I have been having a running debate with my friend about why I believe Mike Trout should win the AL MVP and my main argument is stolen from the mouth of Bill Clinton himself – arithmetic. A player with five tools having a comparable season offensively is simply more ‘valuable’ than a player who has only two.
Yes, that’s a very simplistic take but is it not the truth?
Let’s compare numbers:
Funny thing is Miguel Cabrera was better last season yet because he didn’t win the “triple crown” didn’t garner as much MVP hype. Last year he slashed a ridiculous 344/448/586 and was worth the same 7.2 WAR. His defense is putrid and he offers little in the baserunning department.
Miguel Cabrera will undoubtedly win the AL MVP this season and let’s be honest there have been a lot worse past winners for an award like this in the past – ahem, Jimmy Rollins. However that does not change the fact that depending on your definition of most ‘valuable’ Mike Trout is just so far superior as an overall ballplayer this season.
Yes the 1960s romanticism with the “triple crown” will of course lock down the award for Cabrera whether he achieves that feat or not. Homeruns are clearly massive but batting average hasn’t been in style as a way to properly gauge players overall ability in decades and RBIs are a direct result of the opportunities being on a good offensive team produce.
Miguel Cabrera is a lock for 200 hits every year and over the course of a season hitting clean-up in a fairly productive line-up will almost guarantee him a good amount of runs batted in. Place him in the middle of Cleveland, Kansas City or Minnesota’s line-up and that Triple Crown chase is all but over, he just won’t have the same opportunity to drive in runs.
Mike Trout has made major league scouts drool since he was a teenager (only a couple years removed by the way) as he is an outstanding defensive player, hits for huge power, shows highly advanced on-base skills for his age and is an absolute monster on the base-paths.
Trout has a better wOBA, WAR, UZR and on-base to name just a few key categories.
In short, Trout is having one of the best seasons a 21-year old has ever had. His offensive numbers are nearly as prolific as Cabrera’s; he plays in a tougher division and just provides more overall ballplayer awesomeness to his team!