I have never heard so much talk about defense and WAR (Wins above replacement) in an MVP debate in my life. Sure Justin Verlander won MVP last year, but that was on a completely different level as a defensive player. It’s always been in the past the three offensive categories that are always been focused on (Batting Average, Home runs and RBI), whether they are lineup dependent or not, and hitting in the clutch (see: Ryan Braun over Matt Kemp in 2011).
Since August 1, Mike Trout is hitting .272, Miguel: .334. From the 7th inning on, Miguel’s average is near .340 and his power production is higher. The fact that Miguel’s OBP this season is the lowest of the last three is irrelevant. Bringing in Prince Fielder forced teams to pitch to Miguel, thus bringing down his walk total, and giving him a chance to swing (re: 44HR, 139RBI) and put up the numbers he was capable of but never had with a depleted Tigers lineup in years past. With his play down the stretch, his position change at the beginning of the season, his overly criticized par-level defense and the fact that he will win the triple crown – not for notoriety, but for the fact that he has been, simple put, the best hitter in the league all season.
Not to mention the most important non statistical factor of them all. The Angels are not going to the playoffs while the Tigers are. The Angels at the start of the season were the favored team to win it all, and they spent tons of money on getting talent to get to the playoffs, so to say they didn’t have a chance to make it in the first place isn’t a valid argument. Yes, the Tigers were an early season favorite to win their division and make the playoffs as well, but no other player in the American or National league has carried his team more throughout the season and has been responsible for snatching up wins with walkoff RBIs and late inning home runs than Cabrerra. The fact that the there is still any debate for the AL MVP and everyone’s continuing infatuated with the Trout rookie love story blows my mind.