Hello. I hope you are all well. It’s been a month and a half since I signed off here at DesigNate Robertson to deal with my recent family health problems. And I have to tell you, I was blown away by the reaction and positive wishes I received from so many of you. It meant more than you know and I cannot thank you enough.
I have good news. We’re not out of the woods yet, but things are improving. Life is settling down again and for now, things are looking up. I hope to and plan on returning to writing about the Tigers by Spring Training of 2013. It won’t be here, though. I want to start fresh with a new site. I’m proud of a lot of things I’ve done here at DNR, but there’s a lot of it that I’m not so happy with at the same time. Plus I think the Nate Robertson reference is dated and needs to go. He's been through enough. Therefore, I’m going to come up with something new and start with a clean slate. I’ll let you know when the time comes where to find me. Stay tuned.
But that’s not why I’m writing this “Encore” piece today. No, this is about a man named Miguel Cabrera. A man that I feel should be voted the MVP of the American League in 2012. And it’s about a particular writer that I am not a fan of and his piece at Yahoo demeaning those that feel Cabrera should be voted the MVP over Mike Trout. His name is Jeff Passan and he’s the worst.
Before we begin, I’d like to preface with a couple points. For starters, I understand those who feel Trout should be the MVP and I respect their opinion, even if I don’t agree with it. I also feel that Mike Trout is perhaps the most complete player in professional baseball and that if I were going to start a franchise, he would be my top pick to build around. The kid can do it all, it seems. He is amazing and the best overall baseball player I’ve seen since a young, healthy Ken Griffey Jr. made his MLB debut.
But none of that makes him the MVP for 2012. Passan disagrees and begins his article like many of his tend to do. He talks down to those that disagree with him and implies that they are stupid. He claims that Trout is the victim of a smear campaign by those that feel Cabrera should win the MVP due solely to the possibility of him winning the Triple Crown. He also claims that the Cabrera supporters are making this about WAR and that they are scared of sabermetrics.
Look, Jeff. We are not all ancient fossils like Jerry Green. Reading his latest ignorant nonsense at the News makes me shake my head and want to actually be on your side of this MVP debate. But I’m not. And we’ll now get to that in the middle of your Yahoo piece, if you don’t mind.
"There's no way the Tigers would be where they are without Cabrera, you know?"
It's true. And it's even more true for Trout.
Okay, prove it.
He was in the minor leagues most of April because the Angels were determined to suck for the season's first three weeks.
Darn. Thought you were going to go with facts, here.
And the Angels were dreadful. Their record when he was down: 6-14. Their record since he arrived: 82-57.
There you go, buddy. Facts. But can you attribute all of that to Trout?
After the first 20 games this year, Albert Pujols was hitting .225 with 0 home runs. Since then, he’s hit .298 with 30 homers. And he’s not the only Angel to improve. Other than Trout, the Halos have eight (8) (holy thunder!) other players to play in at least 77 games with an OPS+ above 100. Trout is one of five (5) (yikes!) with an OPS+ over 120, Pujols, Hunter, Morales, and Trumbo being the others. Add in Jered Weaver’s Cy Young caliber season, Ernesto Frieri and a wide assortment of top of the line bullpen guys, and solid work by Dan Haren, CJ Wilson, and mid-season acquisition Zach Greinke in the rotation…well, how could the Angels not be playing well?
With Cabrera all season, the Tigers have 86 wins. Truth is, Trout packed more into his five months than Cabrera has into six.
Ahh, yes. Cabrera. What about him?
Other than Big Mig, the Tigers sport three players with an OPS+ over 100. Those would be Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson, and Andy Dirks. Those three, along with Cabrera, have an OPS+ over 120 as well, though Dirks has only had about half the at bats the other guys have had. But other than them, Cabrera has had a collection of stiffs in the daily lineup with him compared to the offensive stars the Angels sport. As for pitching, true the Tigers feature a great starting staff (and Rick Porcello). However, Jose Valverde and the rest of the Detroit bullpen pale in comparison to that of LAA of A.
How about this? Here are the team totals this season for the Tigers and Angels.
Angels: .274 Avg, 187 HR, 723 RBI, 116 OPS+ (highest in AL)
Tigers: .268 Avg, 161 HR, 690 RBI, 105 OPS+
Angels: 88-71, 3.97 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Tigers: 86-73, 3.79 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Let’s call the pitching staffs a wash. But the Angels are a better hitting team. As for Trout and Cabrera’s contributions to it all, let’s sum it up like this.
Trout has scored 127 runs and knocked in 80. Take away his 30 homers (so his runs and RBI aren’t counted twice) and you get 177 runs Trout can definitely be said to be responsible for this year. Throw out the 74 runs the Angels scored before his call up and they have 684 runs since he joined the team. Trout’s 177 are 25.9% of that number. Impressive.
Cabrera has scored 108 runs and has 136 RBI. Take out his league leading 43 homers and that’s 201 runs Mig can definitely be said to be responsible for. The Tigers have scored 717 runs. Cabrera’s 201 are 28% of the team’s runs.
Are these numbers a perfect way to determine an MVP? No. But I wanted to show that Cabrera has been a bigger part of his team’s run scoring than Trout has, no matter how many bases Mike has stolen or extra bases he has taken going first to third.
I’m sorry, Jeff. I forgot you were there. Back to your article.
"And what do you have to say to the people who talk about the Tigers making the playoffs?"
It's a great achievement. Congratulations. Oh, and the Angels are two games better than the Tigers in a far tougher division. Their run differential is +28 over Detroit's.
Yes. They have a better offensive team than Detroit, only making what Cabrera is doing look that much more impressive. Thank you for supporting my argument.
Detroit gets to play 18 games against Kansas City, Minnesota and Cleveland. The Angels had Texas and Oakland for 19, plus more against Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
Oh, don’t boo hoo about the schedule. The Tigers had to play Chicago 18 times and played the Yankees more than LA. And unlike the Angels, Detroit has a winning record against the A’s this year and went 8-5 against Baltimore and Tampa.
As for the also-rans of the Central, LA only went 15-12 against KC, the Twins, and the Tribe. It’s not like they found them to be pushovers.
"But Miguel Cabrera switched positions! How selfless is that?"
You know who else switched positions? Mike Trout. For 28 games this season, he started in left field – and he played there even more when the Angels chose to use Peter Bourjos in center.
Holy hell! He switched from center to left? How impressive! That’s like switching his normal diet of peanut butter and jelly to peanut butter and jam. This argument is ridiculous. And while Trout has been amazing in center, he is helped out by having former Gold Glovers to his left and right out there.
Meanwhile, Cabrera switched from the easiest infield position of first base to the famed “hot corner” at third. And while no one will confuse him with Brooks Robinson over there, he has gone on to post the best Defensive WAR of his 10 year career. And next to him in the infield is the immovable object known as Jhonny Peralta, making his job more difficult.
We know runs batted in are teammate- and lineup-dependent statistics – that Mike Trout, batting leadoff, is far less likely to get RBI opportunities than Miguel Cabrera, hitting third. And that's true: Cabrera leads the AL in at-bats with runners in scoring position, with 173. Trout has 106. And their numbers are awfully close, with Cabrera's OPS at .997 and Trout's at .939.
That’s almost 60 points higher. Close would be in the “10 point” range. And I’m sorry Trout hits leadoff. That has nothing to do with the MVP voting. This may be a good time to refesh everyone on what exactly the voters are told to consider when voting for an MVP. From BBWAA.com:
There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the Most Valuable Player in each league to his team. The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.
The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:
1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
I think I’ve shown that Cabrera has meant more to his team’s offense than Trout. Defensively, obviously Trout is the better man, but how much has he really meant to them with Wells, Hunter, and Bourjos covering so much ground out there? Not as much as if he were surrounded by Brennan Boesch and Quintin Berry, in my opinion. (Austin Jackson for MVP!)
2. Number of games played.
158-136 in Cabrera’s advantage. Sorry that Mike was in the minors for a month.
3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
Cabrera is the Tigers’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award which is given annually to the Major League Baseball player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team".
The Angels’ nominee is CJ Wilson.
4. Former winners are eligible.
5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.
You are also urged to give serious consideration to all your selections, from 1 to 10. A 10th-place vote can influence the outcome of an election. You must fill in all 10 places on your ballot. Only regular-season performances are to be taken into consideration.
Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.
Thank you, awards criteria. Once again, I feel the advantage goes to Cabrera.
Mike Trout leads Miguel Cabrera in runs, triples, stolen bases, WAR, and slightly in OBP and OPS+.
Cabrera leads Trout in hits, doubles, homers, RBI, slugging, OPS, total bases and slightly in batting average.
How about the “clutch” situations? With runners in scoring position, Cabrera is hitting .353 to Trout’s .318. With two outs and RISP, Cabrera’s number jumps to an astounding .420 to Trout’s .286. In Late & Close situations, Cabrera is hitting .337 to Trout’s .277.
What I’m trying to say is Miguel Cabrera has been more valuable than Mike Trout has this year in regards to their respective teams. Without Cabrera, the Tigers have Ramon Santiago playing third and are lucky to be fighting Cleveland and Kansas City for third place. Without Trout, the Angels have Peter Bourjos in center and are in the same place they are today…third place ahead of Seattle.
I understand that many advanced sabermetric numbers have Trout higher than Cabrera, mostly due to his speed and defense. And I get that many might accuse me of being a “homer” in my selection of Cabrera over Trout since I happen to be a Tigers fan. But no, I have no agenda here. I think Mike Trout is amazing. I just think Cabrera is the MVP in 2012 when considering all factors.
Speaking of agendas, we once again return to Mr. Passan. In February of 2011, after Cabrera’s arrest in Florida for drinking and driving, Jeff Passan wrote a scathing attack on Cabrera that made unfair assumptions to the man’s character and to the operations of the Detroit Tigers based off the incident. It was one of the biggest piles of shit I’ve had the displeasure of reading in my lifetime. I find it hard to believe that Passan isn’t holding on to some of those thoughts when he looks at Miguel Cabrera in October of 2012.
So yeah, I don’t care for Jeff Passan or his condescending opinions on who the MVP should be. As for the rest of you, your opinions are as valid as mine. But none of that matters. It’s up to the voters now.
Again, I thank you all for reading and caring about my family’s recent troubles. I look forward to returning to this in a few months. Until then, enjoy the playoffs and what should be an interesting offseason. Anything can happen, you know.
And if something good does happen for the Tigers in the playoffs, I guarantee that Miguel Cabrera will have something to do with it. MVP’s have a knack for stuff like that.