MLB MVP 2012: Breaking Down Underdogs' Chances in AL and NL Races

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 7, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 02:  Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a bouncer up the third base line for a single in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on October 2, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

With any MVP race, each contender for the award boasts a very strong résumé, despite the possibility of a shoo-in favorite.

In each of the American and National Leagues, it seems like an odds-on favorite has presented itself. San Francisco Giants slugger Buster Posey has been widely talked about as an easy favorite to take home the NL award after his insane comeback year, which concluded with a World Series title.

However, in the AL, things seem to be equally figured out as we saw a Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. 

But there are a number of players that can't be discounted, so let's run through the most notable ones and outline their chances of victory.


AL: Mike Trout - Los Angeles Angels - Chances: 25 Percent 

If you take Angels center fielder Mike Trout's 2012 rookie campaign and place it in any of the last 10 MLB seasons, he'd walk away with the MVP in many, if not all, of those years.

Unfortunately for Trout, he's going up against a Triple Crown winner in Cabrera, who torched his competition on the stat sheet by notching a feat that hasn't been done in decades (since 1967, to be exact).

But Trout's unique defensive ability and plethora of highlight-reel plays still make him an outside possibility of landing the prestigious award. The fact that he's in contention against a Triple Crown winner as a rookie speaks volumes in itself, whether or not he wins the award.

Trout can do it all—field, hit, steal and produce runs—but Cabrera's statistical feat still makes him the overwhelming favorite.


NL: Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers - Chances: 15 Percent

Even though the nightmare that was Ryan Braun's supposedly contaminated drug test sample may have motivated some voters to think twice, the Brewers slugger put up numbers similar to his 2011 NL MVP season.

Braun led the National League in runs with 108, home runs with 41, OPS with .987 and total bases with 356.

In fact, Braun beat out Posey in every statistical category other than batting average and on-base percentage. 

But unfortunately for Braun, a second-half surge from Posey will end up faring better than the numbers put up by the 2011 winner, especially with the doubt creeping into voters' minds with the offseason scandal. 

Not many people expected Braun to even be playing much in 2012 with the roller coaster offseason he had, so it's admirable that he was able to ignore the distractions enough to put up these amazing numbers. 

Braun will likely be on the outside looking in once the vote is released, but there's no doubt that he's the most consistent player in the National League. 


NL: Andrew McCutchen - Pittsburgh Pirates - Chances: 5 Percent

Andrew McCutchen was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. 

Despite the average baseball fan not even hearing of his name heading into the 2012 season, McCutchen tore up the National League and was on top of the MVP talk for much of the first half of the season. It took an incredible second half from Posey to take him off his perch.

The Pirate finished with 194 hits and a .400 OBP along with a .953 OPS. Going along with 31 homers and driving in 96 runs, that makes for a hell of a stat sheet.

McCutchen can field, as well. The center fielder finished the season with just one error and won the NL Gold Glove. 

Despite little to no chance of winning the 2012 NL MVP, expect McCutchen to be among the favorites for the award heading into 2013.