We were done! And I was confident in my siding with Cabrera, with the caveat of Trout being the best player in the game, and you know what, I’m still right there.
Even in light of these pieces…
From Josh Levin at Slate, Miguel Cabrera didn’t win the MVP because every baseball writer thinks like Mitch Albom. He won because almost every baseball writer who’s allowed to vote for the MVP thinks like Mitch Albom.
Jon Paul Morosi would’ve chosen Cabrera if he had a vote, but he’s also correct with this, Thursday’s announcement on MLB Network had the feel of another night earlier this month, when many Americans sat before television sets waiting for another set of election returns equally certain that their view was correct and the other completely illogical.
Lastly, the deity of baseball writing to whom I bow, Joe Posnanski in the wake of the announcement of Cabrera, Or — and I’m just spitballing here — part of it could be that the Tigers played Cleveland (last in league in ERA), Minnesota (second-last in league in ERA) and Kansas City (11th in league in ERA) 28 times in the last two months. I suppose that is at least possible. Meanwhile Trout played Oakland (2nd in ERA) and Seattle (third in ERA) 21 times, just those two teams.
Ugh. That totally hollow out my convenient reasoning of Cabrera being better when the games mattered most argument. His competition was weaker. But, hitting .330 or .40 something against anyone in MLB, for a prolonged period of time is quite an achievement.
Cabrera is deserving. He’s slightly more valuable to his team and league than Trout is to his. But, do I want me some Trout. Yep.
A final link to share. This is from the ‘geeky’ site Fangraphs where I gather a lot of unique insight on the game, and an endless mountain of simple and advanced stats. One of their finest contributors, Dave Cameron, wanted to give Austin Jackson, a player who had an array of MVP contributions, yet nary an MVP vote, some acknowledgement. In other words, that top 15 hitter was also a top 25 defender. He isn’t a great baserunner, so he’s not a true “all around” star like some other unnamed AL center fielder was this year, but he was a good hitter who played good defense at a premium position. And, of course, if you like intangibles, his team made the playoffs, and they probably wouldn’t have without him.
It’s hard to conceive Jackson didn’t get a single vote, especially when the News’ John Lowe strangely provided a vote to Raul Ibanez (!). However, let’s also remember that similar to All Star game starting lineups, awards voting requires some popularity, and a convenient narrative is helful as well. When you’re possiibly not in the top five of most popular or recognizable faces on your team NATIONALLY speaking, then I shouldn’t be so surprised Jackson received zero MVP votes. That will change in the future. I promise you that.
And FWIW ESPN’s has Austin Jackson’s WAR at 8th in the American League.