From Matthew Trueblood at Baseball Prospectus on December 4, 2018:
It was about as clear as these things get, and the writers got it wrong. In fact, they got it wrong twice. That was the consensus, in our sabermetric corner of the internet, when Miguel Cabrera stole consecutive MVP awards from Mike Trout in 2012 and 2013.
Cabrera was a lumbering first baseman, shoved across the diamond only because the Tigers decided to force-fit Prince Fielder onto their plodding roster. He was a great hitter, but he added no value beyond that hitting. Trout, at the tender ages of 20 and 21, lit up the field in ways Cabrera couldn’t. He robbed home runs in center field, stole bases both often and efficiently, was one of the most consistent hitters in baseball, and according to the best information we had at the time, he was also Cabrera’s equal (or very nearly so, or perhaps even his superior) at the plate.
Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs each had Trout about 3.0 WAR better than Cabrera in 2012, and about 1.5 WAR better than him in 2013. We had the gap slightly smaller in 2012, but slightly larger in 2013. When such a clear gap between the best player and the field exists, it’s rare that the award goes to the “wrong” one. In this case, though, more or less everyone with a stat-savvy bone in their body espoused the belief that it had happened.
We were, all of us, deceived.
Read the full article here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/45451/trout-vs-cabrera-and-aging-with-drc/
- Related link: The Struggle to Define ‘Valuable’: Tradition vs. Sabermetrics in the 2012 AL MVP Race, by Peter Gregg (Baseball Research Journal)
Originally published: December 6, 2018. Last Updated: December 6, 2018.