Correction: Trout has appeared in 138 games.
Although I'd like to see Cabrera win the MVP, I will have no complaints if Trout wins it. The Triple Crown is much more important to Cabrera's legacy anyway.
Correction: Trout has appeared in 138 games.
Although I'd like to see Cabrera win the MVP, I will have no complaints if Trout wins it. The Triple Crown is much more important to Cabrera's legacy anyway.
Sorry that was supposed to be 139 (counting today's game). Typo
Any talking head still discussing the mvp race is just filling time, Cabrera is a lock to win the MVP.
This is one of those 'will be the only time I see this in my life' sort of moments as a fan. An incredible accomplishment.
EDIT - I believe the Rangers play in the afternoon, so we'll know where Hamilton ends up before the Tigers play.
I'm a Sox fan (Ketchup, not Mayo), and while I grew up hearing about how Yaz was the last player to win the Triple Crown, I think it's about time someone else accomplished it. It's been generations since it has been done. The sport really needs something like this.
Pretty incredible, what an accomplishment. Let's hope Griffin/relievers will give Cabrera a little help today by shutting down Hamilton!
Cabrera numbers are sick..i hope he gets it
Why is this a debate IMO? Two words: Justin Verlander
I don't think the writers like giving out the award to players on the same team in back to back years - especially if they havent won the Series yet.
If writers base the decision off this there might as well not be an MVP award.
Generally, the people who are pulling for Mike Trout (who aren't Angels fans) are white journalists who root for crappy NL teams. That's really the only way I can think of for them to compare the ludicrous "other Triple Crown" (SB, OBP, WAR) to the existing one.
he's in what--his second year? He's got time.
Well said. Cabrera has had a bigger impact on his own team and how other teams approach the Tigers, especially down the stretch.
I'm also tired of hearing how Cabby is terrible at 3rd. Scouts have been surprised at how well he made the transition, after taking one for the team to switch from 1st. His fielding precentage won't win any Gold Gloves, but it's been decent.
I'm a big proponent of WAR, but sometimes it doesn't pass the common sense test. For example, as the two of you alluded to, does anybody really believe that Cabrera is only worth essentially 6-7 wins above a replacement level player?
Exactly. And I am so annoyed that this whole debate has turned into "WAR IS FOR STAT NERDS WHO LIVE IN THEIR MOM'S BASEMENT" vs. "THE TRIPLE CROWN IS MEANINGLESS AND ONLY MOUTH-BREATHING LUDDITES CARE ABOUT IT." There are several elements to the game and several factors in value. WAR does a very good job of summing all of those, and should be paid attention to. However, there's a visual element to the game that is lost, and of course, no advanced statistic captures everything. People can make a convincing case for Trout based on things other than WAR. People can make a convincing case for Cabrera based on things other than the Triple Crown. The fact that the debate has been so minimized annoys me.
I think the fogeys vs. sabernerds argument is one of the best things baseball has going for it. Baseball more than any other sport lends itself to debate, statistical quirks, not-since-19-dickety-three accomplishments....it's one of the greatest traditions ever in a sport that's absolutely loaded with tradition and lore. Sabermetrics opened up a whole new world of statisticizing and a whole new world of debate. It's fantastic.
"Dickety"? Highly dubious!
I should say that I think the debate is a good one to have, but I don't like the way that it is being had. I know in our society debates often turn to extreme one vs. the other scenario, without people being able to see or understand gray areas. I don't think the debate needs to be framed as nerds v fogeys. The assumption that saber people don't watch games is annoying to me, yet this MVP debate has just perpetuated that stereotype. When someone goes on an internet rant about Trout > Cabrera because of WAR, it shows how some stats people are truly disconnected from the game. There's context. If he is truly better, WAR is simply an indication, not a justification. You can find other ways to say and show that.
I just think there are way too many variables at play to get a good value for WAR
If a player goes down, there's more likely to be shuffling than straight replacing him with the "average" replacement. For example if Trout goes down, they'll shuffle around their outfield and put the "average" guy in Left.
Then instead of "losing" 10 wins you lose 4 from Trout to the shuffle, and another 3 from the shuffle-ee to the "average."
And would Cabrera's be higher if he were still at 1B? He changed positions 6 weeks before the season. How can that be taken into account?
Just too many "What if's" with WAR. You don't get those with OPS and WHIP.
Sabermetrics are fun, and add an exciting element to sports discussion. However, sometimes you find things that are just so funny to say aloud, you can't help but laugh while reading them.
For example, sabermetrics would tell us that Michael Bourn has a higher Replacement Value than all but 6 players in MLB? Not THAT'S funny. Michael Bourn would be a burden in any hitting lineup, unless you favor someone who strikes out once a game. It also might be an indication that the weights for the stats are slighted in favor of defensive players, which Bourn certainly is.
Bourn is at worst a league average hitter, not exactly a burden on any lineup.
Gator on Karsh & Anderson was railing against WAR yesterday about how ridiculous it is, and made what I thought was a good point. He was complaining about how WAR is based on a fictitious, average replacement player, whereas if you looked at each player's actual replacement you can understand their value better. Trout's replacement would be Peter Bourjos, who is a pretty decent player and offers similar skills as Trout, whereas Cabrera's replacement at third is some hybrid of Don Kelly, Brandon Inge, Ramon Santiago, who are garbage offensively and aside from Inge, only modest improvements over Cabrera defensively.
WAR is a pretty crappy stat.
But that argument is horrible.
A players value is determined by his own play, not his teammates.
If you want to use some advanced fielding statistics, Mike Trout has the second best UZR among CF (11.7). Cabrera has the second worst UZR among 3B (-10.6).
UZR = ultimate zone rating. The number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs and error runs combined.
Defensive metrics and base running is why many sports writers have Trout over Cabrera. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the fact that the Tigers made the playoffs, and the Angels did not.
If the Angels had called Trout up before the end of April, the Angels probably make the playoffs, and Trout ends up with even more ridiculous numbers.
If the Angels had called Trout up before the end of April, the Angels probably make the playoffs, and Trout ends up with even more ridiculous numbers.
Not going to agree with this. Trout's numbers have significantly gone down as pitchers have figured him out.
Have a look see -
August and September have been pretty "pedestrian" for Trout. Here's Cabrera's for comparison -
I'm not sure you can make a realistic case that Trout has been "figured out" when his OBP in September is .380.
Here's a chart showing those 4 stats for both players from May to September -
Trout had one really outstanding hitting month, and that's what it really boils down to. He has seen a decline in his hitting from the beginning of the season. Cabrera is hitting better now than he was at the beginning of the season. You can't say the same for Trout.
No, you can't, but who cares?
The games are weighted the same, whether they happen in May or September.
The end numbers are all that matters, placing a greather emphasis on games played later in the year is ignorant.
He's pointing out that breaking Trout's season down shows one extraordinary month and then a descent into less than stellar at the plate. Now Trout's final numbers are still good, there's no question. But at this point there's nothing he can do to catch Cabrera in BA except hope that Miggy plays and goes 0-fer while Trout has an incredible night at the plate.
Further, Trout is barely above Cabrera in OBP for the season and behind him in BA. Cabrera is a run producer batting third (hence his significant lead in RBIs and HRs). Now tell me how a leadoff hitter can win the MVP without having the league best batting average nor the league best OBP?
A. How do you know Cabrera has had a bigger impact on his own team? Because you watch them more than you watch the Angels?
B. Cabrera is terrible at third. I don't care if you're a saber nerd or not, fielding percentage is an awful indicator of how good of a defensive player you are. His range is next to nothing and it's easy to have a good fielding percentage when you aren't a good enough defender to put yourself in a position to make plays that some players can't.
The goal of baseball is to outscore your opposition and win games. You do this by scoring runs on offense and preventing runs on defense. The argument could easily be made that Trout has been the best player in baseball at producing and preventing. I love Cabrera, I love the Tigers, but to me it's Trout. It's closer than it was a few weeks ago, but to me it's still a comfortable decision.
I'm a lover of small ball, so i like speedy, quality defenders that hit for average. The fact of the matter is that Trout does not (and will not) lead the AL in BA or OBP. Sorry, WAR it to death, but a leadoff hitter not leading the league in BA is not the MVP, especially considering the decline his hitting has gone through in August and September.
And rarely is the MVP about defense, especially in the AL. Most of the AL winners over the last decade or so have had low dWARs. Giambi's MVP season in 2000 saw him with a -0.2. In 2010, when Cabrerra came in second he had a -1.2 (Hamilton had a 0.8, a career best by a long shot).
The argument that Trout has been the best player in baseball at producing and preventing is moot because it's the Most Valuable Player award, not the best player. And by your reasoning for Trout, an AL pitcher could never win the award since they don't produce runs.
Again, where did I say WAR once? Please, stop placing me into a certain group to fit your argument.
I know the MVP is rarely about defense. That's my issue. It's a major part of the game for a position player. It rightfully needs to be considered.
lol, elimating him from the discussion because he's gonna finish in 2nd place for the batting title?
And it's just asinine to say an inferior player is ever more valuable than a superior one.
Had the Angels managed to squeak in, Trout would've had a better case. I don't under the WAR calculations that put the Tigers as only 6 or 7 wins worse without Miguel, but regardless, we clinched at Game 159, so those 6 or 7 wins mattered a LOT. Miguel had the bigger year statistically and he is about to set a career milestone that hasn't been achieved since Lyndon Johnson was president. Media types who are still pimping for Trout just sound stupid.
The Angels have a better record than the Tigers, so that argument really holds no merit.
You're basically giving Cabrera an edge because his team plays in the Central while Trout's plays in the West.
The Angels may have more wins than the Tigers at the moment but frankly that doesn't really hold in merit because those wins need to understood in context.
The first goal is not to win more games than teams in other divisions, the primary goal is to win your division. The Tigers acheived this and the Angels failed. Getting into caught up in overall won-loss records isn't a good comparison because of the different contexts within which the teams operate and it's too conjectural to figure what might have happened if the Tigers and Angels were in different divisions...or even the same division.
The bottom line is that Cabrera led his team to a title while the Angels (including Trout) failed. In that sense,it's advantage Cabrera as far as the MVP is concerned.
How does that not hold merit? Especially when you consider the Angels A. played in a tougher division and B. played in a smaller division, meaning their rotation of games included more matchups with Tampa Bay, New York and Baltimore among others.
To say the Angels wouldn't have won the AL Central is naive at best. The AL Central sucks; anybody who denies this is crazy.
Yes the primary goal of a team is to win their division. Independent of context teams do that by winning as many games as possible whether it's against their own division of against others. Put in context the Angels were 25-20 against the AL central. The Angels play in debatably the best division in baseball. Hell, the worst team in the AL west, the Mariners, were 25-16 against the AL central. To say wins need to be understood in context actually weakens your agrument. The Tigers aboslutely feasted on the AL central at 42-29 as of today but were a paltry 13-20 against the west. The Angels played 56 games against the AL west and the Tigers played 33. That's 23 extra games against a more difficult division that the Angels had to deal with. Conversely the Angels only got to play 45 against the Central and the Tigers played a whopping 71 as of today. If you place the Angels in the Central they are probably the top seed in the America league by a hefty margin. There are a lot of arguments in favor of Cabrera for MVP saying Cabrera gets the advantage in the MVP voting because he made a crappy division look even worse shouldn't be one of them.
Leyland said on the radio that Cabrera will be a game-time decision and he'll be watching the Texas game to help make the decision. If Hamilton doesn't hit a HR, don't expect them to play Cabrera.
I heard that. I just did the math, if Miggy gets 3 or fewer ABs, Trout needs to go 5 for 5 or better to catch him. 4 for 5 wouldn't do it, so as soon as Trout gets one out (or likely a walk, sac fly, HBP) it's over.
If I were the Seattle pitcher, I wouldn't throw Trout a single strike. He knows a walk all but kills him, so he'll be swinging at everything. He should be an easy K today.
it's just not problematic is he's got the HR crown anyway.
I don't have a problem with it. I'm just adding knowledge to the thread. Honestly, though, I think that if Hamilton gets a HR they'll put him out there for an at bat or two to see if he can get another to put him in first place by himself again.
Eh, that's not a big deal. Yaz was tied for the home run lead with Harmon Killebrew in 1967. I obviously wasn't around to see what the media said about that then, but I've never heard anyone question the legitimacy of it.
I have heard people say that Yaz wasn't a true triple crown winner because he tied in HRs.
While I think that is nonsense, I think there is something extra special about having "1st, 1st, 1st" on the statline and not "1st, 1st, T-1st." It's splitting hairs but it looks a lot cooler.
That's how I feel about it too. I guess I'd rather have there be no question about the triple crown as opposed to someone having straw legs to stand on.
to the idea that there was some controversy.
I've said this since Cabby joined the Tigers, but he is hands down the best hitter in the game. I wouldn't trade him for anyone.
Texas will be done playing before the Tigers start. The Angels start at 6:40 and the Tigers start at 8:10. For those playing along at home here are the possible batting averages based upon tonight's potential performance.
Then it should be impossible for him to lose the batting title if he sits out, correct? Trout would have to go 5-5 just to tie him, and he'd just be hoping that Hamilton doesn't hit 2 HRs.
and he'd just be hoping that Hamilton doesn't hit 2 HRs.
Cabrera will know how many HR's Hamilton has hit today before the Tigers game even starts. He may be faced with an interesting decision.
A very interesting decision. Imagine Hamilton doesn't hit one and trout is 2-2 or 3-3 when the Tigers game starts... I'd hate to have to make that call. Cabrera would be (unfairly) ripped by the media if he's held out of the game and it secures him the triple crown.
To steal from Mike Tirico this morning on "Mike and Mike" - he's earned the right to sit. He's played in 160 out of 161 games this year. Trout hasn't even played in 140.
...Cabrera played last night, when he didn't really need to. And last I heard his ankle was still a bit sore so the extra rest would probably be wise.
It's alread started... espn's poll on the front page asks whether Cabrera's Triple Crown accomplishment will be diminished if he sits today. So ridiculous.
That's stupid. In their poll, there are 3 states (NH, RI, HI) in which more than 50% of voters thinks it diminishes the accomplishment. In fact, 9/18 in HI think it diminishes the accomplishment greatly.
This is what happens when you throw up a question without the context of how many games he's played this season.
sits him, for god sakes, especially since a rest is due your star in the last game of the season, and with a sore ankle, c'mon! I tend to think he DOES sit in that event.
Also, baseball has a kind of gentlemanly code in these cases; it's not like he won't have earned it.
Cabrera still has baseball to play. After tonight, all Trout has to worry about is his tee time. Anyone characterizing Miguel sitting out tonight as a means to protect his Triple Crown as weaksauce is just a hater.
In 160 games played Cabrera has built up a 1 HR lead, an 11 RBI lead, and a 6 point BA lead and he still has something to prove? He doesn't have to play tonight because he's been that much more of a badass than everyone else in the American League this season. That's the kind of player you give MVP to, BTW.
Fielding percentage is a worthless stat for showing how good someone is defensively. You'd need your head examined if you were going to tout Cabby's defensive prowess over Trout using fielding percentage. Trout is by far the superior defender -- in fact, he's the best CF in the game.
Of course I want Miguel to win the MVP, but he's already achieved something more important this season: making the playoffs.
Fielding percentage doesn't tell the whole story, but it's hardly a "worthless" stat. Nobody is saying Cabby is better defensively, but he doesn't suck at 3rd like the Trout backers are saying.
If anything Miggy should get bonus points for his sacrifice of taking on a tough position switch in order to help the team... and then performing much better than most projected.
I guess I found it funny the OP dinged Trout for WAR being subjective then turned around and tried to make it seem like Cabby was the superior fielder by comparing field fielding percentage as if that was the only defensive measurable.
Miguel definitely does not suck at 3rd, that is for sure.
I in no way suggested that Cabby was a better defense player. I was putting into prespective that he is not as bad of a fielder as people like to point out. They do not play the same position so it's hard to compare the two.
Plus, defensive statistics are dependent on SO many factors. For example, if the Tigers had a shortstop with better range (sorry, Jhonny), it would make some of Cabrera's advanced numbers look better. Having watched probably 140 Tigers games this year, Cabrera has actually been a pretty decent defender. His range is obviously limited, but he's been sure-handed with the glove and has really only made a couple of bad throws all year (plus, he has a gun for an arm). I'd challenge you to find a 3rd baseman who is better at starting the 5-4-3.
I don't think anyone is claiming that Cabrera has been a better defender than Trout. That'd be a tough argument to make. People DO claim, though, that Trout's defense isn't SO much better than Cabrera's that it tips the overall scales in his favor (and I agree).
That is a really great point that is impossible to measure with Stats. Cabrera has one of the nicest feeds to 2nd base that I have ever seen. It seems to always be firm and on point.
The impression I get is that the Trout backers are more of the young guard guys who put tons of stock in sabremetrics statistics, over the more standard statistical measures. Yet in the sabremetic philosophy, defensive performance is not considered important in evaluating player value. Stealing bases is also not recommended. Yet these are the two areas the Trout guys point to as the discriminator over Cabrera...I find some irony there.
I'm not sure you have any idea what youre talking about. Sorry to sound so blunt. The "philosophy" of sabermetrics is nothing more than the desire to understand the game at a deeper level. That is, we know that AVG/HR/RBI isn't good enough by itself, and there is more to know. Sabermetricians has been trying to evaluate defense, and has so far determined that it is quite difficult, but certainly not unimportant. And they also say that it's not SBs that are not valuable, but the guys who get thrown out so many times while trying to steal bases that neutralize any return (Trout's SB% is fantastic though).
This is the biggest source of strife between the groups - not understanding what the others are saying.
if you're stealing them at the 92% clip that Trout is.
Cabrera is one of the worst defensive 3B in the game, bottom 5 amongst regular 3B.
He is a great centerfielder, great player, and would be worthy of the MVP....
But he isn't the best centerfielder on his own team. When Bourjos plays, he moves to left. Fielding is very important but it is somewhat subjective, especially when comparing a third baseman to a centerfielder. (Not saying Miggy is better. That would be silly.)
And I do know that Trout moves to left when Bourjos plays, but is that solely because the Angels think Peter is a better CF? Could it be that Bourjos is more comfortable in center whereas Trout has no problems playing either? I'm asking honestly because I don't know.
If this is true, why does his manager Mike Scioscia take him out of CF and put him in LF so he can put Peter Bourjos in CF when the two are playing the outfield together? Trout isn't even the best CF on their own team according to his own manager! Yet, you expect us to believe that he's the best in baseball?
I was starting to wonder if anybody would ever accomplish this again. I always thought Pujols in his prime was the most likely candidate -- he's won a batting title, home run title, and RBI title, but never managed to do all three in one year. A great accomplishment for Miggy.
I have no dog in the MVP argument b/w Trout and Cabrera (I'm a Cardinals fan), but I see the argument on both sides -- I don't think you can just say "There's NO WAY Trout should win the MVP." Dude has had a phenomenal season, plays a more premium defensive position. I'd probably vote for Cabrera, but you can make a good case for Trout too. (I'm not a sabremetrics nut, but I do think it helps us understand the game and players' contributions better than ever).
Also, to the OP: I wouldn't bandy about fielding percentage as a proof of defensive prowess (for Cabrera or anyone else). You can have a great fielding percentage but shitty range, which means you commit fewer errors, but also don't get to as many balls as someone with better range.
Shitty range... come on down Jhonny Peralta.
He has also made some plays that shorter third baseman would not have caught. Again, just providing stats and not the conclusion that Fielding percentage makes him a better defensive player.
(I'm not a sabremetrics nut, but I do think it helps us understand the game and players' contributions better than ever)
True and the ironic part about that statement is that a true sabremetrician would probably say that Trout's defensive prowess does not matter. His stolen bases, does not matter. That's part of the paradigm shift that Bill James revealed when he first came up with the sabremetric philosophy; that defensive play is not a discriminator when evaluating player value; that stealing bases is a bad idea. Yet Trout seems to be the poster child for the MVP based on the new math, yet these guys touting him are using stats to justify their case that sabremetrics discounts.
Trout has had a great year, but Cabrera is leading the league in OPS, is essentially tied with Trout for OBP, walks a lot, strikes out rarely, and is smart on the base paths. Cabrera is Bill James' wet dream for a baseball player and yet he is only valuable as measured by the "old math"? I just don't get the debate.
And Cabrera isn't far behind Trout in runs scored either.
Attack the pro-saber crowd and then use "is smart on the basepaths" as a supposedly objective view on Cabrera's baserunning ability. Lol.
he's got the HR crown, anyway. I'm delighted for him and the team.
Appreciate this update!
I hope (and honestly think) Cabrera will win the MVP, but Jayson Stark made a pretty good (and objective) case for Trout in a write-up yesterday. Here's the link.
I've often said that if I had to pick one hitter to send to home plate with a big game riding on it, I'd pick Cabrera. But that doesn't mean he's been a better baseball player than Mike Trout. And remember, that Triple Crown isn't the only historic achievement that belongs in this argument. Trout is the first player EVER to hit 30 homers, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in one season.
If you want to toss in his slash line, his 62 extra-base hits, his 92.3 percent stolen-base success rate or any other item on his stat sheet, you'll find that no player in the history of baseball has combined this much excellence in so many areas in the same season. Again, that phrase was "no player in the history of baseball."
And by the way, Trout only needs 1 more SB to make it a 30-50 season for him. If he gets on base today, you can bet your bottom dollar he'll be off to the races to get #50.
Either way, it's exciting that we're this close to history, and that the person making history happens to be playing for my team.
This is the white-people-love-Mike-Trout line argument I dropped earlier. This guy Stark throws together arbitrary statistics and somehow equates it to the Triple Crown.
There's no doubt Mike Trout is a fantastic baseball player. But the award is called Most Valuable Player for a reason, and no one can change a game like Cabrera.
You probably shouldn't bring race into this.
My comment actually had nothing to do with race. I'm sorry if you didn't catch on.
"White people" as in people who like the assist more than the goal, who wear peacoats and horn-rimmed glasses, who own Apple products, and who love moleskine (heyo!) notebooks.
still better than those "black people" who.....
i'll just shut up now, you should too.
Unfortunately, and as distasteful as it is, I think race plays a role in why this MVP debate is still so close. It's not the only reason, but I think it plays a factor. Just imagine if Cabrera wins the Triple Crown and Trout wins the MVP. 30 years from now, when baseball historians look back on that and try to explain it, race won't be brought up as a reason?
4 of the 9 triple crown winners since 1931 didn't win the MVP
Except that those guys were all white guys going up against other white guys for the MVP.
Whether we like it or not, if Cabrera doesn't win the MVP, there will be some people who bring up race as a factor
....class; Cabrera has tattoos so he's obviously a thug. Also political philosophy because Cabrera is Venezuelan, he must be one of those Hugo Chavez type South American socialist. Probably a drug dealer too.
Really, when you think about it, it's remarkable that Cabrera is even allowed to be in the USA let alone be considered for the MVP.
(yes, I'm being sarcastic)
Actually if you look at win probability added (NOT WAR), you'll find that Trout has changed the game more often than Cabrera. Basically, WPA shows how often a player changes the probability that his team will win a game. Read more on WPA here: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-WPA?urn=mlb,209597
As a neutral baseball fan, its a close race, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Trout win. This isn't just an OMG WAR argument. RBIs, HRs, and BA are just as arbitrary as Runs, SBs and OBP. Advanced stat after advanced stat says Trout was the better player than cabrera this year, EVEN WHEN INCLUDING FIELDING INDEPENDENCE.
Now if you want to make the argument that the Angels didn't make the playoffs, go for it.
I will absolutely make the argument that the Angels didn't make the playoffs, but more importantly, the Tigers wouldn't without Cabrera.
There's a bit of AL vs. NL going on here. I would argue indefinitely that RBIs, HRs, and BA are more impressive than most of Trout's superior stats in the AL. If both players were NL players, I think Trout would have a much better case. I truly think the game is that much different between the leagues.
there's a bit of an ironic counter-argument to make, which is if the Angels had not been stupid and not left Trout in the minors for the first 20 games they would have made the playoffs.
It wasn't just Trout's presence that turned that team around, it also had to do with Pujols not having the worst month of his career anymore.
If you want to support Cabrera for MVP do so without the whole "his team made the playoff argument." I don't think it's very relevant for baseball when compared to football or hockey.
The Angels (and Rays) are both going to finish the season with better records than the Tigers. So you want to penalize Trout for playing better competition?
and by hockey i meant basketball. I don't know jack about hockey.
One more thing people need to keep in mind about WAR is that it's a position based stat. Mike Trout's value is being compared against all of the other CF's in baseball, while Miggy's value is being compared against all of the other players 3B, not all of the players in the league.
This is important to note because WAR effectively punshies players who play at a deep position, like 1B, by setting the baselines for a replacement level player higher than a weaker position, like catcher.
So what this means is that statitistically speaking, a first baseman could undoubtedly have a better year than a catcher, but the catcher could potentially have a higher WAR, simply based on the relative positions that they play.
Runs and stolen bases are arbitrary, but RBI and average aren't?
Yo, easy on the haterade, aquaman. This is a pro-Cabrera thread, take your contrarion garbage elsewhere.
I'm really sick of the WAR stat. I wish people would stop throwing that meaningless stat around. Last years WAR leader in the American League was...Ben Zobrist. He batted .269 with 20 HR's and 91 RBI's.
Agreed...and make sure you don't go to Tremendous' twitter feed or you'll be WAR'ed to death.
You don't need WAR to advocate Trout. You just need to realize the game of baseball consists more of hitting home runs and driving in players who got on base before you even stepped to the plate.
This is why leadoff hitters and quality defenseman make a ton more money than the guys who are jacking HRs and RBIs).
|1||Alex Rodriguez||New York Yankees||$ 30,000,000||Third Baseman|
|2||Vernon Wells||Los Angeles Angels||$ 24,187,500||Outfielder|
|3||Johan Santana||New York Mets||$ 23,145,011||Pitcher|
|4||Mark Teixeira||New York Yankees||$ 23,125,000||First Baseman|
|5||Prince Fielder||Detroit Tigers||$ 23,000,000||First Baseman|
|5||Joe Mauer||Minnesota Twins||$ 23,000,000||Catcher|
|5||CC Sabathia||New York Yankees||$ 23,000,000||Pitcher|
|8||Adrian Gonzalez||Boston Red Sox||$ 21,857,142||First Baseman|
|9||Cliff Lee||Philadelphia Phillies||$ 21,500,000||Pitcher|
|10||Miguel Cabrera||Detroit Tigers||$ 21,000,000||First Baseman|
If you take the pitchers out of the equation, not one of these guys are quality defenseman or even 5 tool players. Value comes from Driving runs in. Always has, always will!
It's not a meaningless stat, however, stat-heads who want to turn the MVP award into the "Who has the highest WAR award" are just as ridiculously and laughably wrong as the old fogy baseball writers who use things like "the eye test" to determine MVP.
Just like "ye olde guarde" needed to learn that a lot of the traditional stats were extremely flawed in comparison to most of the newfangled saber stats, the "knights of the new" need to learn that there is far more to baseball than stats.
Although I don't have a problem with the WAR stat per se, I find it ridiculus that someone would declare an "MVP" or "best player" simply based on a number.
On an ESPN podcast that I listened to yesterday, the commentator said something like only "irrational" reasons could be used to justify Cabrera winning the MVP because WAR defines value. And in a weird way, he's is right but irrationality is very much part of baseball (and all sports for that matter). There are storylines and perhaps even a bit of magic involved in award things like the MVP.
To me, the whole Trout vs. Cabrera debate is reminiscent of the Woodson vs. Manning Heisman debate. Yes, some guys have superior numbers but others have manage to not only have great numbers but they manage to capture the spirit of the moment. Woodson did it. I'd argue Desmond Howard also had a similar campaign. And likewise, Cabrera barreling down the stretch, charging towards the Triple Crown and leading his team to a Division title capture the imagination in a way that simply renders Trout's campaign feeling a bit cold in comparison.
they don't judge based on just 1 number, that's a ridiculous mus-characterization of those that are not trolling you. but the large lead that trout has in it reflects the opinion that he's close enough to miggy with the bat that his stolen bases, base running, and gold glove defense make him more valuable.
Tell that to Keith Law, who claims that he's leaving Miguel off his ballot because his WAR isn't high enough.
At least he's consistent, unlike a lot of other stat-heads. Cabrera is 4th in the AL in WAR, behind Verlander, Cano, and Trout.
If we're going strictly by WAR, the MVP debate ought to be Trout, Verlander and Cano.
This is where a lot of the stat-heads (I affectionately call them) fall prey to a lot of the same pitfalls as the crusty old "eye test" baseball writers than they push against.
I've not seen one argument for Cano or Verlander as being a more viable MVP candidate than Cabrera. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, or maybe as seeing the debate has been framed as Trout vs. Cabrera, that's the argument stat-heads are honed in on.
I have seen a lot of people state that Verlander is having arguably as good of a season this year as he did last, in an effort to discredit Cabby, by pointing out according to WAR, he's not even the most valuable player on his own team. It's funny though, granted, these are two different seasons and Trout's candidacy is stronger than anyone's last year (save Verlander), but last year the stat-heads were screaming from the rooftops that if Verlander didn't win MVP it would be a travesty. This year, apparently he's having the same year, minus the all hated "Wins," yet there isn't even a peep coming from those same guys about the possibility of Verlander winning MVP. They hate wins, but I have no doubt that if Verlander was sitting at 25 wins, you'd be hearing the chants of MVP coming from a lot of those same guys.
The thing about WAR is, if you use it as a crude snapshot of a player's overall value, then it is a fairly useful tool. However, if you're attempting to use it as THE definitive, "catch all" stat to ultimately determine a player's value, then it falls laughably short.
While I like WAR, in my opinion it's kind of an unnecessary stat. I also think it's kind of lazy (even though a ridiculous amount of work went into creating it) .
Attempting to create a single, definitive, stat which defines a player's overall value is a fruitless exercise, and seeing as we already have so much information on every single aspect of a player's game, there really is no need to create one single definitive stat by which to judge them.
WAR is basically stat-heads saying, "All of these sabermetric stats sure are hard for the average fan to figure out, so rather than saying 'deal with it,' let's create an extremely subjective, flawed, and completely unnecessary catch all stat that will make sabermetrics easier to understand for the casual fan." So now you have WAR, and a bunch of people who don't understand WAR are using it as "the MVP number," rather than a gross estimation of a player's added value to a team.
At least he's consistent...at being dumb with his vote. Anyone who doesn't have Cabrera in the top 3 should have their vote taken away.
Zobrist was not even close to leading the league in WAR last year.
According to Fangraphs, Zobrist's WAR last year was 6.6. Ellsbury led the AL with 9.4. Verlander was at 7.0, which was actually behind Sabathia at 7.1.
He was listed at the top at 8.6 at Baseball Reference.com. I don't know which site is more credible, but it has Trout at the top for this year at 10.6, so I'm assuming it's correct...or not.
One thing to look at is how each has down down the stretch. Trout's numbers have tappered off significantly since Aug. 1st, while Miggy has been even better. He helped get his team into the playoffs. Trout was a big reason the Angels were even relavent, but once the book was out on him he couldn't keep pace.
It shouldn't be close in my opinion. Trout had a great year, but he wasn't as effective after pitchers had tape of him and learned how to pitch to him. His September numbers left a lot to be desired for a potential MVP winner. Cabrera on the other hand played out of his mind towards the end of the year. Pitchers knew what they had to do and still couldn't stop him.
Baseball mojo is a wierd thing. You don't talk to a pitcher who's throwing a no hitter, so maybe we shouldn't talk about this until tomorrow.
Uhh, you're about a month too late with that.
How so many people are going crazy over such a pointless metric is beyond me. It's based off comparing stats with a fictional minor league player, fergodsakes! I honestly just see this as ESPN freaking out that their midseason "lock" for the MVP (Trout) no longer looks like the most deserving candidate. Also, I can imagine, as much as we and so many others love Miggy, many marketing departments aren't too thrilled with having to turn Cabrera into a bankable marketing star, which they would clearly have to try to do if he has an MVP trophy to go along with a triple crown. Just my little conspiracy theories as to why WAR has picked up a lot of steam as of late...
(Putting Team First)
But somehow I'm not too concerned about the MVP. There's one (or two) of those every year. How often is there a triple crown?
Well, considering Trout's team will finish with a better record than Cabrera's, that kind of works against your argument.
Guess I should have posted above in the change-of-fielding-position discussion.
Better record is meaningless if you fail to achieve the first goal (which is to win the division).
Additionally, since the Tigers clinched, they had nothing to play for in the last two games anyhow and might have been able to tie the Angels in won-loss if it really mattered.
and the reason that the comparison to a 'fictional minor leaguer' makes sense comes not from when the team is already assembled, but during team construction.
If a team gets great offense out of defensive positions like 2b,ss,cf and catcher, then it is much easier and cheaper to acquire a given level of production at the offensive positions.
For example, if I already have a guy who has a 1000 OPS at SS, it might not cost a ton in either prospects or cash to get a 800 OPS 1st baseman. But if I have a 1000 OPS 1st baseman, its gonna cost significantly more in prospects/cash to get that 800 OPS SS.
So you have an average 900 OPS between the two positions in either scenario, but in the latter scenario, you've expanded more resources to get there. Thus starting off with the great SS is more valuable than having the great 1B.
What WAR does to a reasonably accurate (not perfect) degree is give front offices a way to accurately value players monetarily, thus knowing how to allocate resources efficiently and better knowing who is replacable and who it would be very costly to replace in an efficient market.
That said, WAR is a tool and should not be the complete basis of any argument, including teh MVP argument. And most any arguemnt made with WAR can be made with the individual components instead (weighted runs above average, ultimate baserunning, ultimate zone rating) to show which factors contributed most heavily to a players WAR #. Breaking WAR down into these components, it is much easier for a dissenter to argue which component exactly it is that they disagree with, rather than just eyeballing the #, and saying, 'oh thats off'.
For example, I think that Cabrera UZR is too low (for example Prince is much higher and Prince sucks at defense), and I know wRAA doesn't value RBI % ( Miguel's rbi's/ his rbi opportunities) and I know that Miguel has been really good at getting guys in at an above league average rate. So, its hard to put an exact value as to how undervalued Cabrera is, but I do think that the true WAR gap is less than 3.5, maybe closer to 1 or 2.
I would vote for Trout for MVP, not only because of WAR, but because he scores well in every single component measurable in baseball, and because Cabrera's performance this year has some additional drawbacks that go unnoticed (leads league in GIDP, lowest walk rate in 3 years etc).
Trout isn't exactly chopped liver compared to Cabrera:
45 more SBs
.003 higher OBP
probable gold glove winner (sorry Austin!)
20 more runs scored
.007 lower BA
14 less HRS
56 less rbis (wow!)
30 less slugging pct
It's a simple question of Trout's extra speed and defense vs. Cabrera's extra power + RBI. To dismiss this as a debate that should be one-sided is likely no more than a failure to see all sides of the argument.
"How is this not already handed to Cabrera and why is there even a debate... it's baffling." -- ESPN wants to create drama. Drama == PROFIT.
WAR is a nice framework stat but my biggest issue with it is the fact that the formula for calculating is not defined. How do Fangraphs and Keith Law calculate WAR when in and of itself has a subjective formula? If there is no specific formula wouldn't that lead to inconclusive results?
I certainly think the MVP is up for debate, it's the douches like Keith Law that thinks its an absolute runaway for Trout that make me go insane.
there's absolutely a specific formula, at least for hitting. There's 2 different versions of WAR out there (for pitchers and hitters), with the difference for hitters being how defense is measured. This has to do with batted ball and everything, which does bring into account human judgement, and is still deeply flawed, but is vastly superior to simple stats like fielding percentage and assists. but the biggest problem with it IMO is treating the defensive metrics as having no uncertainty when in fact they have a large uncertainty.
There is no specific formula. That's why several stat sites like Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, etc. all calculate it differently. This is something lifted straight from Wikipedia.
fangraphs WAR has a specific formula, and baseball reference WAR has a specific formula. there's no fudging or non-specificity in the formula. when people are distinguishing between the 2 they typically say fWAR or brWAR or something.
I think you guys agree with each other but don't realize it.
Yes, each service has a specific formula.
No, each service does not use the same formula.
But when calculating overall WAR you're also taking into account flawed defensive metrics. There is no debate that Trout is the far superior defender, but WAR is still a far from perfect measure of value.
Many have astutely pointed out that the defensive components of WAR are unreliable, especially in short sample sizes... I prefer 3 year running averages of DRS or UZR before making a judgement.
But Cabrera supporters are saying these metrics are unreliable and can't be trusted, thus they go on to completely ignore defense in their argument, and then use their subjective eye test of Cabrera's defense at 3rd to claim hes 'not as bad as you'd think' and do dumb stuff like quote fielding percentage and claim brownie points for moving from 1st to 3rd ( a reversal of a previous move he had to make because he used to be terrible at 3rd).
I think the advanced D metrics do slightly undervalue Cabrera's D, but that doesn't mean they should be discounted entirely.
Guillen being god awful at 1B had as much, if not more, to do with Cabrera originally switching positions.
A team had back to back MVPs at different positions?
pudge and arod?
pudge and gonzalez. the internet is a great place:
I think the issue with him sitting out today is based on the mystique surrounding these records created by Ted Williams. In '41, he was at .3995, which would have been rounded up to .400. Instead of sitting, he played a doubleheader and went 6 for 8 to finish at .406.
I think the media will chastise Leyland/Miggy if he sits regardless of whether he deserves to or not. I personally think there should be no issue if he sits (he has only missed one game), but hope he plays to really seal the deal.
Valid points, and as a counter I would add that in 1941 they played like 150 games, and by the end of the season the Sox were like 17 games behind the Yankees. So that was it for Williams, whereas Cabrera has another session of games to prepare for
...Cabrera plays and injures himself such that he misses the playoffs, then we'd never hear the end of it. That alone is enough reason to justify sitting Cabrera regardless of the Triple Crown situation.
I'm okay with Trout winning the MVP - the guy has had an amazing year and one that hasn't been seen before. And the only reason his team isn't in the playoffs is because of the division they play in - all three teams have a better record thant the Tigers. And to be fair, this is actually Cabrera's worst overall season of the past three (minor differences admittedly), so it is a little weird that this is the mortal lock year when two years ago he had better slash numbers and nearly the same classic HR/RBI/Avg. breakdowns.
Personally, I'd love to see the Tigers go back-to-back MVPs, but I'm okay with a transcendent year like Trout's being recognized.
Well, Miggy has 14 more homers this year than last - a career high. So, not quite the same as the previous few years.
I wanna preface this by saying that I'm a casual baseball fan and dont understand all the intricacies of the sport.
A great argument made for Cabrera being more "valuable" to the Tigers than Trout is to the Angels that hasn't been brought up here yet and I thought I would share.
Cabrera is responsible for plating 204 runs. (His runs scored + his RBI - his HR so they aren't counted twice).
So thats 109+139-44= 204
The Tigers have scored 725 runs so far this season meaning Cabrera has had a hand in 28.1% of all the runs scored.
Trout meanwhile is responsible for 182 runs (129+83-30). The Angels have scored 693 runs since Trout was called up.
So Trout has had a hand in 26.26% of his teams run production.
That means even with all his extra speed on the bases, Trout still isn't "as valuable" offensively to his team as Cabrera has been to the Tigers.
So with that said, I think the debate then comes down to how much emphasis you put on defense. I'll leave that to those of you who know better.
I like this and it leads to an interesting question. How many runs did Trout score simply because he put himself in scoring position via the steal? How many times did he steal 3rd and score on a sac fly?
There is actually a stat called Runs Created, which attempts to measure exactly what the name implies. IIRC, Cabby is up 139 to 136 over Trout, but if you're going to make the MVP about runs created, you also have to look at runs taken away, and Trout crushes Cabrera in +/-.
But you haven't teased out how many of those runs have to do with the guys hitting around those two. Put Trout in the middle of the lineup, but still ahead of a big bopper, and his % here will go up.
I'm a Tigers fan and love Miggy, but if I had a vote I would vote for Trout. I just think he has contributed to the Angels in more ways and is a complete 5-tool player, a once in a generation talent.
Cabrera's Triple Crown is an awesome accomplishment, but in reality HR's are the only stat that is truly representative of a great season. AVG. is not nearly as important as OBP. And RBI doesn't really mean all that much except that the batters ahead of him were able to somehow get on base. Winning the Triple Crown would be nice, but has very little meaning in determining who is the better player. Trout's 49 steals are indicative of his excellent speed and base-running prowess,and Trout is most definitely a better defensive player than Miggy. While I agree Cabrera probably has played better than Trout recently, and he may well end up winning the MVP, I would not be voting for him.
I think the book is still out on Trout. No doubt he has elite speed and is an outstanding fielder, but there are already indications that pitchers have begun to catch up to him at the plate as his hitting has tailed off a bit the past two months. Elite hitters still get on base despite pitchers knowing how to pitch to them. Trout has yet to prove that he can do that. In a year or two, if he's still hitting .340 and scoring 120 runs, then I will grant you that he's the next great player, and if he's still doing that, he'll get his MVP award and the Angels will be making the playoffs.
Can I get a little clarification from you on something? Are you advocating that Trout is undeserving of the MVP because he hasn't been succesful for very long? I'm genuinely not trying to start a fight I just haven't heard the argument that Trout hasn't proven he can get on base consistently. Trout's September hasn't been as productive as the rest of his season was but he was still one of the best players in baseball during that time. He has basically a full season under his belt at this point and it has been one hell of a season. He may never produce a season like this again because some of the best players in baseball simply can't always reproduce that type of season. Just because Trout hasn't had success for multiple consecutive seasons like Cabrera doesn't mean you can simply discount what he's done THIS season.
Trout is having the greatest season in MLB history for a 20 year old.
He's as good of a bet to be a generational talent as there has ever been.
Discounting RBIs as being primarily a result of circumstances beyond the hitter's control while pumping up stolent bases, which are just as circumstantial as RBIs (the pitcher's delivery speed, the catcher's arm, accuracy, and delivery speed, the type and placement of the pitch, whether the opposing team is even concerned if you steal in that situation or not, etc...) is a tad disingenuous.
It's not a coincidence that Austin Jackson has had a career year getting on base (I was dead wrong on him) and Cabrera's sudden boost in RBI.
As a Tigers fan, i certainly want Cabrera to win the MVP, but i can make a compelling arguement for either player. And i certainly wouldn't feel like it's a travesty if Trout wins.
However, i'd end up voting for Miggy based on a few things. One, the higher average over more games; not playing as many games isn't Trout's fault, but it's still a fact. Two, Trout's production has fallen off in August and September. Three, late season and late inning production stats really favor Cabrera. Four, the intagibles of switching positions to a more difficult to field position and performing above expectations (certainly not being a liability). This one you could balance out with Trout being a rookie, which counts for something; on the other hand, Trout has only proven that he's really fast and had an incredible couple of months in the middle of the season.
In the end and assuming Cabrera wins the Triple Crown, that will matter a hell of a lot more than winning the MVP. Cabrera will be on a short list with some of the games greatest hitters and will be the last Triple Crown winner for what could be a few decades based on history. In five years Trout winning the MVP will be forgotten by most except when it pops up as a question about rookie MVP winners in bar trivia or becomes the exclamation point on the first season of an incredible career.
Hamilton, 2 ABs, no HR through 3. He is up 2nd in the 4th.
Hamilton strikes out in the 4th.
Holy crap the A's are playing some inspired baseball, that was a crazy 4th inning!
I fully agree and I hate to say this but you're probably never gonna convince many people that WAR is a useful stat. It isn't a HUGELY subjective stat, but there is a degree of uncertainty to it because of the nature of evaluating defensive ability and baserunning. People tend to either trust the stats and math that go into producing WAR or they cling to the old-guard stats. The people in the middle (like most on this board) that are willing to consider WAR but are still a little skeptical are few and far between.
More importantly you're also not gonna convince a bunch of Tigers fans of its immense value and that is simply because right now WAR says there has been a guy with a significantly better season than Cabrera did. That's not necessarily a bad thing. WAR is easy to discount because it hasn't been widely accepted yet and because quantifying baserunning and defense is difficult to do and even more difficult to understand. The argument against WAR being the end-all-be-all makes sense because trying to condense all the things a guy does onto the field into one useful stat does seem rather impossible.
Full disclosure, I like WAR. I think it is an extremely useful stat to guide further evaluation of a player's production. The argument about Trout vs. Cabrera will just come down to what each voter values in their baseball players though. If all a voter cares about is what a guy does at the plate the choice seems pretty obvious. If Trout wins the MVP it probably will signal a major changing of the guard in voter thinking about the MVP award (kind of like King Felix's Cy Young did).
For the most part I agree, but one point of contention, RBI isn't the worst stat, saves is.