The great MVP debate rages on. And on a night where Miguel Cabrera homered, went 4-for-5, took the lead in all Triple Crown categories and saw his team win the Division, it would appear to be game, set and match for the Detroit Tigers slugger.
Meanwhile, Mike Trout's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim saw their slim playoff hopes fade to nothing. The victory by the surging Oakland Athletics eliminated the Angels from any chance at the Wild Card.
Trout would have to be content with the Rookie of the Year and many more shots at an MVP.
Not so fast.
The debate seems to be between traditional stats and sabermetrics. And what better way to wage war (or W.A.R.) than to have the sabermetric leader take on a triple crown winner?
But Trout's value goes beyond strange new statistics that fall in and out of fashion (remember VORP? Me neither.)
The Angels were 7-14 before his arrival. They were 82-57 after his arrival, best in the AL and second-best in baseball.
When he surged, the Angels did as well. And this past week when the Angels were hanging on for dear life, Trout responded with a .333 average and a 1.258 OPS.
Last night, October 1, with the season on the line and facing Cy Young contender Felix Hernandez, Trout showed his value. He went 4-for-5 with a double and a triple, two runs scored and three driven in. He was directly involved in five of their eight runs.
For fans of new stats, Trout has the highest WAR and OPS+ in the game.
For more traditional fans, he has scored more runs and stolen more bases than anyone in the league. He is a 30-40 man and is just four points behind the batting leader.
And he left his heart and guts on the field.
There are valid arguments for both Trout and Cabrera to win the MVP. It would be wonderful to have a tie.
But not all of the reasons to vote for Trout have to do with crunching numbers in unique ways. A lot has to do with his value to this team.
And last time I checked, it was called "The Most Valuable Player."