Baseball is a numbers-driven sport. It is the only game where science and on-field performance combine to bring about debate among fans all across the country.
Last year's American League MVP debate was one of the loudest in history, between people who see all facets of the game supporting Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and those who think all that matters are three offensive categories voting for Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Whether you were on Team Trout or Team Cabrera, you had an opinion and fought ferociously to defend that stance. This kind of passionate analysis is what separates baseball from every other sport.
As we near the end of the first full week of games for the 2013 season, it is time to start looking ahead and projecting the leaders in the 10 major statistical categories that are discussed—rightly or wrongly—when MVP awards get handed out.
Some of these will be relevant to an MVP conversation (innings pitched, strikeouts, home runs), and others will tell you nothing about how well a player performed (wins, saves). But the debate about what constitutes value will always rage on.
Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.