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Winner: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
I don't want to belittle Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown season. In fact, if it's any consolation to you Tigers fans out there, I wrote a piece on Thursday about how Miggy's Triple Crown season is the most important individual accomplishment in baseball since 1968.
But that doesn't mean he's the MVP. Mike Trout was the Most Valuable Player in the American League this season no matter how you interpret the word "valuable."
I'll start with the WAR argument, which is the most straightforward interpretation of the word "valuable." Baseball-Reference.com calculated Trout's WAR to be a league-high 10.7, and FanGraphs calculated his WAR to be a league-high 10.4.
Now, WAR is not the beginning and the end of any MVP discussion. There should definitely be more to it than that.
But this is a special case we're talking about. Trout led the league in WAR by a mile, which is something that's very hard to do. And even despite his Triple Crown season, Cabrera could only manage a WAR in the 7.0 neighborhood, regardless of which site you choose to consult.
Per Baseball-Reference.com, the last time we saw a player post a WAR higher than 10.0 was Barry Bonds in 2004. If you remove all players with PED connections from the equation, the last time we saw a player post a WAR over 10.0 in a single season was Cal Ripken Jr. in 1991.
If you want to make this about the teams and point out that Cabrera's Tigers went to the playoffs and Trout's didn't, go right ahead. But I'll point out that the Angels finished with a better record than the Tigers while playing in a significantly better division, and they wouldn't have been able to do that without Trout.
When Trout played, the Angels posted a winning percentage of .580. When Cabrera played, the Tigers posted a winning percentage of .540.
Bear in mind that the Angels went 6-14 without Trout to start the season, and they still ended up with a better record than the Tigers.
Cabrera had a historic season, but Trout had a better season.
Like, by far.