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11-15-2012, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by The Nemesis View Post
I disagree. Cabrera had a very very good season. It's absolutely reasonable that he was in the conversation (and somewhat defensible that he won). I still think Trout did more in a more impressive fashion from a more impressive position, and that Cabrera got too much weight put on the triple crown as a somewhat arbitrary thing (which I only have a problem with insofar as I have problems with batting average and rbi as valuable stats), but I don't think it's fair to say that Cabrera wouldn't be in serious consideration without the glitz of the triple crown.
On what grounds does Cabrera deserve to be in the conversation for AL MVP with Mike Trout?

From a defensive stand-point, Mike Trout was ranked the best centre fielder in the AL by: UZR, DRS and The Fielding Bible. Miguel Cabrera by comparison was ranked as a below average defensive 3B by: UZR and DRS. Defensively, Trout is the superior player, and that is before we even take the difficulty of positions into account.

From an offensive stand-point, Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera were virtually identical,

Cabrera: .393 OBP, .417 wOBA, .166 wRC+
Trout: .399 OBP, .409 wOBA, .166 wRC+

The only notable offensive gap is with respect to power, Cabrera posted a .277 ISO rate, compared with Trout's .238, but that is off-set by the fact that Trout plays a scarcer position, with a lower average offensive output.

Further consider their RE24 rates,

Mike Trout: +54.27
Miguel Cabrera: +47.43

RE24 is essentially the difference between the run expectancy when a hitter comes to the plate and when his at-bat ends.

Unlike with context-neutral statistics like wRC+, RE24 takes the number of outs and number of baserunners into account. It does not assume that all home runs are equal, nor does it treat a strikeout with a man on third base and one out as just another out. The rewards for performing with men on base are higher, and the blame for failing in those same situations is steeper as well. This is a metric that essentially quantifies the total offensive value of a player based on the situations that he actually faced. This is not a theoretical metric. If you hit a three run home run, you get more credit than if you hit a solo home run. If you are consistently getting hits with two outs to drive in runs, you get more credit than if those hits come with no outs and the bases empty. And, of course, it’s only an offensive metric, so there’s no defensive component, no position adjustments, and no replacement level. This is just straight up offense, adjusted for the context of the situations that they faced.

Finally, from a base running stand-point, Mike Trout lead all of baseball in SB with 49 in just 139 games, and the highest base running rate in baseball with 12 runs above average, almost 4 runs higher than the next highest ranked position player (Jimmy Rollins 8.3). Miguel Cabrera by comparison finished with a meagre 3 SB, and below average base running rate of -2.8.

Defensively and on the base-paths Mike Trout is objectively superior. Offensively Mike Trout is at worst equal to Miguel Cabrera, and a strong case can be made that he has slight edge due to the scarcity of offence at CF, and his RE24 rates. All of these things are exemplified by Trout's league leading WAR total of 10.0, a full 2 WAR better than the next highest ranked position player (Buster Posey, 8.0), and nearly 3 WAR higher than Miguel Cabrera. None of this is to mention the fact that Mike Trout lead his team to a better record in a harder division, so even if one were to debate the difference of MVP vs. Most Outstanding Player they would still have to concede that Mike Trout was far and away the better choice than Miguel Cabrera, or anyone else for that matter.

The only possible justification for voting Miguel Cabrera MVP over Mike Trout is the, "triple-crown" narrative, which is completely, and utterly indefensible. If the criteria for winning MVP was accomplishing a rare feat, than Josh Hamilton should have been co-MVP for the simple fact that a 4 HR game is just as infrequent as the triple-crown.

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