But you, sir, make a legitimately persuasive case.
further adventures in Jed York being unsuited for his position
But you, sir, make a legitimately persuasive case.
The one thing that most stats, even the advanced sabermetric stats often leave out is context, which is why they can't be used in a vacuum, no matter how useful they can be.
You're on a roll tonight. Now go write an email to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports and tell him to get off his high Sabermetrics horse.
A big reason that Cabrera had better numbers was because of the park that each guy had to play in.
Care to elaborate? Comerica is a big time pitcher's park.
This is such a common misconception.
It's been in the top half of runs/game for five of the last six seasons. Once they moved the fences in almost TEN YEARS AGO, the myth that it's a pitcher's park has somehow continued to persist.
EDIT: I'd also add that Angel Stadium is consistently near the bottom as far as runs scored (and HRs). A true pitchers' park.
You're mostly right, but I don't think the park factors tell the whole story; the truth is, Comerica is still tough on right-handed power hitters. Notice that it's still without doubt a triples park; Cabrera is not a triples hitter, and Comerica has one of MLB's deepest center fields (if not the deepest) at 420 (and an actual deepest point of more like 425) and even though left-center is said to only be 370, it's kind of a generously-close-to-the-line definition of left-center. If Comerica didn't have that nice shortish porch for lefty hitters in right field, it probably would still be on the pitchers'-park side of the line.
It's probably not a completely unfair myth given those center-field expanses.
For me, the thing is that the MVP (similar to the Heisman) is an emotional award that helps define the overall baseball season's narratives. Emotional and irrational...and that's why sabrmeticians will be pulling their hair out for years to come. It's why we chose the MVP by vote rather than simply handing it to whoever posts the best WAR number.
Looking at the numbers, yeah, Trout had a better statistical season and is probably the better player but where's the story? Cabrera barrelling down the stretch to capture the Triple Crown (the first in 45 years & perhaps the only that many of a generation will ever see) while leading his team into the playoffs and a come-from-behind division championship in the face of huge expectations and heavy scrutiny...now that's the story of 2012. That's what people will remember (even many non-Tiger fans) when they think of baseball history and it's relation to 2012.
It's similar with Heisman. Did either Howard or Woodson have statistically dominant seasons? Not really, but they captured the moments that defined the essence of their respective seasons. That's why they won.
Now as we know, sometimes statistical greatness is enough to win a Heisman or MVP but that usually occurs in seasons when they don't have the competition from somebody spining magic out of thin air. Trout may have more horses but Cabrera bagged a unicon and that is why Trout got pipped at the post in the MVP race.
room for anothe star player... that is selfless, and more than makes up for defensive arguments.
yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the right guy won.
against a Triple Crown winner?
Trout was a better fielder and base runner, and was more important to his team. Plus he was only slightly behind Cabrera in hitting. This isn't most valuable hitter, it's most valuable player.
..and proper. But I'm horribly biased as a Tigers fan. Trout had a fantastic year, too, but the old-schooler in me says it's illegal to vote against a triple crown winner.
I just took a look at their stat splits. Before/After the All-Star break for BA is .341/.312 for Trout and .324/.337 for Cabrera. In August and September, Trout hit .284 and .257(!) whereas Cabrera hit .357 and .308. Cabrera hit just above his season average for the last 2 months, and Trout tailed off heavily.
Another interesting stat is that Trout hit 30 points lower with runner on base as opposed to the bases empty, but Cabrera hit 20 points higher in the same situation. With 2 outs and runners in scoring position, Trout's numbers were .286/.435/.347/.782 for the season. Cabrera's were .420/.491/.720/1.211(!!!). Cabrera gets better with the pressure on, Trout gets noticeably worse. This is why RBIs need to be taken into account. A 2-out single with the bases empty is not worth the same as a 2-out single with runners in scoring position.
This is not me cherry picking stats either. There's not a major hitting category where Trout was better (or at least better by enough to discuss).
What do the players think? They are actually the ones who have to play against both guys and I'm guessing most of them can recognize a good ball player.
I heard on the radio out here that the players were nearly all in favor of Cabrera. And this was LA radio, so if it was biased, it would be in favor of Trout.
Most of them dont know how to put proper valuations on players.
Let me just throw this out there, in all honesty, who has ever even heard of WAR and used it in an arguement before this year? Now that all the talking heads are talking about it, everyone is an expert on it and it suddenly matters.
Now on the opposite side, who before this year has heard of the Triple Crown? I'm willing to bet that the majority of people on this website are under 45, and have never seen a Triple Crown winner in their life, let alone think that they were ever going to see a Triple Crown winner.
I am an incredibly bias Tigers fan, but don't sit here and tell me WAR is more important when you didn't even know what it was before the Trout for MVP talk. The first Triple Crown winner in 45 years wins the MVP hands down. If the roles were reversed and Trout won the Triple Crown while Miggy had a better WAR, better base running, and fielding, Trout would get my vote. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but there is NO arguement for the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years to not win the MVP.
You can't say there's no argument. Ted Williams didn't win the MVP when he had a Triple Crown. And what if it was a DH who got the triple crown? Would you automatically give it to him then?
Yes, I would have. Being a DH is a position player, so why wouldn't they be able to win the MVP? Also, it didn't take Ted Williams 45 years to win the Triple Crown. It took him 5 years to win his first one after Medwick, then 5 years again. And yes, I do think it's a sham he didn't win the MVP.
Strike a pose makes a good point, the mystic of the Triple Crown is that it hasn't happened in so long. Most of us have never seen one and probably wondered if we ever would. And, who knows, it might be the only one we see.
Now, I'm not arguing that Triple Crown automatically equals MVP but given the context, whoever broke the drought would gain a huge amount of political capital in the MVP vote whether it was Cabrera or someone else.
Just because you didn't hear of or use WAR before this year doesn't mean plenty of other people didn't. It is a useful stat that is gradually making its way into the public's consciousness. It isn't a perfect stat, but it sure does say a lot about a player beyond what he does at the plate or on the mound.
On to your point about having never seen a triple crown winner - what does it matter? Is it historically relevant? Yes. Has it been done before? Yes. Did every guy that won a triple crown get the MVP? No. Why is that? Probably because there is way more to playing the game of baseball than batting average, RBI, and home runs. Cabrera has significant deficiencies in the field and is a liability on the basepaths. If he hits two fewer home runs he isn't a triple crown winner but his season isn't markedly worse. Yet you are saying that having "triple crown winner" attached to his name is really all that matters for MVP voting.
Actually, I have heard of WAR before this year. I am talking about the majority of people that haven't that are now using it as an arguement. My point was that the majority of people never heard of WAR, but have heard of the Triple Crown. The majority of people knew how hard it was to win the Triple Crown, but never heard of WAR. So why is it now WAR is more important than the Triple Crown just because ESPN said it is?
Having never seen a Triple Crown winner does matter. 45 years worth of mattering. That's like saying that 10 of Michigan's National Championships don't matter since they happened before 1949.
Honestly, the "well Ted Williams didn't win MVP" arguement doesn't really stand up. Look at the stat lines between Williams and Gordon in '42, and Williams and Dimaggio in '47. They're not even close. It's an obvious sham that Williams didn't win MVP either year.
3 cheers for 3 crowns and an MVP
In all fairness i like Nate Silva and considering his buisness he had to pick Trout. More like stuff it, WAR! Something to be said for the true power numbers Cabby posted especially with his BA at Comerica.
It doesn't depress offensive numbers. It has actually played slightly offensive the past few years according to park factors (how much each park influences offense)
That's actually a very good question. Park factors are calculated based on the average number of runs scored in a team's home games divided by the average number of runs scored in a team's road games. This value is normalized by multiplying by 100. Pitcher friendly parks have lower values and hitter friendly parks have higher values. Miggy should still be Miggy on the road and at home. Players aren't *supposed* to be able to influence park factors. One crticism of doing park factors this way is that it ignores things like crowd noise and input into the game, and the higher comfort level many players feel at home.
Since you mentioned it, his post is pretty on point and manages not to reference WAR explicitly:
Nate Silver puts the Trout argument much better than I can.
It's not about WAR. It's about the fact that Trout brought more value than Cabrera did, with his superior baserunning and fielding making the difference.
Some people can vote for MVP based on "making the playoffs" or a "Triple Crown" or "most feared hitter" or the argument I've heard the most, "he just is!!!". That's fine. It's their vote. I would personally vote for the person who brings the most overall value, and this year, that player was Trout.
Yeah, Silver is smart enough to know that WAR is as much a lightning rod as any of the stats he helped defend/invent/promote during his tenure at BP.
What's really sneaky about his argument is that he's just breaking down WAR into its components and then drawing conclusions. He's also justifying the lack of WPA or Clutch in its construction. If you buy the Silver argument, then you buy the basic WAR framework. But he doesn't mention it once.
TIL: Nate Silver isn't just a much better statistician than me.
So, apparently there are a couple different outfits that publish such a statistic, and they each have a different slant on how to calculate it. As far as I got, it appears that a decent approximation for the batting piece was 3*OBP+SLG AVG. But, if that's the case then the batting piece at least doesn't adjust for the fact that Trout didn't play the first month or month and a half. Is this true? If so, it seems like kind of a problem, no?
He only ended up with about 60 fewer plate appearances than Miggy.
And even if you multiplied his WAR by 5/6, you'd still have one higher than Miggy. But, I'm not sure ABs are the right metric for WINS over replacement. 5 ABs, 3 ABs, 12 ABs, it's still just one game and hence one possible win. If you're in the minors, you are by definition worth no more than the replacement guy .
It already adjusts for playing time differences. if there was a WAR/162 stat that normalizes it to a full season then it'd make sense to divide but not here.
I guess there are a couple things that continue to bug me in regards to this debate or whatever you'd like to call it:
1. Trout's offensive season was more historic than Cabrera's. Nobody has ever hit 30 homers, stolen 49 bases and scored 129 runs while hitting .326. Not one player. Ever. In fact, the two players who went 30/50 (pre-roid Bonds/Eric Davis) barely hit .300 or scored 100 runs. But because it doesn't have some fancy title to it, people fail to regard its significance. Cabrera's season was incredible, but I'd argue his season in 2010 was even better.
2. Pro-Cabrera people have no merit in a defense-based argument. They just say "oh he was better than we thought he'd be" or whatever. Trout's defensive season can be measured as elite sabermetrically. As an indicator of his range, he robbed four HRs this year (only the 4th player in 10 years to do it). Also, the Angels were second in baseball in allowing doubles and triples defensively. Cutting off the gaps are the centerfielder's primary responsibility. Also, like I said, it's hard to quantify defense without using saber stats, but the total difference between the two players using those saber stats are so wide that it's pretty clear who is the far superior defender.
3. Cab's late surge in August and September is what won him the title. People say he carried them when they needed it most. If you actually look at the schedule....you'd see over the last ten games of the season when the division was completely in doubt, Cabrera hit .210 with 2 homers and 4 RBI. The counter-argument would be that his surge is what helped put Detroit in a position to make that run. This is 100% true. It also justifies the argument that Trout outperforming Cabrera from May to mid-August is what put LA in a better position to win more games in a tougher division.
I like Cab and am happy he's MVP. I just think the argument for Trout is a better one.
Because it's a completely made up relation of stats. You could probably find some other combo that no one has one before for all sorts of highs and lows. It's statistical happenstance that basically says "he was good", not that he reached some milestone.
How is that any different than the triple crown? You're proving my point.
The Triple Crown is a made up relation of stats that are deemed signifcant by people because it has a name attached to it.
What Trout did was a never-accomplished combination of four mainstream statistics. The radical difference in some (HR to SB) are an even more impressive display of his ability.
The 3 most important hitting statistics/rankings. There's a perfectly logically correlation, not a random mish-mosh of stats. Cabera also led the league in slugging percentage and total bases. But you don't seen anyone trying to make it some strange 5 way statistical achievement. Because it's just random happenstance. Could have led the league in strike outs or being hit by pitches too, and Trout would have been the first to do that with the others too, but it wouldn't actually mean anything.
A running back who is tops in yards, average per carry, and TDs are three logically relatable stats expected from the position, and even though there's no anal baseball like title for it, you can see why they'd be grouped. You could add kickoff returns or receiving yards or something even more arcane, and it would be an achievement to do it, but it just means that no one bothered to group all that before. Not that it was a milestone someone was seeking.
but the one about Cabby's last 10 games is a little misleading. Once the had the division locked up he played sparingly. Not to mention the only leg of the triple crown really in doubt was home runs.
Thats all, like i said the rest of it, i dont really have an argument for.
The A's came back from as many as 14 down to win the division on the last day of the season against a team that looked like the best in MLB for most of the year. So tougher division, yeah, but why couldn't the Angels make a run at the division. And if Trout was such a world beater this season, where was he in September when they would have needed to make that push. Oh that's right, hitting .257.
If Cabrera didn't win, I was going to riot. I do think Trout had the better all around year, but Cabrera has deserved the MVP for years and that needed to be considered.
Ok, before this year, how many of you have ever argued this passionately over the league MVP award? No one? Well then, thank you Media..........
Just last year many of us were arguing that the MVP should be Verlander despite the fact that it is so difficult for pitcher's to win it.
Trout had an incredible season, if you forget his work at the plate in September.
The fact remains that the award is not a pure statistical award. Miggy's the kind of player that can, and does, win games with a single swing of the bat. And while having incredible power, he's a great deal more than that. He's a pure hitter. One who has been in the voting for the MVP multiple times and for good reason. So it's not that he won the Triple Crown this year by itself, that the Tigers made the playoffs while the Angels did not (tougher division, whatever, the friggin A's won that division and were down 14 games at one point).
Those writers were looking at a lot of things, and i'd bet that a lot of them decided that the Triple Crown put Cabrera over the top because it's a special accomplishment by a guy with a lot of accomplishments.
As of today, Trout's season was a fluke. Maybe it was such an amazing fluke that he should have won the award, maybe not. We'll see if his numbers over the next few years look like his early 2012 or that scorching .257 he hit in September while the lowly, small money A's were winning the division.