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Mike Trout expects Miguel Cabrera to win the AL MVP award

Sep 29, 2013, 11:35 PM EDT

Mike Trout Reuters

Angels outfielder Mike Trout isn’t expecting to go home with any hardware this off-season. The winner of last year’s AL Rookie of the Year award and a runner-up to Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera in AL MVP voting, Trout told Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times that his team’s poor season, and the successful season for the Tigers, will allow Cabrera to win his second AL MVP award in as many seasons.

“I think it’s going to be another thing like last year,” Trout said before Sunday’s season finale against the Texas Rangers. “I can’t take it away from Cabrera. He won the division and is going to the playoffs, and we’re heading home after the game. That’s a big contribution, being on a winning team.”

Cabrera leads Trout in many of the “traditional” statistics, like batting average (.348 to .323), home runs (44 to 27), and RBI (137 to 97). Trout provided value in many ways aside from his bat, like stealing 33 bases to Cabrera’s 3 and playing above-average defense at a premium position. He leads Cabrera by a wide margin in Wins Above Replacement, 10.3 to 7.7 per FanGraphs, and 9.2 to 7.2 per Baseball Reference.

Not much has changed in the AL MVP race since last year. There are a couple new wrinkles in Orioles first baseman Chris Davis and Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, but Trout and Cabrera are expected to be the heavyweights in the balloting. Furthermore, for as great as the analytical side of baseball has looked, what with the success of the Athletics, Pirates, and Cardinals this year, the media has not evolved from last year’s defense of Cabrera. So, it seems that Trout is right — it is inevitable that Cabrera will win another AL MVP award.

  1. fearthehoody - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    as a Seattle fan, I like watching this guy play. Stay classy, the future face of MLB

  2. bearwithjetpack - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Mike Trout is my MVP, no matter what an old man with a vote tells me.

  3. jacobknicks - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    I like how people get so mad when the best player on a playoff team gets MVP over the best player on a 4th place team.

    • tedwmoore - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:08 AM

      Why?

      • jacobknicks - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        because they’d be in 4th place with, or without, Trout (they’d still be ahead of Houston)

      • bh192012 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        Is it a team award or individual award? If Cabrera gets it, he should have to loan it out to Scherzer and Sanchez. In your version of things if Trout and Cabrera switch teams, Trout easily wins. Why, though when he has no control over that?

        Literally the award you’re thinking of should be called, “Best player on a playoff team.”

        The way some people think of it, the award would be called “Best player on a playoff team that barely made it.”

        It should be “Best player.”

    • djpostl - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:53 AM

      Yeah, the fact the AL Central ranked 5th of 6 in divisional power rankings had little to do with that, huh?

      That division is a joke. And a bad one at that.

      • philliesblow - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:00 AM

        Where did you find these divisional power rankings showing the AL Central as 5th? The AL West is a bigger joke than the Central. You can point to the Twins & White Sox both losing close to 100 games, but they combined to win 129 games where the Astros and Mariners only combined to win 122 games. As bad as those 2 teams were, the Angels still couldn’t find a way to finish over .500 while playing them 38 times.

    • kopy - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      I like how “I like how” has become a passive aggressive trendy phrase that means “I don’t like how.”

  4. dankpuffalot - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    2 outs and a man on 1st and your team is down by 1. Do you want Trout or Cabrera up? Almost everyone chooses Cabrera because stealing 1st base doesn’t produce runs. Keep going with your stats meant to support your argument while ignoring stats that don’t support your argument. WAR? I’ll take Cabrera and his CF over Trout and his 3B.

    • bearwithjetpack - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:24 AM

      Fortunately, man on first with two outs isn’t the only play in baseball.

      Over the course of a baseball game, over the course of the season, I take Mike Trout 10 out of 10 times.

      • metalhead65 - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:40 AM

        and you and your team will sitting home in the post season. but hey you and saber metric buddies can keep inventing new stats and eventually he will get his mvp deserved or not.

    • cadillacjosh - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      Okay but the converse; 9th inning, 2 out, a man on first, while your team is up 1 run and looking for the save. Would you rather have Trout or Cabrera’s glove out there?’

    • raysfan1 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      Using your scenario, one could still reasonably pick Trout over Cabrera as he has more extra base hits than Cabrera this year due to 39 doubles and 9 triples this year.

      However, it was not a travesty that Cabrera got the MVP last year nor will it be this year.

      • matthiasstephan - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:03 AM

        Last year it was about narrative (first Triple Crown winner in forever).

        This year it is about?? Batting Average? Winning 90 games (with a lot of other All-Stars on the team – Scherzer, Verlander, etc)?

        What makes him ‘better’ than Davis or Trout?

        On traditional metrics (HRs and RBIs) it is Davis.

        On SABR stats it is Trout.

        Take your pick.

    • djpostl - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:56 AM

      Same situation but on defense and a ball is hit right at A. Trout or B. the butcher of 3B…who ya want fiedling it?

      Late in game, man on 1st…ball hit in between outfielders but not geetting by them, who u want on base paths who’lll go 1st to 3d? Yeah, thought so.

      It’s called Most Valuable Player..not Most Valuable Hitter.

      Keep clinging to your antiquated way to evaluate what makes a player valuable lol.

    • cur68 - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      I’ll take Cabrera and his CF over Trout and his 3B.

      -ok. You do that. But, if this call of who plays where remains unchallenged by the fans of either team, then people just are not paying attention. And that’s ignoring “stealing first base” in the opening sentence. WTF? If you’re not serious, use Sarcasm Font™ if you’re gonna write stuff like this or someone’s gonna call you on it, (and if you use SF™, you owe me $69.69, Canadian Funds only. No personal cheques, either).

  5. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Player H 2B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
    Cabrera, M 193 26 44 137 90 94 .348 .442 .636 1.078
    Davis, C 167 42 53 138 72 199 .286 .370 .634 1.004
    Trout, M 190 39 27 97 110 136 .323 .432 .557 .988

    Trout trails in almost every major category. Why should he expect to be anywhere other than third? If anything, Davis ended up making quite a case for a closer race than we all expected a month ago.

    There are only two outcomes I will find acceptable.

    Cabrera, Davis, Trout
    or
    Davis, Cabrera, Trout.

    • bearwithjetpack - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:59 AM

      Lucky for you that you share the voting criteria with the voters.

      aka: only batting matters in baseball.

      • km9000 - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:30 AM

        Exactly. It’s most valuable “player.”

        Teams can have a great hitter, a great baserunner, and a great defender. Trout is all those players just by himself. Trout can (and does) help your team in multiple ways. How is that not the embodiment of value?

    • paperlions - Sep 30, 2013 at 7:25 AM

      Because defense and base running matter, and Trout is a huge plus in both respects while Cabrera and Davis are negatives.

      • biasedhomer - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:24 AM

        But Cabrera has a notable advantage at other stats.

        BA 20 points higher, OBP 40 points higher, SLG 80 points higher.

        Last year, Trout should have won, but this year it is Miggy (even though both are fairly close).

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        OBP 40 points higher,

        It’s 10 pts higher, and that’s only due to BA. Trout has more walks (110 to 90) even with Cabrera’s 9 IBB lead and a better BB% (15.4% to 13.8%).

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      Here’s the problem with most defensive metricizes. They are all completely subjective. Never mind the fact that you can’t truly compare an Outfielder to a Third baseman to a First baseman. Chris Davis was second in the AL in Range factor behind Justin Morneau. He had a better fielding percentage than Trout. And half the errors of Cabrera. Davis was in fact underrated as a defensive player, and Trout was overrated.

      War is nice and all, but it factors in past seasons too heavily, and makes assumptions based on previous years. Trout had a fantastic defensive season last year. But he slipped a little bit this year. There were great concerns about Davis’ ability to play first this year, but he exceeded expectations. If you need to further evidence of the ridiculousness of defensive metricizes, look back two months when people were talking Manny Machado in the MVP hunt because his defense was so over the top. Yes he had an amazing year, and his defense was ridiculous, however he was benefiting from a weighting system that over-emphasized defensive performance.

      Is Trout’s defense worth 26 home runs? How about 41 RBI’s? Or .025 Average? Or how slugging, OPS, and OBP all of which he is lower in? Yes, he’s a very good player. And stolen bases and above average defense (Although a lot of people would say his defense this year was just average) are very nice. But Davis and Cabrera simply had a better year. Go back to the .gif of Davis’ first 51 homerunes and see just how many of those homeruns either tied the ballgame or put the team ahead. War and for that matter, no other stat I know of takes that into account.

      • jarathen - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        Please don’t argue clutch when it comes to contribution. It’s not real. It’s narrative.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        I love how someone can read three paragraphs I wrote then put words into my mouth. I never once said the word clutch. I remarked that a lot of his production either tied the game or put the team ahead and that has signification intrinsic value.

        But it really doesn’t matter what I have to say, people are going to continue to argue WAR above all and ignore any other arguments as invalid.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        War is nice and all, but it factors in past seasons too heavily

        How does it factor in past performance?

        War and for that matter, no other stat I know of takes that into account.

        WPA does. Ignorance of something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        Is Trout’s defense worth 26 home runs? How about 41 RBI’s? Or .025 Average? Or how slugging, OPS, and OBP all of which he is lower in?

        Who are you comparing here? The latter stats sound like Trout to Cabrera, but Cabrera isn’t 26 HR ahead of Trout, Davis is. But Davis only leads in SLG.

        And when you use stats that have a direct relation to each other, like BA and OBP, is a bit misleading. Trout has the best walk rate of all three players. Trout has the second best wOBA and wRC+ which factor in all types of hits, not just HR.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        http://www.fangraphs.com/library/war/limitations-war/

        2) Measuring the past, not “true talent level”

        I never said WPA didn’t exist, I said I was unaware of such a stat existing. But thanks for the ignorant comment, when you could have simply informed me of something I stated I had never heard of. I will look into that stat, sounds exciting.

        I was comparing Trout to both Davis and Cabrera, since the argument seems to be that Trout was better than both of them, although he is behind both in most major statistics. (Yes, I said most).

        Again, Trout had a very nice season, and he lead Davis and Cabrera in some stats like walks, and stolen bases, and has arguably marginally better defense. This is not my argument. My argument is Davis and Cabrera had a better season than Trout did, and people should look at more stats than just WAR which seems to be the majority of the Pro-Trout camp at the moment. I also don’t feel his speed and walks made up for what Davis/Cabrera did this year. That’s just my personal opinion.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        BTW, according to Fangraphs Davis lead the MLB in WPA at 7.49. Cabrera was third at 6.65 and Trout 7th (4th in the AL) at 4.80.

        So take that for whatever it’s worth.

      • clemente2 - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        jarathen—as to your clutch comment, you are confusing talent level (where the ‘predictative’ value of clutch is non-supported) and narrative (what the player actually did).

        Awards like MVP are based on what happened; and Davis did hit his HRs in those situations. All luck, mainly luck, good concentration in pressure situations—it does not matter. He did it, and like all his other actual accomplishments during the season, it counts.

        Awards are narrative based, not talent based.

  6. Minoring In Baseball - Sep 30, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    Without Miggy, the Tigers don’t win the Central=MVP.
    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

    • djpostl - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:59 AM

      And if they played in AL West no playoffs either. AL Central is putrid against everyone exept teams in their on division.

    • badvlad - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:52 AM

      The Tigers won the Central by a margin of 1 game. By your logic, isn’t any player who helped them win a single game the “MVP”? They wouldn’t have achieved that win without that player for that particular game. Isn’t anyone who helped them win at least one game an MVP in that regard?

      Going a little further, if a team stomps the crap out of everyone else and wins their division with a 25 game lead, couldn’t you say no one on the team is the MVP? The team as a unit is so good that taking away one player really wouldn’t make a difference in that race.

      (Paraphrasing an argument I saw somewhere else)

      • NatsLady - Sep 30, 2013 at 5:27 AM

        That’s silly. Tigers had the division clinched, who cares by how many? If it it was in danger, don’t you think they would have made a little more effort against the Fish?

      • biasedhomer - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

        This is a head scratcher. You say Tigers won the Central by 1 game.
        “The team as a unit is so good that taking away one player really wouldn’t make a difference in that race. ”
        So take out Miggy and his 7 WAR (I believe that was what it is). So you’d need a player with 6 WAR for them to be tied for the division lead.

  7. jpietrefesa - Sep 30, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    Wins Above Replacement. What a load of crap that stat is. Your telling me the Tigers would have won more games with Trout rather than Cabrera? Ohhhh the made up formula that you have says so.

    • matthiasstephan - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:29 AM

      Yes, I believe that ‘made up’ stat is exactly what tells you so.

      Did you bother to figure out what goes into it?

    • paperlions - Sep 30, 2013 at 7:30 AM

      Of course they would have won more games, they would have scored as many runs and given up many fewer runs….having the added benefit of their pitchers facing fewer hitters.

      • biasedhomer - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:40 AM

        This is completely flawed logic.
        If you swap Trout in for Cabrera, are you placing him at 3rd, because how then would they have given up those run on those plays that Cabrera could not make at 3B? Trout isn’t magically going to fly in from CF and stay right behind Cabrera. And you have no idea how Trout would do at 3B. It may be safe to assume he would be better than Cabrera, but that would be a very weak point to base your argument on.

  8. km9000 - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    The Orioles were right in the middle of the overall standings, but because of divisions and wild cards, Davis is on a “winning team.” But it used to be that being in the middle meant you were 20 games out of a playoff spot. So would that have invalidated Davis’s great year?

    1 of 8 teams used to make the postseason. Now it’s 1 of 3.

  9. matthiasstephan - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    I don’t see the case for Cabrera. Someone explain. Is it JUST batting average?

    Home Runs, RBIs, Extra Base Hits = Davis

    WAR = Trout (plus, Runs and Walks, so also plate discipline).

    Defense is not for Cabrera.

    If it is just the Tigers winning the central, what about Scherzer?

    • djpostl - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:01 AM

      Who knows. More imprtantly ho cares. It’s a BBWAA award so it means shit to me.

  10. spacemaker101 - Sep 30, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    Maybe in a couple years trout but nobody is coming close to beating miggy this year.

  11. druhlman - Sep 30, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    Actually calling Cabrera the butcher of 3B is an exaggeration. I would say the butcher of 3B has to be Zimmerman…have you seen some of those throws? When Cabby can get to a ball his hands are solid and he has a plus arm. Saying he’s horrible defensively is just inaccurate, below average I can live with.

    • paperlions - Sep 30, 2013 at 7:31 AM

      No, it isn’t. Being a statue at 3B = being a horrible defender.

  12. Francisco (FC) - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    It’s as if the writers are compensating for all those years ignoring Miggy by now ignoring Trout.

    • biasedhomer - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      Ignoring Miggy over who?
      2011, Verlander was a good choice.
      2010 Hamilton was better.
      2009 Mauer was better.
      He had pretty weak years in 08 and 07 compared to the top vote getters.
      06 and 05, Pujols was easily the best player.
      03 and 04 you had Bonds.

      Tell me, when should the writers have awarded him the MVP?

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 1, 2013 at 7:16 AM

        Well I was being flippant. I was positive Miggy was a sure thing MVP for 2010-2011 (I’ll note he made 2nd place behind Hamilton). I’ll point out that Miggy in 2011 would ALSO have been a good choice, but the Verlander narrative was much stronger.

  13. metrocritical - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Every once in a while, I’ll wander over from PFT and will be amazed at the level of geekdom on the baseball side of things, from the writers to the fans. Theoretically, pro sports is meant to entertain and distract but the amount of vitriol suggests otherwise. The bickering between traditionalists and WAR proponents comes off as petty and silly, like arguing over who should’ve been on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition based one formula over another. Those who decide vote base their choice on preferences using a variety of tangible and tangible factors and majority rules. If WARmongers had it their way, there wouldn’t even be a need to vote because the individual awards would be based on final numbers only. Do the baseball writers really want to give up their votes?

    • Reflex - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      Every once in a while I’ll wander over to PFT and…lose some points off my IQ.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      Yes, the Great Trout v. Cabrera Debates of ’12 & ’13 are a bit much at times. I also admit to being a bit of a geek. However, I read PFT too, and the level of vitriol and numbers of absolute knuckle draggers in the PFT comments section dwarfs the number to be found here.

    • km9000 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      WAR isn’t the main argument, and a whole bunch of other nerdy advanced stats that would favor Trout haven’t even been mentioned here.

      Traditionalists always talk about the “eye test,” but even just using that to gauge each player’s overall game, we’re saying Trout is better. And we’d happily take 2013 Cabrera in a draft, just not over 2013 Trout.

      • biasedhomer - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        It seems by reading most of these comments, WAR is all that matters.

      • km9000 - Sep 30, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Except for one post, the only time WAR is ever mentioned is by those who are slamming it.

  14. andreweac - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    I love the straw man arguments against those who favor evidence-based, Sabermetric statistics.

    Awards such as the MVP should never be only based on one stat, such as WAR, their must be a blend of human intuition and statistic analysis — just like how every other industry in America makes decisions.

    The anti-Sabermetric brigade remind me of the Luddites — incapable of seeing the value added of more advanced ways to measure production. This doesn’t mean human intuition is eliminated. Saber metrics allow for better human decisions. Not worse.

    Trout should be MVP.

    • km9000 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      I was on a hockey team fan blog, looking for comments on a new player acquisition. They threw around some advanced stats, which I had no understanding of.

      And it suddenly dawned on me why some baseball fans could be so dismissive of them. But at the same time, I’m not gonna laugh and sneer at hockey’s advanced stats just because they’re foreign to me.

  15. metrocritical - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    raysfan1:

    No doubt, the vitriol over at PFT is far worse and less articulate and the meathead factor is much higher. It’s just funny to switch between sites and compare the PFT crowd launching barbs that are largely passion based and then observes the incessant bickering here over statistics that only have the meaning and weight that one chooses to give them. Bottom line: It is all about entertainment. Sports are not meant to cure cancer, pay off our mortgages, improve Homeland Security or prove the existence of God. Relax and enjoy, people. No one will ever actually be “right” when it comes to deciding how to measure the immeasurables.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Agreed, although for some debate is itself entertainment and part of what some fans actually like about baseball. It’s generally pretty easy to tell which ones take things too seriously, so I generally refrain from even responding to them as they not only will not be swayed, they will not acknowledge any other opinion could have merit.

  16. Unity Teacher - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    WAR should basically have the sum of all players add up to a 0. Last year when I totaled the Cardinals WARs and subtracted the positives and added the negatives to see the winning percentage without any player, I got to .430 (approximate). I was curious about this and looked at a bad team. I got an even worse result. No team made it to .500. This means for me, WAR does not accurately estimate what a replacement player is if the average player only gets a team below .500. Simply, .500 is average. I like the idea of WAR but it is flawed and should be reconfigured to ensure a replacement only team is a .500 team.

    • clemente2 - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Uh, no. Any meaningful sense of replacement level results in a team that does not play .500. It get slaughtered. The idea is the player available when all the other places in the league and on your team are taken, except the one position you have to fill. By definition it is going to be a less-than-average MLB player.

      You do have to make a somewhat arbitrary choice exactly where you think replacement level should be, but it is not average. Read up at Baseball Prospectus or Tom Tango’s blog.

    • tommyshih - Sep 30, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      Replacement level players are worth 0 WAR. So, a team full of replacement players (borderline major leaguer/minor leaguer) would sum up to 0 WAR. A replacement level (0 WAR) team would still win at a 0.294 rate, which comes out to 47.628 wins per season. So if you have a team made up of players that totals 45 WAR then you can expect them to have won around 92-93 games. A .500 team would have players that total about 43-44 WAR.

      This might help you understand: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/why-replacement-level/

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