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Apparently Miguel Cabrera’s 2013 has made his 2012 better somehow

May 20, 2013, 9:18 AM EDT

Bill posted about Cabrera’s big night last night, and this morning Twitter is dominated by folks noting just how utterly ridiculous Cabrera has been so far this year. And make no mistake, he has been. He’s hitting .387/.457/.659 and leads the AL in runs, hits, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and total bases. Just crazy dominant. Obviously the pace won’t continue, but he’s easily the current leader in the MVP race if you care about such things in May.

But there is one tiny — and believe me, it is tiny — thing bothering me about all this today. It’s this sentiment, which I’ve seen all over the Twitters since the season began, usually spiking after Cabrera has a big game:

Do these people seriously believe that what happens in 2013 justifies assessments made about the 2012 season? How far back does this line of thinking go? Prince Fielder is having a better year than Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Howard. Does that mean he should have finished ahead of them in the 2009 MVP voting? Can someone tell me how this works?

People like to say the statheads are on some crusade and can’t stand it if people don’t agree with them. But I don’t see any statheads still fighting the 2012 MVP debates. And none of them are seriously arguing that Trout has had a better year than Cabrera so far.

  1. unclemosesgreen - May 20, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Last night’s game totally confirmation bias proved the point my eyeballs made about your fancy numbers last year.

    • WatchThis - May 20, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      Cabrera can’t be the best, because the Tigers lost his 3-HR game. Sarcasm.

    • sprest83 - May 20, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      It is only a matter of time that he will fail a drug test. The truth will come out. His bat speed is freakish compared to…everyone.

      • unclemosesgreen - May 20, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        Nonsense – Miggy’s bat speed isn’t freakish and his swing is completely smooth and balanced. What’s freakish about him is his balance and ability to put the center of his bat on the ball. He never ever lunges.

      • sprest83 - May 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        So you are saying that you can’t have both a smooth/balanced swing while having freakish bat speed? What are you talking about? That is insane. Great hitters are usually always smooth and balanced…and when you add juice that doesn’t change.

        I’m all for the use of juice in sports, but as long as everyone can do it.

      • unclemosesgreen - May 20, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        I’m not going to argue with you point by point, I’m just going to cover everything but the steroid accusation with the blanket assertion that you’re a fucking idiot. The steriod accusation makes you a fucking asshole as well. Go fuck yourself.

      • sprest83 - May 20, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        Sounds like I hit a nerve. Are you “miggy’s” personal lover? That could be the only reason to justify your defensive comments with harsh backlash.

        Yes people I am jokingly serious.

      • WatchThis - May 20, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        You forgot to mention that’s sarcasm or a bad joke.

  2. lunt101 - May 20, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Craig the problem with this article is the people you chose to highlight. The first 3 are just randoms off Twitter that you must have searched to find. The last guy is an MLB writer but doesn’t mention last season at all. He was just being sarcastic.

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      If you don’t think what Bloom is saying is a comment on last year, your’e crazy.

      As for the randoms: those were the first three comments I saw when I searched Twitter for “Cabrera Trout.” There are scores of them and I have seen that sentiment multiple times this season. They’re representative of a pretty established line of thinking among many.

      • lunt101 - May 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        There is obviously a reference to last season in Bloom’s comment, but to me it’s more of a “good riddance” than a “Miguel’s MVP was justified because of Sunday night.” I guess it could be taken either way but it’s far more subjective.

        If you had people like Buster Olney saying these things it would be much more newsworthy. Do you know the types of things you can find random people saying on Twitter?

      • senotonom205 - May 20, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        So there are scores of completely random people with zero baseball credibility making outrageous statements on twitter. I’m shocked.

      • joeylongarm - May 20, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        Craig, why are you searching for Cabrera and Trout when Cabrera goes off for 3 homers — that’s weird?

  3. detroitr1 - May 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Calcaterra doth protest too much, me thinks.

  4. historiophiliac - May 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    “Mile Trout”? That’s a BIG fish.

    • unclemosesgreen - May 20, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      C’mon, that’s just a typo, he obviously meant the “mime-trout” which is of course the hated cousin of the clown-fish.

      • historiophiliac - May 20, 2013 at 9:46 AM

        Just so long as it wasn’t “Mize Trout.” That would be too much information.

      • unclemosesgreen - May 20, 2013 at 10:02 AM

        Nice – I see Gator isn’t the only overly erudite seventh grader here. First plaster of paris schlong, now this.

      • historiophiliac - May 20, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        /looks innocent

      • unclemosesgreen - May 20, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        Here’s what I know – that comment was either completely random or totally filthy. Guess where I’m pushing my chips?

        / leers annoyingly

      • historiophiliac - May 20, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        he he

  5. proudlycanadian - May 20, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    I had the first selection in my fantasy league this year. My selection was a no brainer. I picked Cabrera based on what he had done in 2012.

    • Kevin S. - May 20, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      I think most people would argue Cabrera had the better fantasy season last year. MVP cares about defense, OBP and non-SB baserunning in a way 5×5 couldn’t give a fuck less about.

      • lunt101 - May 20, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        Trout had the better fantasy season in 2012 and it wasn’t all that close.

      • Kevin S. - May 20, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        How do you figure? Cabrera had 14 more homers, 56 more RBI and a higher BA that played more because he had more AB. Trout had twenty more runs scored and smoked Miggy in SB, but Cabrera actually had a lower fantasy replacement level, since he was compared to 3B while Trout was lumped in with all outfielders, not just center fielders.

      • El Bravo - May 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        Trout had a better fantasy season in my league, and lead all batters in fact. It was his SBs that put him over Miggs. That said, Miggs is destroying everyone this season thus far…

        This whole thing just shows that Miggs is by far the best hitter in the game right now. No one can come close to him and this has really been true for about four or five years now.

      • joeylongarm - May 20, 2013 at 7:14 PM

        why do people bring up fantasy baseball when determining how good a player is. Cant’t begin to describe how lame that is.

  6. sdelmonte - May 20, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    It’s quantum baseball! How we observe the present alters the past!

    • unclemosesgreen - May 20, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      And by the way, have you seen my t-shirt?

  7. xpensivewinos - May 20, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Over the course of my lifetime, Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter I’ve ever watched. His at-bats are must-see-tv.

    Every few years, there seems to be a guy that makes you wonder if he’s the best. Not having seen Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, DiMaggio, Mays, etc, I can only form an opinion on guys I’ve watched since the early 1970’s and there have been some great ones. Rod Carew, George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Edgar Martinez, Griffey Jr., Paul Molitor and Sammy Khalifa (hee, hee) come to mind off the top of my head (and I know I’ve missed a bunch), but I can’t think of anyone that I would say is better than Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is like a hybrid of Manny at his best mixed with some Gwynn/Molitor. It really is amazing to watch him. It seems odd when he makes an out.

    I just hope he stays healthy for another ten years to see what kind of numbers he puts up. I wonder how many baseball fans appreciate that we’re actually watching one of the greatest hitters of all-time.

    • abaird2012 - May 20, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      People used to say that about Pujols …

      • witeman10 - May 20, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        Pujols even in his prime was not as good as cabrera at hitting to all parts of the field. that makes me believe miggy can keep a high batting average for years to come even as his power #s declines. his ability to place the ball anywhere he wants is unbelievable. its like if you combined the all around hitting ability of joe mauer with the power of prince fielder.

    • psuorioles - May 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Not a Tigers or Rangers fan, but I watched the game last night, just to watch Cabrera hit… and glad I did.

    • rufuscornpone - May 20, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      Hmmm…
      Cabrera: 152 career Ops+…not yet in decline phase of career

      Albert Pujos; 166…currently in decline.

      Cabrera is silly great, but I don’t see how a serious person could say he was a better hitter than STL era Pujols, n which he won 3 MVPs and would have won even more had it not been for Barry Bonds… who I’m also faily certain was in your lifetime

    • eightyraw - May 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      In what universe is Miguel Cabrera a better hitter than Barry Bonds? Bond’s career wRC+ (172) is just below Cabrera’s single season high (177). Cabrera might not even be the best hitter in MLB born in 1983.

  8. hughhansen - May 20, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    It’s a widespread enough phenomenon that it must say something about how people think about stuff like this.

    It might be that Cabrera’s performance this season makes them feel justified in their position last year. Something like “see, I told you he was the better player. You said your numbers were better than mine, but I KNEW he was better, and now I’m being proven right.”

    Of course, last year’s MVP award wasn’t about who was the best player on an absolute level, but who played better last year. The debate got very emotionally charged, however. Enough so that people might be anxious to use any new data that appears to help their case.

  9. chill1184 - May 20, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    “He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.”

  10. joeylongarm - May 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Struggling to believe this bothers you as little as you say. Otherwise you’d be focusing on what he’s done rather than how people react to what he’s done. Your pretty transparent.

    • joeylongarm - May 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      You’re

  11. witeman10 - May 20, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    what cabrera has done this year does not effect the 2012 MVP debate, but it does prove one point made by some people who supported cabrera last year: Miggy is 10x more CONSISTENT than trout and any player in baseball.

    does that matter for a single season MVP award? perhaps not. but as for the question of who is the best player in baseball, if you say anybody besides cabrera you are out of your mind. year in and year out, he is consistently dominant year round. his numbers arent skewed by a 1 or 2 month hot streak. Trout simply isnt on his level yet in terms of consistency. nobody is. and that’s why I argued for Cabrera last year, and this seasons performance does at least prove that I was right in designating miggy as the more consistently great player. whether that means he truly deserved the award is a totally diff question. and an interesting one. The absolute tear Trout went on in the middle of the season last year was unprecedented. And there is no doubt that during that limited time frame nobody was playing better than him, not even Cabrera. Should that have earned him the MVP? or were they right in giving it to the best and most consistent player in all of baseball?

    why do i have the feeling that people will respond to this by saying: “the mvp isnt about pure consistency, there are plenty guys that consistently hit around .250.” consistently GREAT people, cabrera is consistently GREAT. dont take consistency for granted. lots of dudes have gotten on crazy hot streaks. it takes a truly great player to sustain that exceptional level of performance over a longer period of time.

  12. xpensivewinos - May 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    People used to say that about Pujols …
    ——————————————————————
    ……..and they said it not that long ago.

    Speaking of those that I forgot to mention!

    Injuries are certainly at the heart of his struggles, but watching him right now is painful.

  13. andreweac - May 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    All I need to do to confirm the fact Miggy should have been MVP in 2012 is to look at the records of the 2013 Angels and Tigers. Miggy, clearly, has the Willingness to Win; Trout does not. Case closed.

  14. stevietimmy - May 20, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    We are hot and heavy into the season and this is what “we” are writing articles on and worrying about? This is the type of thing that I would expect over at PFT right about now… you know, during the off season. “Must… justify… my… paycheck.”

  15. Mark Armour - May 20, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    My issue last year was that not enough people were enjoying Cabrera’s season because of the sideshow about whether he was as good as Trout. Hopefully we will get some stories about Cabrera that do not mention Trout’s name. And vice versa–Trout’s pretty awesome himself.

    • historiophiliac - May 20, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      A bajillion thumbs up for that.

    • unclemosesgreen - May 20, 2013 at 11:29 PM

      But but but … Cabrera – Trout … Trout – Cabrera … old numbers vs. new numbers … stories that write themselves … a montage of Trout robbing homeruns and Miggy botching routine outs and double plays set to “We Built This City on Rock and Roll.”

      Sincerely, The Media

  16. joeylongarm - May 20, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    When you look at his numbers for a 30 year old — they are staggering. On pace for over 4,000 hits, 700 HRs, 2400 RBIs. Not out of the question for him to be all-time leader in one or more category if he stays healthy and plays another 10 -12 years. By those standards he is still underrated.

  17. rmfields - May 20, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Better than Pujols in his prime!

  18. mudhead123 - May 20, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Cabrera is a great OFFENSIVE player and I agree the best player in the game right now. People just completely throw out he is horrid in the field

  19. costmiller - May 20, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    The players apparently still care, regardless of defense or baserunning (and I’m a Tigers fan, for what it’s worth)
    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/jon-heyman/22271434/stock-watch-miggy-trout-debate-rages-on-but-cabrera-wins-all-here

  20. straightouttavtown - May 20, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Saying Trout, a speed-based player, deserved to win over Miggy is overrating defense (which primarily has to do with pitching than any routine plays) and baserunnning, which sabermetrics stat such as WAR regularly does. Trout is a speed based player who couldn’t carry a team’s offense on his back. Do you really think Mike Cameron and Edgar Renteria deserve to win MVP over Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols?

    • eightyraw - May 20, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      Miguel Cabrera’s wRC+ in 2012: 166
      Mike Trout’s wRC+ in 2012: 166

      And no, defense does not primarily have to do with pitching.

      • straightouttavtown - May 21, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        I don’t care about the BS sabermetric stat you cited. You’re probably one of those crazy nerdy number crunching nutjobs who think Brendan Ryan is better than Derek Jeter and Franklin Gutierrez is better than Carlos Beltran. The best defense is good pitching because most defensive plays, quite frankly, are routine plays. Go ask any player. Go ask any fans who actually watch the game. What universe are you from? That’s why good pitchers can thrive with defensively-challenged players and bad pitchers stink even when the hitters are a bunch of all-glove no-bat scrubs who can’t hit their own weight.

      • eightyraw - May 21, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        Yes I am a nerdy number-cruncher. I don’t take that as an insult. And no one thinks Brendan Ryan is better than Derek Jeter or Gutierrez is better than Carlos Beltran. That’s a rather weak straw-man. And nice jab saying I don’t watch games.

        Since you are proud of your ignorance of sabremetrics, here are some more traditional stats to show you that the difference between Cabrera and Trout offensively in 2012 was practically negligible:

        Cabrera OBP: 6th in MLB
        Trout OBP: 5th in MLB

        Cabrera SLG: 1st in MLB
        Trout SLG: 4th in MLB

        Also, please explain to me how WAR overrates baserunning? I don’t believe you have enough knowledge of WAR to actually debate its inputs.

      • straightouttavtown - May 22, 2013 at 12:09 AM

        Go look at Hanley Ramirez’s 2007 number. 29 homers 51 steals .332 average, .948 OPS and he played shortstop, a premium position. Those are better number than Trout last year. Guess what he finished in the MVP voting that year? 10th. Stop saying Trout got robbed.

      • eightyraw - May 22, 2013 at 12:37 AM

        Please point to me where I even mentioned the the MVP voting, much less made a comment about Trout being robbed. And you didn’t reply to a single thing I said. You are just debating yourself. But once again, I’ll actually address your nonsense directly.

        1. Offense has gone down since 2007. Raw numbers do not account for this. Hence, Trout’s wRC+ was 166, compared to Hanley’s 144. Even without considering league norms, Trout’s 2012 wOBA beats Hanley’s 2007 wOBA (though just barely).

        2. Hanley’s defense was below-average to awful at SS, compared to Trout’s outstanding defense in CF.

        3. Hanley’s fWAR was 11th-best in the NL in 2007. Weird how that works out …

        4. Hanley’s wOBA in 2007 was 7th-best in the NL, and 21st-best in MLB. Trout’s wOBA in 2012 was 2nd best in the AL, and 3rd-best in MLB.

        4. Suppose Hanley’s 2007 was MVP-worthy and yet he still finished 10th in voting. How would this mistake justify another mistake by voters?

        Your example was horrible.

  21. psunick - May 20, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Are not some of those Twitter comments directed at those who said that “Trout is a better player than Cabrera” last year? His sabermetric numbers were better than Cabrera’s, but that was a rush to judgement in calling Trout a better player.
    He had one (damned) good season.

  22. linebacker1968 - May 21, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    Mike Trout is just plain over rated. What has he done that is so amazing? There are so many players playing better base ball then him it is not funny. He is just an above average player from what I have seen. i don’t even think he is the best player on his team. his numbers are not jaw dropping. there are plenty of center fielders who are just as good as him jackson in Detroit, McCutchen in Pittsburg, Upton in Atlanta and Davis in Baltimore. I can think of over 20 players I would not want to pitch to before I worry about mike trout. Has he ever batted over 300 yet?

  23. linebacker1968 - May 21, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Anyone that says in the bottom of the 9th you would rather pitch to Cabrera than Trout really needs to have their head examined.

  24. johnnycash19 - May 21, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Cabrera leads the AL in all of those categories, yet he’s 4th in WAR.

    lol what?

  25. mike39curtis - May 24, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Trout is a great player, don’t get me wrong. Would love to have him on our team. Who wouldn’t? But sorry folks…. Cabrera is just better than everyone else at this point in time in MLB. Was last year, too. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he has Fielder batting behind him. How great is that? His play at 3B is pretty darn commendable for a guy of his size. He covers decent ground and has a strong, accurate arm.

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