No need for further debate: Miguel Cabrera is the AL MVP no matter how you look at it (Opinion)

By Shawn Liverance
Local Sports Journal

Let’s say it right now – Miguel Cabrera, hands down, is the American League’s Most Valuable Player.

Yes, I might be partial.

I am a huge baseball and Tigers fan.

It is my favorite sport – bar none.

That said, I truly believe I do have some knowledge in my favorite sport of baseball and hearing some of these talking heads trying to make a case for Mike Trout as AL MVP is absurd.

Yes, I might have been only 2 years old when Carl Yastrzemski was the last person to win the Triple Crown in 1967 as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

But, just the term Triple Crown always resonated with me.

Just the fact one player could lead the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in was, well, hard to imagine.

Yes, the term was used a few times growing up when maybe at the All-Star break some player might have been in the running in all three categories.

It didn’t happen very often and by August and September those whispers faded away.

That changed this season when the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera took that reality into September.

Yes, he had a lead in both batting average and runs batted in heading into September, but he trailed Texas’ Josh Hamilton in home runs.

I thought winning the home run title would be the hardest to achieve seeing Cabrera plays in pitcher-friendly Comerica Park, while Hamilton plays at the homer-friendly Ballpark of Arlington.

As the season wound down, it became more evident that Cabrera had a legitimate shot at winning the elusive “triple” and that is what the conversation should have been focused on, but more and more the talk was not if Cabrera would win the Triple Crown, but if he would win the AL MVP Award.

Are you kidding me?

We are talking about someone winning the first Triple Crown since 1967.

Like I said, I am old school.

I was the one that scoured boxscores in the paper every day.

I knew who led the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in every single day.

The numbers on the back of a players baseball card meant everything to me.

That is why Cabrera is a no-brainer for the MVP Award.

In my day, there were no stats like OBP (On Base Percentage), OPS (On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage) or the newest WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

The latter is what many baseball insiders say is what should tip the scales in Trout’s favor in the MVP discussion.

Let’s take a look at what the Wins Above Replacement involves.

A quick defintion – Wins Above Replacement means: how many wins did that player contribute to his team’s win total above and beyond what they would have gotten from a “replacement value” player, someone they could have picked up off the scrap heap for next to nothing.

What?

Apparently Trout is a 10.7 and Cabrera is a 6.9 in this ranking.

So, some of these voters are basing their MVP vote on this?

Let’s take a look at some other numbers.

Cabrera finished first in the American League in batting average (.330) homers (44) and RBIs (139).

And for those sabermetrics fans, Cabrera also led the league in slugging percentage, OPS, total bases and extra base hits.

Take nothing away from Trout, who had the best rookie season since Fred Lynn, who won both Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards in 1975.

This season, Trout became the first major league player to hit 30 home runs, score 125 runs and steal 45 bases in a season and to hit .320 or above with 30 home runs and 45 stolen bases.

A great season for a great talent, but any debate on AL MVP honors is moot.

Miguel Cabrera is the AL’s most valuable player.

Oh, and by the way.

Who led his team to a playoff berth?

Enough said.

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