Skip to content

Pouliot’s midseason award picks: AL MVP

Jul 3, 2013, 6:26 PM EDT

Miguel Cabrera Getty Images

The reigning MVP has some heavy-hitting competition this year. Let’s see if he can hold them off.

AL OPS leaders:

1.136 – Miguel Cabrera: .368/.458/.678, 26 HR, 85 RBI, 2 SB in 323 AB
1.126 – Chris Davis: .329/.405/.721, 31 HR, 80 RBI, 0 SB in 301 AB
1.102 – David Ortiz: .320/.406/.607, 16 HR, 57 RBI, 2 SB in 244 AB
.927 – Mike Trout: .311/.388/.539, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 20 SB in 334 AB
.920 – Evan Longoria: .301/.371/.549, 17 HR, 47 RBI, 0 SB in 306 AB
.920 – Josh Donaldson: .318/.386/.534, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 2 SB in 305 AB
.913 – Jason Kipnis: .299/.385/.529, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 19 SB in 278 AB
.908 – Robinson Cano: .295/.372/.537, 20 HR, 54 RBI, 5 SB in 315 AB
.887 – Edwin Encarnacion: .270/.350/.537, 23 HR, 66 RBI, 3 SB in 315 AB
.878 – Joe Mauer: .318/.402/.475, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 0 SB in 305 AB

Other notables:

.846 – Dustin Pedroia: .321/.404/.441, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 12 SB in 324 AB
.841 – Howie Kendrick: .323/.367/.475, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 6 SB in 316 AB
.839 – Manny Machado: .321/.352/.488, 6 HR, 42 RBI, 6 SB in 361 AB

Here are the WAR top 10s:

Baseball-reference

5.2 – Manny Machado
4.9 – Miguel Cabrera
4.3 – Chris Sale
4.1 – Chris Davis
4.1 – Dustin Pedroia
4.0 – Clay Buchholz
3.8 – Robinson Cano
3.8 – Josh Donaldson
3.7 – Hisashi Iwakuma
3.7 – Jason Kipnis

Fangraphs

5.4 – Miguel Cabrera
4.6 – Mike Trout
4.6 – Chris Davis
4.5 – Evan Longoria
4.2 – Manny Machado
3.9 – Josh Donaldson
3.5 – Jose Bautista
3.5 – Joe Mauer
3.4 – Derek Holland
3.4 – Max Scherzer
3.4 – Felix Hernandez

Now, I’m all for considering pitchers for MVP awards, but three months into this year, I don’t think any pitcher besides maybe Scherzer is in the mix for even a down ballot vote. B-ref WAR may disagree, but I don’t believe any AL starters have been as valuable as Adam Wainwright and Matt Harvey in the NL.

If the BBWAA held the vote today, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Cabrera would win in a landslide, with Davis finishing second. And that’s justifiable. Cabrera ranks first in the AL in average, second in homers and first in RBI. Davis is second in average, first in homers and second in RBI. They’re one-two in OPS as well, and it’s close there. However, Cabrera’s extra 53 points of OBP are worth a lot more than Davis’s 48 points of slugging.

Defense brings the two only a bit closer together; I think Davis has a bit more value as a decent first baseman than Cabrera does as a poor third baseman. But it’s not a big margin. Cabrera’s ballpark is also a bit tougher than Davis’s, so I think it’s pretty clear that Cabrera comes out ahead of Davis.

That leaves Trout and Machado as the competition. There are two big differences in the Trout vs. Cabrera battle this year. First, the offensive gap is much larger. Last year, Cabrera edged Trout by a mere 36 points of OPS (.999 to .963). This year, it’s a 200-point margin. The other difference is that Trout’s defensive numbers are way down this year. B-ref rates him as below average, while Fangraphs has him right around average. My eyes tell me that Trout truly did struggle defensively in April, but that he’s been much better of late. Regardless, his defense and baserunning aren’t close to making up the offensive gap this year.

That leaves Machado, whose case is built on his remarkable defensive numbers. Fangraphs says he’s been worth a win and a half, making him baseball’s most valuable defensive player so far. B-ref has him at 2 1/2 wins, more than a win ahead of anyone else in the AL.

I’m pretty skeptical of B-ref’s accounting there. Machado is an excellent third baseman. Actually, he’s an excellent shortstop playing a position for which he’s overqualified. But 2 1/2 wins seems excessive. I have a hard time believing that a player who gets three balls hit his way per game can be worth 25 extra runs in half of a season. Fangraphs’ math makes him the AL’s fifth most valuable player, which sounds about right to me. For all of those wonderful doubles, he ranks only 16th in the AL in OPS and 26th in OBP. He’s third in outs made.

After those four, it’s mostly more third basemen and second basemen vying for spots. It shows how down of a year it’s been for AL outfielders; Trout is the only one in the top 10 in OPS.

AL MVP picks

1. Cabrera
2. Davis
3. Trout
4. Machado
5. Pedroia
6. Longoria
7. Donaldson
8. Kipnis
9. Cano
10. Ortiz

Latest Posts
  1. Colby Lewis to test free agency after inability to reach deal with Rangers

    Oct 31, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

    Colby Lewis Colby Lewis

    Colby Lewis will test free agency after he and the Rangers couldn’t strike a deal.

  2. Jockey gave away “Mad Bum” underwear to Giants fans

    Oct 31, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT

    Madison Bumgarner Madison Bumgarner

    Madison Bumgarner’s post-season performance prompted Jockey to make underwear with “Mad Bum” on the backside, a special gift to Giants fans at Friday’s World Series parade in San Francisco.

  3. Rockies exercise option on 42-year-old LaTroy Hawkins

    Oct 31, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    LaTroy Hawkins Getty Images

    This season Hawkins became one of 16 pitchers in MLB history with 1,000 or more appearances and if healthy he’ll move into the top 10 next season.

  4. Rangers decline Alex Rios’ $13.5 million option

    Oct 31, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

    Alex Rios AP AP

    Rios is now a free agent coming off a season in which he hit .280 with four homers and a .709 OPS in 131 games.

  5. The Cubs to announce the hiring of Joe Maddon on Monday

    Oct 31, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Joe Maddon Getty Getty Images

    The end of this awkward, orchestrated process is in sight.

  6. Rays exercise $7.5 million option on Ben Zobrist

    Oct 31, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT

    New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays Getty Images

    He’ll be eligible for free agency next offseason at age 34.

  7. Blue Jays claim Andy Dirks off waivers from Tigers

    Oct 31, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Andy Dirks AP

    Dirks missed the entire season following back surgery and then a hamstring injury.

  8. The Giants victory parade is going on . . . now!

    Oct 31, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    giants logo

    Go O.D. on some hot trolley action.

  9. Eric Chavez joins the Yankees as special assignment scout

    Oct 31, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Getty Images

    Chavez played for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012.

  10. HBT Daily: One last look back at the World Series and a look ahead at the Hot Stove Season

    Oct 31, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    Our last HBT Daily of the year gives a brief taste of the coming winter.

  11. Indians exercise $3.5 million option on Mike Aviles

    Oct 31, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

    Mike Aviles, Asdrubal Cabrera AP

    This season he hit just .247 with a .616 OPS in 113 games and Aviles hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2010.

  12. Should Alex Gordon have tried to steal home on Wednesday night?

    Oct 31, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 1.01.27 PM AP

    Some random, hypothetical musings on a Friday afternoon.

  13. GM says Red Sox will have “a conversation” with free agent Jon Lester

    Oct 31, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT

    Jon Lester Getty AP

    He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2002 and made 241 starts for Boston.

  14. The Tigers exercise their option on Joakim Soria

    Oct 31, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 11.46.21 AM AP

    The only question for next season is what inning he’ll pitch.

  15. Brewers decline Rickie Weeks’ option

    Oct 31, 2014, 10:50 AM EDT

    rickie-weeks-brewers2 AP

    Weeks has spent his entire career with the Brewers after being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 draft.

  16. Daisuke Matsuzaka has a multi-year offer to return to Japan

    Oct 31, 2014, 10:19 AM EDT

    Daisuke Matsuzaka AP

    Matsuzaka left Japan in 2007 to sign a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red Sox and had immediate success, but dating back to 2009 he’s combined to throw 418 innings with a 5.10 ERA.

  17. Ruben Amaro unveils a “The Phillies Way” handbook

    Oct 31, 2014, 9:43 AM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

    The mind reels when thinking of what may appear in such a publication.

Featured video

Final take away from World Series
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Pence (2259)
  2. M. Morse (2230)
  3. J. Panik (2150)
  4. Y. Cespedes (2127)
  5. M. Moustakas (2047)