We’re Doing The Trout vs. Cabrera MVP Thing Again?
Last season Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout exemplified the old school vs. new school with their MVP battle. The Cabrera supporters pointed to his winning of the triple crown. Trout’s supporters pointed to his wins above replacement (WAR), great defense, speed and overall game. Even the idea of “value” was inserted into the argument in support of Trout’s candidacy – almost as a conciliatory, condescending measure – by saying that the Angels turned their season around from 6-14 without Trout to 81-58 with him in the lineup.
Here is the criteria for voting on the MVP from the BBWA website:
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.
2. Number of games played.
3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
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.
In other words, vote for who you think is the MVP based on what you believe to be important. Because of that intentional phraseology, the discretion of the voter is paramount. The likes of Keith Law are entitled to their opinion as to why Trout should be the MVP over Cabrera, but it doesn’t have to be an indictment on another person’s intelligence if they disagree and present a logical case for their side.
Last season, there was more of a justification for Trout to be the MVP than Cabrera because of aforementioned factors. Now? Trout’s defense in center field is worse than it was. It’s unknown whether that’s due to the Angels early-season decision to move him to left in favor of Peter Bourjos or because of Trout’s weight gain. The extra size hasn’t harmed him on the basepaths which lends credence to the idea that measuring defense is still in its nascent stages and needs to be looked upon with some hesitancy before crediting or debiting because of it. Cabrera’s defense at third base is what it is and isn’t going to get any better. He’ll field what he can get to and his issues are in large part because of his lack of range.