The Struggle to Define 'Valuable': Tradition vs. Sabermetrics in the 2012 AL MVP Race

By Peter B. Gregg, PhD

This article was published in the Fall 2017 Baseball Research Journal.

Voters in the 2012 American League MVP race who valued the historical rarity of the Triple Crown tipped the scales overwhelmingly in Miguel Cabrera’s favor. Meanwhile, Mike Trout’s performance was emblematic for sabermetricians struggling for acceptance of sophisticated player valuation methods. The heart of this tension revolves around the power to define “valuable” as an institutional norm among baseball journalists.   "When you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind." — Lord Kelvin "One absolutely cannot tell, by watching, the difference between a . . .

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