2, 2015, 4:16 PM EDT

    Chris Perez Getty Getty Images

    He still has to serve a 50-game suspension for a “drug of abuse.”

  6. George Springer sent to the disabled list, not expected back for six weeks

    Jul 2, 2015, 3:24 PM EDT

    George Springer Getty Images

    He fractured his wrist last night as a result of an Edinson Volquez fastball.

  7. Wanna buy Jerry Dipoto’s house?

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:12 PM EDT

    Jerry Dipoto Jerry Dipoto

    It was for sale before he even resigned.

  8. Today is International Signing Day. Here’s what you need to know.

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT

    Globe

    Basically you just need to follow Jesse Sanchez and Ben Badler, so here are the links you need to do that.

  9. Giants welcome back Matt Cain for first start in 12 months

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    Matt Cain AP AP

    And place Tim Lincecum on the disabled list.

  10. Today is the day: Marlins ace Jose Fernandez returns from Tommy John surgery

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    jose fernandez getty Getty Images

    Even after missing more than a year Fernandez returns to the Marlins’ rotation one month before his 23rd birthday.

  11. A-Rod, the Yankees and the union in talks to direct his $6 million home run bonus to charity

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Alex Rodriguez

    A possible win-win-win involving A-Rod and the Yankees? What on Earth is this world coming to?

  12. George Springer likely DL-bound after getting hit on the wrist

    Jul 2, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    George Springer Getty Images

    Spring is hitting .264/.365/.457 with 13 homers and 14 stolen bases on the year.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. M. Moore (3823)
  2. J. Hamilton (3659)
  3. S. Matz (3482)
  4. H. Ramirez (3479)
  5. B. Harper (3446)
  1. G. Stanton (3334)
  2. M. Cain (3262)
  3. J. Fernandez (2875)
  4. J. Ellsbury (2833)
  5. F. Freeman (2647)