There are probably several good reasons to think Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera should win this year’s American League MVP over Mike Trout of the Angels.
Right now I can’t think of any, but check back in 2024.
I can tell you the two worst reasons for favoring Cabrera:
1. He is going to win the Triple Crown. Why? Because Texas’ Josh Hamilton got a sinus infection.
Come on, now. Winning the Triple Crown simply cannot be that big a deal if Babe Ruth never won it. That’s right, the Bambino never led the league in batting average, home runs and RBI in the same season.
In 1921, though, Ruth did bat .378 with 59 home runs, and knocked in 171 runs while also leading the AL with 177 runs and 145 walks. Sorry, though, no Triple Crown.
The Triple Crown is rare, we get that. So is Haley’s Comet. But the crown has as much to do with chance as anything else. Albert Pujols has had comparable seasons to Cabrera and not won the crown.
Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski, the last winner (in 1967), hit .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBIs. OK, nice year. In 2003, Pujols hit .359 with 43 home runs and 124 RBIs and only led the league in batting.
Did Yaz have a better year than Albert? Um, no.
Some years just break statistically in your favor relative to the league. Seattle’s Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young a few years ago with a 13-12 record. Nolan Ryan didn’t win it for the Angels in 1973 with 21 wins, two no-hitters, 332 innings pitched, 26 complete games and 383 strikeouts.
Hey, no-hit stuff happens.
2. Cabrera should win because Detroit made the playoffs. That’s a joke. Detroit actually has a worse record than Trout’s team and would be in fourth place in the AL West.
Cabrera should win because of the way the leagues were aligned? The Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West two years ago at 7-9.
Also consider the Angels were 6-14 while Trout was in AAA and are 83-57 since he joined the team. Down at headquarters, that seems to identify Trout in the MVP suspect lineup.
Cabrera is having a fabulous season compared with Trout’s historic one. If they gave an award every year for the player who had at least 30 home runs, 45 stolen bases and 125 runs, Trout would be the first to win it.
Because no player in history has done it before. And Trout has accomplished it in fewer than 140 games. To me, “never done before” should trump “last done in 1967.”
And that’s not even considering Trout’s value out of the batter’s box. He made an over-the-head catch in deep center against Texas on Sunday that was every bit the equal of Willie Mays’ famous grab in the 1954 World Series.
Yet, Trout has done it so often it barely registered a “ho-hum” on the “wow” meter.
I thought I went out on a limb a bit in late May when I started typing a column posing that Trout was the greatest Angels prospect I had ever seen.
Some readers scoffed at the Mickey Mantle comparisons. Well, time has proved that not even The Mick was this good this early.
Cabrera or Trout? It’s too bad they could not have separated these seasons. Each would be an MVP lock almost any other year.
Unfortunately, somebody is going to lose. It’s only the end of the season, though, not the world.
Ted Williams won the Triple Crown twice but didn’t win the MVP either time.
So vote for Cabrera all day if you want. Just find better reasons.