Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers deserves to win the 2012 American League MVP over Mike Trout of the L.A. Angels. While Trout has had an exceptional rookie season, Cabrera’s numbers this year are out of this world.
Prior to Wednesday night’s game, Cabrera is hitting .329 with 195 hits, 42 home runs, 133 RBIs and 106 runs scored. He is at least in the top two in the American League in each one of those categories and has a great chance to become the first player to win the Triple Crown (lead the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs) since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. For him to pass Josh Hamilton in homers, win the Triple Crown and still not win the MVP would look a little silly, wouldn’t it?
The thing baseball writers will look for on top of everything is who helped their team when they needed him the most. Both the Angels and the Tigers were right in the middle of a pennant race at the beginning of August, and both teams have a great chance to fight for a playoff spot. Cabrera has hit .349 with 17 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .420 on-base percentage over the final two months of the season.
Trout, however, has faded greatly when the Angels needed him most, hitting only .270 with 10 home runs, 27 RBI and a .368 on-base percentage over the final two months. Hitting leadoff shrinks Trout’s power numbers, but that is no excuse for bad at-bats during a pennant race. However, Trout has received chances to help the team in clutch situations by driving in runs.
In 47 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs, Trout has hit .298 with 16 RBIs. In 48 at-bats in the same situation, Cabrera is hitting .438 with 29 RBIs. You can be the judge, but if that isn’t coming through for your team in the clutch, I don’t know what is.
Many people will cite defense and a few categories of Sabermetrics as to why Trout deserves the AL MVP. Trout has been a sensational defensive outfielder, and he will win Rookie of the Year and perhaps multiple MVP awards in his career. To say Cabrera has had a better defensive season would just be wrong.
Cabrera should be given credit for moving from first base to third base-a much harder position to defend-at the beginning of this season in order to help the team sign slugger Prince Fielder. He hasn’t played the hot corner at a Gold Glove level, but he is a solid defensive player. There is something to be said about offering versatility and many people forget that the most valuable player to their team wins, not always the all-around best.