Nov 15, 2013, 11:47 AM EDT
As you might know, I had a vote this year. And I voted for Trout. I suppose that won’t be a shocker for anyone on this site. I’ve never hidden my strong opinion that while Cabrera’s the best hitter in the game, Trout is the best player in the game. Last year, Trout had what is almost certainly the best season for a 20-year-old in baseball history. This year, he had one of the best for a 21-year-old.
Best seasons for a 21-year old in no particular order:
– Mike Trout, 2013, .323/.432/.557, 39 doubles, 27 homers, 33 SBs, led league in runs and walks.
– Rogers Hornsby, 1917, .327/.385/.484, led league in slugging and with 17 triples during Deadball Era.
– Rickey Henderson, 1980, .303/.420/.399 with 100 stolen bases and 111 runs scored.
– Cesar Cedeno, 1972, .320/.385/.537 with 39 doubles, 22 homers, 59 steals and 103 runs scored while playing in the hitter-unfriendly Astrodome.
– Eddie Mathews, 1952, hit .302 and led league 47 home runs. He also had 135 RBIs and 99 walks.
And so on — Jimmie Foxx in 1929, Ken Griffey in 1991, Andruw Jones in 1998, Ted Williams in 1939, Frank Robinson in 1957, Ty Cobb in 1908 and so on. Most of the great 21-year olds became Hall of Famers. Mike Trout really is a phenomenon.
In my view when you totaled up everything — power, getting on base, defense, speed, base-running — Trout was simply the more valuable player. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and talked to a lot of people. That was my call.
But that’s not the main point here. The main point here is this: I’ve come to believe with these awards that, sure, there are often players I believe deserve to win who do not. But that’s just about opinions. I think the larger question to ask is this: Did the person who won the MVP award have an MVP season? Did the person who won the Cy Young Award have a Cy Young season?
Sometimes they don’t. The Cy Young Award has been particularly shaky. Mark Davis, Steve Bedrosian, LaMarr Hoyt, Pete Vuckovich, Mike Flanagan, just as a starting point … I just don’t think any of them had Cy Young seasons. They had seasons that were illusions because of high win totals or high save totals.
And it’s true for MVP. I don’t think Dennis Eckersley had an MVP season when he won the MVP in 1992. I don’t think it was close to an MVP season. He pitched just 80 innings, and did not have a markedly better season than Jeff Montgomery, Duane Ward, Doug Jones, Jeff Russell or a half dozen other relievers. He pitched for a great team that won a lot of games, he had helped redefine that position, and voters liked him. The problem with 1992 was not that Roger Clemens or Kirby Puckett or Robbie Alomar or numerous other more deserving candidates did not win the award. The problem with 1992 is that Eckersley did not have an MVP season but won anyway.
I don’t think Andre Dawson had an MVP season in 1987 — he led the league in home runs and RBIs which impressed everybody. And it was impressive. But that was a reflection of his home park; and he was actually quite dreadful on the road (.234/.288/.480). His WAR that year was 15th among players who got votes. Tony Gwynn, who hit .370/.447/.511 or Eric Davis with his 37 homers and 50 stolen bases or Dale Murphy, who actually had a better season than either of his MVP seasons, were MUCH better candidates for MVP. But once again, my big issue is that Dawson simply did not have an MVP quality season.*
*Conversely in 1982, when Dawson had a fantastic season that was absolutely of MVP quality, he finished 21st in the MVP voting.
We can keep going with this. I don’t think Willie Hernandez had an MVP season in 1984 — it would be awfully tough for me to believe a reliever could pitch enough innings to be the most valuable player in the league (though Hernandez did throw 140, way more than the modern closer). Don Baylor did not have an MVP season in 1979 — he was a DH/lumbering outfielder who slugged more than 100 points less than his own future teammate Fred Lynn. Jim Konstanty certainly was not the most valuable player in 1950 — a year when Stan Musial had a Musial year and Eddie Stanky had a .460 on-base percentage and scored 115 runs and so on.
And the point: Miguel Cabrera this year had an MVP quality season, no question about that. He had an MVP quality season last year too. He’s a fantastic player in his prime. It’s easy, when you get caught up in the argument, to forget the greatness of Cabrera and the greatness of Trout. They both had legitimate MVP seasons and so did Josh Donaldson and Robbie Cano and throw in Chris Davis and Evan Longoria too. I voted Trout but it’s not like the BBWAA gave the award to Jim Johnson because he had 50 saves or Prince Fielder because he had 100-plus RBIs. They gave it to a great player who had a great season.
Oct 20, 2014, 7:07 AM EDT
Four full days off before the World Series has all of us hurting for content, frankly.
Oct 19, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis had a poor showing in 2014 and the club is changing up his conditioning program in attempt to help him regain some speed.
Oct 19, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
Replay review hasn’t had as much of an effect on post-season outcomes as some had previously thought.
Oct 19, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
A.J. Pierzynski wants to play baseball again in 2015, it just won’t be with the Cardinals.
Oct 19, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT
Two radio stations in San Francisco are refusing to play Lorde’s song “Royals” until the World Series is over.
Oct 19, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
The Athletics lost hitting coach Chili Davis to the Red Sox on Sunday. They are now showing interest in Dave Hansen to fill the position.
Oct 19, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
It appears the Red Sox have a new hitting coach in former major leaguer Chili Davis.
Oct 19, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT
Tim Lincecum woke up with a stiff neck and cut his workout short on Saturday, but is still expected to be ready when the World Series starts on Tuesday.
Oct 19, 2014, 3:03 PM EDT
From Baseball America’s transaction page comes word that the Braves have signed utilityman Pedro Ciriaco to a minor league contract.
Oct 19, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT
Boston has an outfield logjam that needs to be addressed this winter.
Oct 19, 2014, 11:17 AM EDT
Chris Young was one of the best bargains of the 2014 season, posting a 3.65 ERA and 1.23 WHIP across 165 innings for the Mariners on a mere one-year, $1.25 million deal. He can officially become a free agent five days after the World Series and will probably be looking to cash in one final time at age 35. But winding up back in Seattle may be his preference …
Oct 19, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT
Buster Posey, Joe Panik, Pablo Sandoval, Javier Lopez, Jake Peavy and a few other Giants talk about their upcoming World Series matchup against the Royals …
Oct 18, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT
Rangers starter Colby Lewis suffered an elbow injury which marred his 2012-13 seasons, and he struggled mightily in 2014, but that isn’t stopping GM Jon Daniels in his pursuit to keep the right-hander in Arlington.
Oct 18, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT
The Tigers have quickly filled the void left by top scout Mike Russell, who joined the Diamondbacks, adding Dave Littlefield into the mix.
Oct 18, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT
In Adam LaRoche’s ideal world, he would finish out the rest of his career with the Nationals. Unfortunately for him, the Nationals are expected to move Ryan Zimmerman to first base.
Oct 18, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT
Domonic Brown thinks he’ll be able to find a starting job if the Phillies aren’t interested in keeping him around in 2015.
Oct 18, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
The baseball world wasn’t the only one surprised that it was Travis Ishikawa who hit a walk-off home run to send the Giants into the World Series. Ishikawa still isn’t sure it was him, either.
Oct 18, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
The man who generously gave Travis Ishikawa his NLCS-winning home run ball has been rewarded by the Giants with four tickets to Game 3 of the World Series at AT&T Park.
Oct 18, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
Madison Bumgarner and Jake Peavy will start Games 1 and 2 of the World Series against the Royals.
Oct 18, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT
The Royals will host the first two games of the World Series.
- Two radio stations in San Francisco are refusing to play Lorde’s “Royals” during the World Series 21
- Royals tab James Shields, Yordano Ventura to start first two games of World Series 1
- Brian Roberts is retiring 13
- So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got? 117
- Video: Watch Travis Ishikawa’s pennant-winning homer 13
- Travis Ishikawa sends Giants to World Series on walk-off three-run homer 79
- NLCS, Game 5: Cardinals vs. Giants lineups 30
- This team. 30
- So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got? (117)
- “The Kansas City Royals Are the Future of Baseball” — someone actually said that. (93)
- Andrew Friedman leaving the Rays to take over as Dodgers President of Baseball Operations (83)
- Quit making a big deal out of anomalies. Most of what happens is meaningless. (82)
- Travis Ishikawa sends Giants to World Series on walk-off three-run homer (79)