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Miguel Cabrera cruises to American League MVP award

Nov 15, 2012, 6:47 PM EDT

Miguel Cabrera AP AP

The debate has raged on for months. And now we finally have a winner.

Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera was named the American League MVP this evening by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Despite the impassioned and often contentious arguments dating back to the summer, the balloting wasn’t all that close.

Cabrera received 22 out of the 28 first-place votes to finish with 362 points. Angels outfielder Mike Trout got the other six first-place votes and finished in second place with 281 points. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre received one second-place vote — over Trout — and finished third. He was the only player other than Cabrera or Trout to get a second-place vote. Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton rounded out the top five on the ballot. Full ballot results can be found at BBWAA.com.

Cabrera won the award on the strength of the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, leading the American League in batting average (.330), home runs (44) and RBI (139). While the Triple Crown functioned as a “trump card” for many voters given that we went 45 years without one, Cabrera also led the league in slugging percentage (.606), OPS (.999), total bases (377) and extra-base hits (84).

Cabrera couldn’t touch Trout’s contributions on the basepaths or on defense, prompting the debate about all-around value and the true meaning of “most valuable,” but the narrative for him to win the award was strengthened by a variety of factors, including his move to third base to accommodate Prince Fielder, his strong performance down the stretch and the Tigers making the playoffs. Still, it’s safe to say that the Triple Crown had just enough cachet left to give Cabrera the edge over Trout.

This is Cabrera’s first career MVP award. He came close two years ago, but finished second to Hamilton. Justin Verlander took home the hardware last year, so the Tigers have MVP award winners in consecutive seasons.

  1. lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    THANK GOD

    • lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      The real question was whether Trout should have finished second in front of Prince Fielder.

      • djpostl - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:53 PM

        Rofl. No it isn’t. not even close.

        Hell, if these dinosaurs weren’t trapped into a mentality that still thinks AVG is more important than OPS or RBIs mean more than RBI% (let alone factoring base-running & defense in) Miggy wouldn’t have even come close to beating him.

      • lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:56 PM

        Whatever…the best player won. Trout had a great year but there was way too much hype for him. Thankfully the writers didn’t see it the same way.

      • sabatimus - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:58 PM

        Way too much hype? He performed up to the hype and beyond. What the hell does hype have to do with on-field performance?

      • drewsylvania - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        Your statements fit right in with the asinine logic of the BBWAA.

      • lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        Quit crying Troutheads. You lost.

      • sabatimus - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:10 PM

        Keep thumbing up your own posts, homer.

      • Detroit Michael - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:55 PM

        Wow, that’s really delusional. Prince Fielder had a fine season but he was the fourth most valuable player on his own team behind Cabrera, Verlander, and Austin Jackson.

  2. loungefly74 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    well deserved. good for Miggy.

    Trout had an incredible year as well…kudos to him as well to make an initial tremendous splash in MLB…

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      1941: Teddy Ballgame hits a mindf***ing .406, is second in the MVP vote to guy who hit just .357 but played for the runaway AL champs, and the winner did have a pretty good streak of hitting safely in 56 straight games, still the record in the known universe. The moral: sometimes a strong argument can be made for more than one guy, but there isn’t quite enough room at the top for two. And like the two guys from 1941, quite possible our 2012 studs will someday need to speak at Cooperstown.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 15, 2012 at 10:15 PM

        When you say “known universe,” you have to then include the minor leagues and thus the record is actually 69 in 1919 by Joe Wilhoit. Meanwhile, DiMaggio also is the only other player to have a 60-game streak–61 when he was still in the minors in 1933.

      • dcfan4life - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:53 PM

        The real moral of that story is that if you do something absolutely extroadinary, people take notice. Thats what Dimaggio did. At that point hitting .400 was hard, but not impossible like it feels today. So for Cabrera to be the first triple crown winner since 1967 is quite a feat. Trout was amazing this year in every catagory, but cabrera was the best in all the 3 major catagories for the first time in 45 years. Does that make him the best player in baseball? No. But does that making him deserving of an MVP award in the eyes of the same writers who may have been voting for those same 45 years? Clearly it does. And its hard to argue for either side and be wrong.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:58 PM

        Touche ray. And no doubt some high schooler somewhere has had a 98 game streak. My unstated assumption was amongst the very best players in the top league, aka, the Major Leagues. But of course, even that needs an asterisk* since, because of racial segregation, MLB in 1941 did not include all the best players, so we’ll sadly never know what might have been. But 56 games remains the gold standard.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:56 AM

        You made me curious, so I went looking, and the longest high school streak I could find was 43 by a kid in Iowa named Tom Imhoff. Robin Ventura of course owns the collegiate record at 58. I could not find any English-language sites for Japanese records.

  3. sabatimus - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    More proof that the writers don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

    • jdd428 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      Triple Crown. I know those stats aren’t as important as they used to be, but still … nobody had done it in 45 years.

      Trout was phenomenal, but he cooled in September while Miggy surged. If Cabrera had missed leading any one of the three categories, I think Trout might have had a stronger case.

      • sabatimus - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:56 PM

        The Triple Crown is a stat that is two-thirds antiquated.

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:05 PM

        Amen. RBIs don’t mean anything? That’s a fools argument.

        Trout is awesome and will be for years to come.

        But the MVP ended up with the correct person.

      • badvlad - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:05 PM

        Even in Trout’s “fade” months (August-October), he still hit .286/.372/.500 (a line almost every player would kill to have) with 12 homers, 18 steals, and 49 runs. Extrapolated over the whole season, he’d hit roughly 36 homers, steal 54 bags and score 147 runs, which are fairly similar to his season numbers extrapolated over the same time frame (don’t forget he missed most of April).

      • drewsylvania - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:07 PM

        RBIs mean that the player had a good set of hitters around him who kept getting on base. Why do we reward the player for this?

      • paperlions - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:07 PM

        True. You know how many players have had seasons like Trouts the last 45 years? None. Lots of players have had seasons better than Cabrera’s 2012 over the last 45 years, including Cabrera himself in 2011 and 2010…they just weren’t blessed with a statistical fluke….over the last 45 years Cabrera’s season would have been good enough to win the triple crown exactly twice.

      • sabatimus - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:12 PM

        RBIs are a team stat. They depend on others being on base in front of you.

      • kicksave1980 - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:19 PM

        You give credit for an RBI because someone still has to hit that ball into the gap or over someone’s head in order to drive the runs in, that’s why. Some guys are better at it than others, which is why certain players have a much higher (or lower) average with runners in scoring position.

        I know you guys feel strongly about advanced stats, that’s very clear. But saying things like ‘RBI’s don’t matter’ is when it’s time to loosen the grip a little. This is getting to the point of absurdity.

      • frank433 - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:21 PM

        “RBIs mean that the player had a good set of hitters around him who kept getting on base. Why do we reward the player for this?”

        So, Runs scored don’t mean that the player had good hitters behind him to drive him in?
        I’ve heard a lot of pro-Trout people cite his higher runs scored stat as a reason to vote for him. Wouldn’t runs scored be an “old fashioned, overrated stat” like RBIs then?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:39 PM

        I’ve heard a lot of pro-Trout people cite his higher runs scored stat as a reason to vote for him. Wouldn’t runs scored be an “old fashioned, overrated stat” like RBIs then?

        Yes, and the times I’ve seen it quoted have to do with people refuting the RBI/runs are how you win the game argument. If RBIs are so important, why aren’t runs?

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        There is the fools argument again.

        Lots of guys come up with runners on base.

        The good ones know how to get them to score and do it consistently.

        How the hell is that a ‘team stat’? When the day comes that the runner on base can use his mind to direct the ball off the hitters bat and into the gap – I’ll start buying into this crap that RBIs are overrated.

        Until then, save your arguments to try and convince people that don’t actually watch baseball.

    • kicksave1980 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      Come on man…whether you choose to believe that HR/RBI/AVG don’t mean anything or not, you’re acting like it’s done every year. The right man won the award, and that’s no slight on Trout, who is an excellent player as well.

    • pappageorgio - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      Don’t forget the players and coaches……

      So let me get this right, the calculator guys are the only ones who know what’s going on with baseball.

      Writers, coaches, players, scouts…..all idiots

      Get a tissue little man. The best player won.

      • drewsylvania - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:08 PM

        You must have voted Republican.

      • Dan the Mets Fan - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:12 PM

        The ones who voted for Cabrera are the calculator guys, relying on stats to make their case. Forget all about WAR and just think like a baseball fan. A real baseball fan who watches the game understands the game knows that hitting is only part of the game. If a slow, bad fielder beats the best baserunner in the game who also happens to be a top defender, he better really out-hit him. Any honest evaluation of Trout vs. Cabrera shows Cabrera at best had a small advantage at the plate. If you can’t see the huge difference in value from their base-running and defense then you are probably sitting at home in your basement looking at their stat sheets and not actually watching the game.

      • sabatimus - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:18 PM

        Players, coaches, and scouts do not vote on this. The writers looked at the words “triple crown” and went with it. Most of the people you mentioned are so caught up in traditional offensive numbers that the rest simply didn’t matter: Cabrera’s lousy fielding, his GIDP more than anyone else, Trout’s insane fielding and baserunning ability.

  4. legacybroken - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Cheer up Trout fans, as long as the talent clock doesn’t strike midnight and turn him into Jeff Francouer, Im sure Trout will win at least one MVP award.

  5. dwrek5 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    And the WAR rages on… Hey-O!!!!

    • kicksave1980 - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Wocka Wocka Wocka!!

  6. beast2727 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Yeah buddy

  7. Uncle Charlie - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    ” Trout had a great year but there was way too much hype for him.”

    You sir obviously are not really a baseball fan.

    • lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      I am a season ticket holder. And a big fan…of Cabrera. Better luck next year.

      • drewsylvania - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:10 PM

        I guess you don’t watch when the other team bats.

      • lionsplayoffs - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM

        Heck yeah I watch…to see Verlander mow them down.

      • cktai - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:35 AM

        Trout is 1 for 3 with 1HR and 1BB against Verlander. How could you possibly judge him from 3 at bats?

      • Uncle Charlie - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:23 PM

        You could go to a million games for all that I care, but it’s obvious when you say ” Trout had a great year but there was way too much hype for him.” that you are a Tigers fan that goes to baseball games and not a fan of baseball. There is nothing over-hyped about the greatest rookie year ever in the history of baseball.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=700&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=1871&ind=2&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

        By the way, I could give two shits about who won the MVP or any other post-season award. I guess it’s a nice conciliation award for Tigers fans.

      • lionsplayoffs - Nov 25, 2012 at 1:31 AM

        I believe the word you’re looking for is “consolation” and yes, it did make me feel better.

  8. drewsylvania - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Anyone else think MLB leaned on the writers to vote Miggy?

    Or are they really STILL this obtuse?

    I mean, you can even quibble with Miggy on character issues, thanks to his DUI before last season and the subsequent goofy drunk pic.

    Proof that the BBWAA only cares about defense when the counting stats are close or when the guy plays shortstop.

    • Steve A - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM

      You’re really bringing up something that happened before not only the 2012 season, but also the 2011 season? How does his trouble with the law have anything to do with his baseball value for the 2012 season? Argue that Trout’s the better player, but let’s keep it related to baseball, and even if you can’t do that, keep it to 2012.

      I think you’ve been watching JFK with Chipper lately.

  9. APBA Guy - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Great discussion of this on yesterday’s Clubhouse Confidential on MLB Network, a show I heartily recommend.

    Basically the stats guys all argued for Trout, but most of the players and the old-time sports writers argued for Miggy. Something about a triple-crown for these guys…

    Anyway, the take away was that the tide is changing, slowly but surely, and sweeping away the old guard. Stats that help illuminate value are becoming more and more accepted.

    • indaburg - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:43 PM

      Clubhouse Confidential is my favorite MLBN show. I’ve learned a lot from it.. Who knew analysis of statistics could be so entertaining? Their discussion on Trout vs. Cabrera was very compelling. There was no question who was the better player, but you’re right. There is something about those homers and ribbies that the old guys really like.

  10. ndrocks2 - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Congratulations Miguel well deserved for a historical year!!!

  11. jbrooks06 - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    you cant argue that rbis require your teammates to be on base if you dont make the case runs require your teammates to hit you

    • ptfu - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      Perfect. Let’s ignore both runs and RBIs and see who had the better season.

  12. wingsrule12 - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Simple fact Cabrera played in the World Series. Trout played golf in October enough said

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:41 PM

      Simple fact is voting is finished at the end of the regular season. Next argument?

    • tpxdmd - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Man, it really is Trout’s fault too that he played in a division with two other playoff teams instead of the AL Cupcake Division. How dare he get drafted by an AL West team.

    • fearthehoody - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      Hey Trout and Cabrera both finished in same place at the end of the year, ringless

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

        Ouch!

    • Detroit Michael - Nov 15, 2012 at 8:18 PM

      Simple fact: it’s a team sport so no one player is solely responsible for whether his team wins a play-off spot.

      If you really want to evaluate players by the performance of their teams, Matthew P. pointed out that the Angels were 81-58 in games that Trout played. The Tigers were 87-74 in games that Cabrera played.

  13. cur68 - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Congrats to Miggy. Its not a crime he won. Its just that Trout was better.

  14. ebrownwareagle - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Obama & Cabrera!! I guess the Mitt Romney,Trout Lovers got HOSED!!

  15. fearthehoody - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Trout shouldve won! But they gave it to Cabrera because he has to play in that town called Detroit, It’s Mad Max times over there!!!

  16. eddieapoc - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    lol these comments are being heavily censored.

  17. frank35sox - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    I understand both sides of the argument, and honestly I would be happy either way.

    The thing that I find most interesting about this argument is how so many people on here quote WAR like they would have even the slightest idea how to derive it. Debate it if you want, but you don’t know. If you say you do, there is a good chance you are lying.
    This is one of the main reasons that traditional stats will never go away — many people fell in love with baseball and statistics at the same time. You will never be able to eradicate or replicate the back of the page math traditional stats require.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 15, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      Please tell us the formula for calculating batting average, without looking it up. If you say you know how, there’s a good chance you are lying.

      You also don’t need to invoke WAR to show Trout > Cabrera. You can use wRC+ which uses linear weights to determine the value of each height factoring in park affects. In that, they are tied. So if they are tied offensively, but Trout > Cabrera on defense and base running, who is more valuable?

      Or you can use RE24 which takes actual context into account. Or Win Probability Added.

      All of those Trout > Cabrera.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 15, 2012 at 8:53 PM

        each height

        Height? really?

        edit function
        EDIT FUNCTION
        EDIT FUNCTION

      • loungefly74 - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:27 AM

        i had to make sure i still remembered…hits divided by plate appearances (not including walks, HBP), i think? i used to do it all the time as a kid figuring out what my favorite player needed to do to get their numbers up.

  18. jonrox - Nov 15, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I’m a Detroit fan, but I’m firmly in the camp that believes the best overall player is, by definition, the most valuable player. It’s not a even a debate who played better baseball this year (it’s Trout).

  19. Just a Fan - Nov 15, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    S-U-CK-I-T Trout heads!

    The best man won!!!!

  20. tfbuckfutter - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    Reminds me of another vote that some people suggested was going to be close because they really really wanted it to be…..but it turned out it wasn’t.

  21. banggbiskit - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    The same exact comments would be on the ‘mike trout mvp’ thread if he had won and Miggy got snubbed. Same exact ‘outcry’ happens no matter who wins. Both guys are awesome players, they were the 2 best in the game in 2012, i just see it impossible to go against a triple crown winner, someone was going to win and the fans of the other guy were going to have felt snubbed.

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