Some people believe Miguel Cabrera should win the American League’s most valuable player award because he is the best offensive player in baseball. If the most valuable player award only took into account a players offensive numbers, then I could see their reasoning, but that is not the case. There is an award for the league’s best offensive player, the Hank Aaron Award, if we were debating whether or not Cabrera deserved this award, I would definitely side with the people that believe he should. The most valuable player award is given to the best all-around player, including a player’s offense, defense, and base running. Mike Trout excels in all three of those categories, while Miguel Cabrera is excellent in only one of them, offense, and subpar in the others, defense and base running.
Mike Trout has struggled over the last month of the season, while Cabrera has done exceptionally well. Sean Rinehart says that, “Each player will be counted upon heavily to help their respective teams advance (to the post season),” and since Cabrera is helping his team more in their fight for the playoffs, he is the more valuable player. The writer makes a good point; the Angels are definitely relying heavily on Trout to do well so they can advance to the post season, while the Tigers are doing the same with Cabrera, but to act like games in September are more important than games in May is just completely wrong. A win or loss in May has the same effect on the standings as a win or loss in September.
“There is no doubt that Sabermetrics (specialized analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity) certainly has its place in the game today, but to say that Trout should win the MVP award because he edges Cabrera in a few distinct categories is lunacy.” The writer claims that Trout should not win the most valuable player award because he edges Cabrera in only a few distinct categories. After making this claim, he says that Cabrera should win the most valuable player award, and basis it on only three statistics, homeruns, batting average, and runs batted in (RBI), two of which have their flaws. The flaw in RBI is that it is completely dependent on your teammates getting on base in front of you. A player cannot control whether or not the hitters in front of him get on base. The flaw in batting average is it only tells us how many times a player reaches base after getting a hit, there are many other ways to reach base other than getting a hit. Walking and being hit by a pitch are a few examples. A players on base percentage takes into account all of the different ways a player reaches base, and therefore is a better statistic than batting average.
Mike Trout’s speed makes him the best base runner in baseball. He is able to turn singles or walks into doubles and triples by stealing bases. He leads not only the American League, but the entire Major Leagues in stolen bases at 47; the next closest person has 39. Trout is also able to go from first base to third base on ordinary singles whereas average base runners are only able to advance from first base to second base. He is also able to score from first base on balls that are hit into the outfield gaps, whereas an average player is only able to get to third. Miguel Cabrera is not even an average base runner; he is well below average, and one of the worst in all of baseball. He is extremely slow, which is evident by his career total of 33 stolen bases. Cabrera slows down everyone behind him, which hurts his team.
Trout and Cabrera both play important defensive positions, Trout plays center field, and Cabrera plays third base. Trout’s speed is once again a huge asset in this part of the game and it is what allows him to be one of the best outfielders in the game. Trout is able to catch pop flies that other outfielders do not even come close to catching. Cabrera’s speed, or lack thereof, once again hinders his ability to perform at a top level. Cabrera is not able to stop balls that average third basemen can stop because he does not have very good range, so if the ball is not hit within a few feet of him you can count on it going into the outfield.
The only reasoning people have for Cabrera winning the most valuable player award is by the numbers he puts up on offense. The reasoning people have for Trout winning the most valuable player award is his offense, defense, and base running. Cabrera is slightly better than Trout offensively, but Trout makes up for it by being far superior on the defensive side of the ball and on the base paths. If Trout does not win the most valuable player award the baseball commissioner needs to make some serious changes to the voting system.