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Article: Cabrera vs. Trout: The MVP Debate for the Ages

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 07:53 AM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...te-for-the-Ages

#2 TK10

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:34 AM

"Cabrera has a shot to win the first Triple Crown in a long time and this might be hard for some of the older voters to ignore."

Because only the young and hip will vote for Trout thanks to the All Powerful And All Knowing And Entirely Irrefutable Sabermetrics. If Cabrera wins the first triple crown in 45 years and doesn't win the MVP the
All Powerful And All Knowing And Entirely Irrefutable Sabermetrics crowd will have officially won.

#3 mnjon

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:04 AM

"Cabrera has a shot to win the first Triple Crown in a long time and this might be hard for some of the older voters to ignore."

Because only the young and hip will vote for Trout thanks to the All Powerful And All Knowing And Entirely Irrefutable Sabermetrics. If Cabrera wins the first triple crown in 45 years and doesn't win the MVP the
All Powerful And All Knowing And Entirely Irrefutable Sabermetrics crowd will have officially won.


I'm not gonna lie and say that I believe Cabrera should have a strong chance to win the MVP, but your argument doesn't really stand up. As Cody said,

He (Trout) is the first player to compile a WAR of over 10 since Barry Bonds did it back in his heyday. The last center fielder to reach this mark was Willie Mays so Trout is in some good company with the season he has put together.


Considering Willie Mays won his final MVP in '65, it's been even longer since a center fielder has been this good, according to WAR. Cabrera's statistics should definitely be praised and he does deserve the triple crown, but Trout has been a much better all-around player than Cabrera, which I'm guessing most teams would rather have than an offensive machine who plays mediocre defense at third with average speed at best.

And if you think it would be a travesty to not give the triple crown winner MVP, then you may be shocked to find out that not all TC winners have automatically won the MVP, even if it wasn't such a large span of time between the TC winners. Maybe even back then they understood that the TC doesn't automatically make you the best player in the game.

#4 nokomismod

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:42 AM

This is a tough year to decide, but I give the nod to Cabrera. He is the last guy you want to see in the on deck circle late in the game. Power, hits for average, and clutch. What Trout did for a big chunk of the season was incredible too. Maybe I'm favoring Cabrera because he's been doing it so long.

#5 Twins Twerp

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:30 AM

Baseball writers, who vote for the MVP, are not WAR guys. They are old and remember when Ted Williams and Honis Wagner played. The old school numbers are the most important thing. Wins for pitchers, HR's, RBI's and BA for MVP. Therefore, I think they are going to vote for Cabrera. If he wins the Triple Crown and the Tigers make the playoffs, I think it has to be Cabrera. Trout is good, and has the hype monster going for him. This is going to be a very tight race, with one man, one manchild, both deserving the nod.

#6 tmerrickkeller

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:31 AM

Where did I read this? Probably here....We all know Miggy could be the first guy since Yaz in '67 to win the Triple Crown. But when was the last time a player hit .325, stole 50 bases, and hit 30 home runs (which Trout might well do, as right now he's at .323, 48, and 28). The answer is "never." No one has ever done it, much less play Gold Glove centerfield, and score 125 runs.

So after that statement, I still pick Cabrera because he's above Trout in average, homers, and RBI and I value those statistics more than others (blame my baseball card days of the 60s and 70s).

#7 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:44 AM

I think THE biggest things the writers will look at is the TRADITIONAL offensive numbers. Cabrera's defense is not great and Trout's is amazing. But the criteria for these voters is something like 7 parts offense, 2 part defense and 1 part how much the media likes you.

Overall, if Cabrera wins a Triple Crown its his rather easily. If he just misses out on the TC, he squeaks it out on the lifetime achievement sympathy vote.

Edited by Siehbiscuit, 24 September 2012 - 10:48 AM.


#8 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:46 AM

Trout, also may be penalized by some voters because he is a rookie. It's not fair, but these writers have shown that objectivity isn't the way they always operate.

Edited by Siehbiscuit, 24 September 2012 - 10:49 AM.


#9 Boom Boom

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:49 AM

IMO you have to take the Triple Crown thing out of the equation.

Say Joe Mauer somehow magically nips Cabrera for the batting title by .001. Cabrera still leads in HR and RBI, though. Does your mind change at all because he didn't win the Triple Crown? Because it really shouldn't.

#10 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:53 AM

Cabrera wins the MVP if he locks up the Triple Crown and/or the Tigers make the playoffs. Trout wins if the Angels can claim a wild card spot, and the Twins continue to play spoiler, eliminating the Motor City Kitties from the postseason. Still the Tri-Crown is the trump card. One other thing to consider: Trout will already take home some hardwarde as the AL Rookie of the Year. The baseball writers may want to spread the wealth, figuring that Trout has a more time to add to his trophy cabinet. So, my money is on Miggy.

#11 TK10

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:58 AM

I'm fully aware that a handful of former triple crown winners didn't win the MVP, and to me, it's completely idiotic. La Velle E. Neal and the other voters his age didn't see Ted Williams or Honus Wagner play. Or maybe they did, I bet Bill James and the math nerd brigade has a stat proving La Velle saw Teddy Ballgame in person. I admit, fully, to being an idiot because I'm 34-years-old and am still impressed by 133 RBI. I don't care what Trout's WAR is, someone winning the triple crown after 45 years would be remarkable.

#12 Willihammer

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:06 AM

Ironically, Bill James is now back, getting paychecks from the Red Sox organization.

#13 snepp

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:30 AM

Because only the young and hip will vote for Trout thanks to the All Powerful And All Knowing And Entirely Irrefutable Sabermetrics. If Cabrera wins the first triple crown in 45 years and doesn't win the MVP the All Powerful And All Knowing And Entirely Irrefutable Sabermetrics crowd will have officially won.

I'm fully aware that a handful of former triple crown winners didn't win the MVP, and to me, it's completely idiotic. La Velle E. Neal and the other voters his age didn't see Ted Williams or Honus Wagner play. Or maybe they did, I bet Bill James and the math nerd brigade has a stat proving La Velle saw Teddy Ballgame in person. I admit, fully, to being an idiot because I'm 34-years-old and am still impressed by 133 RBI. I don't care what Trout's WAR is, someone winning the triple crown after 45 years would be remarkable.


I find being an obnoxious jackass to be much preferable over an objective "nerd."


You've convinced me.

#14 mike wants wins

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:45 AM

Defense matters. Base running matters. I am so tired of the "stat nerds" baloney from some posters and managers.....so tired and silly. I would say both are deserving, and either choice would be acceptable.

#15 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:22 PM

Instead of turning this into a debate about which statistics matter more, maybe we should step back and look at the title of the award - Most Valuable Player.

Now, that can be understood in a variety of ways, but for me it means the person who has contributed the most to a team's success and who would be missed the most if not there.

In that respect, I go with Trout. Detroit has other big names (Fielder,Verlander,Jackson) contributing and most would agree they have underperformed all year. On the other hand, if it wasn't for Trout LA wouldn't even be in the race for the wild card. He seems to have added more by his presence.

#16 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:44 PM

I'd rather have Trout on my team but if I had an MVP vote, it'd probably go to Cabrera. I put a lot of weight into play down the stretch and because Cabrera's "production" stat line will include ~140 RBI, I think he deserves the award. Narrowly.

But I won't cry if it goes to Trout.

#17 Seth Stohs

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:45 PM

I'd vote for Cabrera without a lot of hesitation. It's not a knock on Trout, and it's not a knock on WAR or sabrmetrics. May not seem like a lot, but the 21 Games Played difference is standing out to me the last couple of days. Trout's struggled some in the last month. Is that a hiccup, or is that a wall of sorts that would have been accentuated by another month of games? Of course we don't know, but we do know that Cabrera has played great all year.

#18 JB_Iowa

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:53 PM

45 Years .... for me that says it all.

I went back and looked at the list of Triple Crown winners -- and was amazed at how closely spaced some of them were before 1967. It wasn't a rarity to see several in your lifetime. Maybe that's why Yaz' TC didn't make that big of impression on me in 1967 -- after all, Frank Robinson had done the same thing a year earlier (plus I was really too young to appreciate its meaning). In a similar way, watching Affirmed in 1978, I never dreamed we'd be waiting for another thoroughbred TC winner in 2012 even though I knew there were 25 years between Citation and Secretariat.

If Miggy can pull off the Triple Crown, he deserves to be MVP. If Miggy succeeds, he d*mn well is Baseball's "Most Valuable" -- not just for what he is doing for this year but for what he is doing for baseball's history.

#19 Seth Stohs

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:01 PM

I meant to point out that the Triple Crown thing means nothing to me. It's a great, historical little anomaly.It also makes for a fact that the guy had an incredible season. It does not, however, necessitate the best season.

#20 mike wants wins

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:21 PM

Why is RBI part of the "triple crown", but not runs scored or stolen bases? This is a center fielder that might be the best defensive player in baseball, and is surely the best base runner. All I am saying is that three statistics do not show the full story. I find it highly ironic that the triple crown is a stat, made up of three other stats, and people that mock stats ate using it to "prove"something as inarguable.

#21 SweetOne69

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:55 PM

Why is RBI part of the "triple crown", but not runs scored or stolen bases? This is a center fielder that might be the best defensive player in baseball, and is surely the best base runner. All I am saying is that three statistics do not show the full story. I find it highly ironic that the triple crown is a stat, made up of three other stats, and people that mock stats ate using it to "prove"something as inarguable.


Because the offensive triple crown is all done with the bat. It is the things that the Batter can directly control.

#22 biggentleben

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:04 PM

[quote name='snepp'][quote name='TK10']Because only the young and hip will vote for Trout thanks to the All Powerful And All Knowing And Entirely Irrefutable Sabermetrics. If Cabrera wins the first triple crown in 45 years and doesn't win the MVP the All Powerful And All Knowing And Entirely Irrefutable Sabermetrics crowd will have officially won. [/QUOTE]
[quote name='TK10']I'm fully aware that a handful of former triple crown winners didn't win the MVP, and to me, it's completely idiotic. La Velle E. Neal and the other voters his age didn't see Ted Williams or Honus Wagner play. Or maybe they did, I bet Bill James and the math nerd brigade has a stat proving La Velle saw Teddy Ballgame in person. I admit, fully, to being an idiot because I'm 34-years-old and am still impressed by 133 RBI. I don't care what Trout's WAR is, someone winning the triple crown after 45 years would be remarkable.[/QUOTE]

I find being an obnoxious jackass to be much preferable over an objective "nerd."


You've convinced me.[/QUOTE]

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#23 Jim Crikket

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:06 PM

The great thing about the MVP award is that it IS subjective. In that regard, it's like the CY or a HOF vote. The criteria will vary from voter to voter. I am old enough to remember the Robinson and Yaz Triple Crowns and maybe it's nostalgic to continue to apply a certain amount of "romance" for that particular achievement. That said, whether Cabrera does or doesn't achieve the TC would not influence my vote. Supporters of both players can make perfectly legitimate cases (to me, anyway). I don't agree that a Cabrera TC should entitle him to the MVP, but if you want to point to his superior performance in a September pennant stretch, I'll consider that argument. I don't feel Trout should be penalized for not being in the Majors to start the season, but if you want to suggest he maybe hit a rookie wall in September, you may have a point. I also agree that Trout arguably had a greater amount of influence on his team's eventual success.

I'm a huge Trout fan and would love to see him win the MVP. But when I consider the kinds of problems Cabrera has dealt with and his willingness to be a "team guy" and move to 3B even knowing he might look bad there, that counts in his favor with me, too.

These two guys have both had incredible seasons and they both deserve serious consideration for MVP. Where writers (and managers) lose me is when they feel inclined to spout garbage about how one or the other is the obvious choice. Nothing about this choice is obvious, to me.

#24 biggentleben

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:08 PM

Why is RBI part of the "triple crown", but not runs scored or stolen bases? This is a center fielder that might be the best defensive player in baseball, and is surely the best base runner. All I am saying is that three statistics do not show the full story. I find it highly ironic that the triple crown is a stat, made up of three other stats, and people that mock stats ate using it to "prove"something as inarguable.


Because the offensive triple crown is all done with the bat. It is the things that the Batter can directly control.


Not true. There is a measure of luck build into batting average. Runs batted in are dependent on team unless it's a home run. Even then home runs can be influenced by ballpark, whether, schedule, or many other things. So even those things, the batter doesn't control any more than stolen bases or runs.
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#25 Willihammer

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:11 PM

Trout's struggled some in the last month. Is that a hiccup, or is that a wall of sorts that would have been accentuated by another month of games? Of course we don't know, but we do know that Cabrera has played great all year.


Well we do have 1300 minor league PAs which suggest that Trout's performance in recent days wouldn't drag him out of the conversation were he to play 21 extra games. He is still providing positive offensive and defensive value even while slumping. That said, Gleeman is right - the award is handed out by 28 Souhan-type writers across the country so bfd who gets it.

#26 biggentleben

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:12 PM

I don't feel Trout should be penalized for not being in the Majors to start the season, but if you want to suggest he maybe hit a rookie wall in September, you may have a point. I also agree that Trout arguably had a greater amount of influence on his team's eventual success.


.780 OPS with 3 homers and 4 steals at the leadoff position is hardly a wall. It's just that he set his bar so high in June/July that we see it as such, and that's become a narrative - an incorrect one, but one nonetheless.
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#27 DAM DC Twins Fans

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:36 PM

The great thing about the MVP award is that it IS subjective. In that regard, it's like the CY or a HOF vote. The criteria will vary from voter to voter. I am old enough to remember the Robinson and Yaz Triple Crowns and maybe it's nostalgic to continue to apply a certain amount of "romance" for that particular achievement. That said, whether Cabrera does or doesn't achieve the TC would not influence my vote. Supporters of both players can make perfectly legitimate cases (to me, anyway). I don't agree that a Cabrera TC should entitle him to the MVP, but if you want to point to his superior performance in a September pennant stretch, I'll consider that argument. I don't feel Trout should be penalized for not being in the Majors to start the season, but if you want to suggest he maybe hit a rookie wall in September, you may have a point. I also agree that Trout arguably had a greater amount of influence on his team's eventual success.

I'm a huge Trout fan and would love to see him win the MVP. But when I consider the kinds of problems Cabrera has dealt with and his willingness to be a "team guy" and move to 3B even knowing he might look bad there, that counts in his favor with me, too.

These two guys have both had incredible seasons and they both deserve serious consideration for MVP. Where writers (and managers) lose me is when they feel inclined to spout garbage about how one or the other is the obvious choice. Nothing about this choice is obvious, to me.


I too remember Yaz and F. Robby getting triple crowns and not dreaming I would go my whole working career (I was in college when Yaz did it and now am retired) without it being done again. On that I vote for Miggy. I also think MVP should come from playoff team--not sure either Tiggers or Angles will be there--but both are close enough. The MVP is for the WHOLE DAM season--Trout's Sept. slump should and will cost him votes.

I can see the Trout arguments--starting with Defense--but I still go with Miggy.

#28 TK10

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:59 PM

Jackass idiot here. Just hoping someone could explain to me why quibbling with WAR fans makes one a jackass. It seems to me the WAR crowd loves to denigrate anyone who still thinks RBI and batting average might, just might, indicate a guy is a good player. It's as if there's a cool kids table element to all of this. As if to say if you don't subscribe completely to sabermetrics you aren't a real fan.
Furthermore, isn't it possible that WAR is a bogus stat that, in say 5 years, some other numbers nerd, oops, excuse me, numbers wizard will come along and replace?
Anyway, I hope to see you all at the game tonight. I'll be the guy in 225 keeping score like the decrepit dinosaur I am.

#29 old nurse

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:02 PM

Who makes the club win? A few lower place should go to Willingham. Take out Willingham and insert a Clete Thomas type. The domino effect on this team would be that they would make a run at the record for futility. Trout or Cabrera? Trout has probably contributed more to his team's success than Cabrera. That was the intent of the award.

Although, if they had not signed Willingham, would Joe Benson made the squad out of ST and not had the season he did? A topic for another thread of what if.

Edited by old nurse, 24 September 2012 - 04:06 PM.


#30 Monkeypaws

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:58 PM

Hitting is the hardest thing to do in baseball - triple crown trumps all-around play for me every day.

And seriously, R.O.T.Y. is a better than average consolation prize for Trout, plus the promise of future contention.