Miguel Cabrera, the Triple Crown and the MVP issue

From SABR member David B. Wilkerson at MarketWatch on October 3, 2012, with mention of SABR members Jacob Pomrenke and Bill Madden:

As Major League Baseball’s 2012 season winds down, plenty of observers are looking forward to something that won’t be announced until after the World Series has ended — the American League Most Valuable Player award.

The favorite is surely third baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, who Wednesday night won the league’s coveted Triple Crown — highest batting average, most home runs and most runs batted in. However, some feel that rookie center fielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is more deserving of the honor, based on his all-around superiority on offense, as well as his defensive skills.

The arguments on both sides have taken on a rather bitter tone, as traditionalists argue for Cabrera, while those who place more importance on stat formulas created in the last 20 years or so advocate Trout.


The last AL Triple Crown winner was Carl Yasztremski of the Boston Red Sox, who in 1967 hit .326 with 44 home runs and 121 runs batted in, as the Red Sox won their first pennant in 21 years. He tied with Minnesota’s Harmon Killebrew in the home-run category.

Cabrera’s Tigers clinched the AL Central Division crown earlier this week. Going into Wednesday night’s final game of the regular season, he was hitting .331 with 44 home runs and 139 runs batted in. His closest challenger in any category was Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton, who finished the season Wednesday with 43 homers.

Trout is hitting .324 with 30 home runs and 83 RBI.

“Regardless of the statistics used, if you’re leading in any three major categories, you are having an outstanding season,” said Jacob Pomrenke, web editor for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). “Miguel Cabrera is clearly either the best or one of the top two players in the American League this year. I don’t think anyone can argue that at all. But you really can’t go wrong with either Cabrera or Trout.”

Read the full article here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/miguel-cabrera-the-triple-crown-and-the-mvp-issue-2012-10-03

Originally published: October 4, 2012. Last Updated: October 4, 2012.