Awards: MOY & AL MVP
Chicks dig the long ball
Traditionalists love RBI’s and there are those that believe that Batting Average is king. These are the statistics make up what we know as the lauded triple crown. I’m sorry, but I just can’t get excited about a set of dated, arbitrary numbers. While RBI’s are necessary for a team to put up wins, the key word here is “team”. Driving runs in, while rather important, is dependent on having runners on the bases. Should we knock a player for not having as many opportunities as another? I’m much more interested in a players overall production, and if you want to talk how many runners a player brings across home plate, let’s a least look at it in a runs per opportunity standpoint. Rate stats take counting stats out of the vacuum, and to me are much more valuable. As for batting average, well, I have a hard time putting too much emphasis on a stat that treats a triple the same as a single and ignores the free pass altogether. Granted, a hit isn’t always as good as a walk, but it shouldn’t be discounted altogether. Look, I realize we haven’t seen a triple crown winner since forever and a day, but the aura and mystique of the TC just doesn’t do it for me.
On to the award…. It’s a safe bet that after hitting his way into the history books, Miguel Cabrera is going to take home the MVP. Even though we’ve seen recently that writers are finally emerging from the dark ages by awarding the CY Young award to the best pitcher, and not the one with the big Win totals, I have little faith that they will be able to overcome the excitement of an accomplishment that is based on archaic achievements. As far as offense is concerned, that shiny triple crown should mean that Miggy was the best offensive producer in the league right? Nope. Enter Mike Trout and some numbers that mean a little more as they take into account a lot more than just how many hits per AB’s or how many times you drove a runner in. Trout, in his first full season as a major leaguer, went ahead and led the league in OPS+ (170), wOBA (.421), wRC+ (174) as well as batting runs contributed (57.2) not to mention adding 6.8 runs in value on the basepaths which in part can be attributed to stealing 48 bags in 48 attempts. His 4 CS matched Miggy’s actual stolen base total, to give some comparison.
I know some of these new-fangled numbers get certain people in a tizzy, but it’s time to get over it. We’re not in the 50′s anymore; hell, even Branch Rickey was ahead of his time and would be smiling right now while we debate the 2012 MVP. It’s time we started to take a closer look at how players produce runs, and how they contribute to their team, not to mention the realization that not every park or division allows an equal opportunity. This is where adjusted statistics come in handy. If you’re facing better overall pitching or playing in a ballpark that supresses runs, you should get credit for it. Plain and simple.
Now on to the other side of the ball, one that some seem to have forgotten about. For any of you that have seen Trout shagging balls in the outfield you know that he’s pretty good. OK, he’s awesome. There’s really no other way to describe it. By UZR he’s 22.5 runs better than Miggy. If that’s not your bag, and I really can’t blame you as even the creators of said statistic caution that the number of plays made in a single year can be skewed by statistical noise, then go with DRS, which has Trout at 29 runs better than his counterpart, good for 3 wins on the year. The rebuttal comes in the form of number of errors and fielding percentage, but please, you can’t commit an error on a ball you couldn’t get to. More archaic stats that should be on their way to the tarpits with the rest of the dinosaurs. In a nutshell, on the defensive side Cabrera couldn’t hold Trouts jock if he drove a dumptruck.
During the melee of debates i’ve been approached with several arguments outside of the numbers so i’d like to address those as well. First we had Jim Leyland talking about how Miggy has done this year after year and how Trout has the flavor of the year vibe going that should be taken with a grain of salt. Hold on there Jimmy; if you want to talk lifetime achievment awards save the speech for five years after he retired. If you want to make up for getting snubbed in the past save the pity party. I’ve been watching two first ballot HOF’ers for years that could have/should have seen an MVP or a CY Young award; that doesn’t mean I think they should get it for coming close years later. I’ve also heard the “he switched positions debate”, which is nice and all but it’s not like he’s never played the hot corner or that he was giving up first base for some schlub. Players do this all the time; it’s not like he saved a child from a burning building or donated a kidney to his dying cousin. Last of all is the playoff argument. This one is the most ludicrous of all. The Tigers won less games than six other teams and still clinched a spot in arguably the weakest division in the American League. Take Detroit and put them in the West, and put LA in the Central and dollars to doughnuts says that LA is in the PS this year while Miggy and company is gearing up for golf. Even better, put Miguel on the Halos and Mike over in Detroit; money says that LA still misses the playoffs while the Tigers not only clinch the Central, but do it a week sooner.
At the end of the day, Mike Trout had an amazing season and deserves to be recognized as the leagues, if not the games most valuable player. He’s put up amazing production backed by elite defense at a premium position. There is no doubt that Miggy is a great hitter. If you want to recognize him for it fine, give him the Hank Aaron Award, throw him a parade, erect a bloated statue in the middle of Motor City for all I care, but he has no business being named the MVP. That belongs to the guy that does it all; he hits, he steals, he robs home runs and breaks hearts. He’s Mike Trout, the deserving candidate for the AL’s Most Valuable Player.
Give Joe a little credit
I wanted to take a hot minute and give some props to Joe G. I have, especially the last couple of weeks been critical of him at times this year. OK, it started in game one when he tried to get cute with the Rays and it bit him in the face. He’s made some head scratchers this year for sure, but I realize that no matter who is in that dugout there will be times when the :facepalm: comes about. In the big picture though I have to hand it to him. The Yankees saw a bunch of injuries and times where the players just weren’t cutting it.
A managers job is to put his team in the best position to win, and after that it’s on the players to take over and do their jobs. They haven’t always done that this year. Sure, we can look back at some games and blame Girardi; he looks like a genius when things work out and an idiot when they don’t. After losing a HOF closer and an all world defensive LF’er for the year, two of the top starters from the rotation for weeks, a setup man, first and third baseman, epic collapse of his MRP and some other bumps and bruises Joe held it together pretty well.
Now i’m not saying he should or will get top honors in the MOY award, but he certainly dserves to be in the fray. Buck and Miley have done an excellent job with their rescpective clubs, but so has Joe. He has the payroll advantage no doubt, but he’s also achieved first place in a tough division amongst a ton of injuries all the while being under the microscope the entire time. Well done on the part of the skipper… no just don’t muck it all up in October