There is some serious conversation these days concerning the American League MVP award.
For some, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is the runaway favorite after an incredible rookie campaign. On the other hand, many people believe that Miguel Cabrera, given his incredible chance at a Triple Crown, should win the award without question.
No matter what happens with the Detroit Tigers and their playoff hopes, Miguel Cabrera should most certainly be the winner of the prestigious MVP award.
First of all, the award should go to the player who is most valuable to his team, and while Mike Trout is an asset to the Angels, Miguel Cabrera is much more important to the success of the Tigers.
Many people will cite defense in the argument that Mike Trout is the more valuable player to his team. He has a dWAR rating of 2.6, which means he provides the Angels with 2.6 more wins than an average outfielder.
At the same time, Miguel Cabrera has a -0.3 dWAR, which basically says that he has actually cost the Tigers 0.3 wins this year while playing the hot corner.
In my opinion, Cabrera should be given some credit due to the fact that he took the third base position when Prince Fielder was signed, and he has done an admirable job playing the hardest position in baseball.
Should Cabrera win the American League MVP?
While these defensive numbers do not play into the favor of Cabrera, what he brings to the Tigers at the plate more than makes up for what he lacks at third base—though he is playing the position much better than many thought he would.
Even though their oWAR numbers are incredibly similar, as Trout has a oWAR rating of 7.9 while Cabrera has a 7.3 rating, this is not enough to simply say that Mike Trout deserves the award. Not to mention that most people in and around the league would say that Cabrera has brought a lot more than 7.3 wins to Detroit this season.
There is no doubt that Sabermetrics certainly has its place in the game today, but to say that Trout should win the MVP award because he edges Cabrera in a few distinct categories is lunacy.
In fact, Tony Paul of the Detroit News also makes the argument that throwing out stats that have been important for over 100 years like RBI and batting average is not a way to determine the league MVP. When determining the award winner, it is important to look at what each player provides for his team when it matters most.
With the Angels sitting two-and-a-half games back in the Wild Card standings and the Tigers trailing by only one game in the AL Central, each player will be counted upon heavily to help their respective teams advance.
If the Angels hope to make the playoffs, Mike Trout will need to show up for Los Angeles, and right now he is not getting it done.
During the month of September, Trout is hitting .267 with 22 total strikeouts. On top of that, over the past seven days Trout is hitting an abysmal .158 with seven strikeouts in 19 at-bats.
In Detroit, however, Miguel Cabrera is having a season to remember. Cabrera is currently hitting .357 with nine home runs and 17 strikeouts during the month of September. Over the last seven days, Cabrera is certainly hitting his stride, as he is hitting .435 with five home runs and only three strikeouts in 23 at-bats.
Finally, Cabrera is on pace to do something that no one has done since 1967: win the Triple Crown. The mere fact that he is leading the American League in RBI and batting average while being tied for the league lead in home runs should certainly be enough to win him the MVP award.
To put it simply, nobody has been more important to their team than Miguel Cabrera has been to the Detroit Tigers this season.
Therefore, whether Detroit is able to make it to the postseason or not is irrelevant. After such an incredible season, including a large late-season surge, Miguel Cabrera should win the Most Valuable Player award, hands down.