OT: Cabrera to win Triple Crown Tonight?

Submitted by Allin4Blue on October 3rd, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Cabrera will most likely make history tonight against the Royals. 

-Hamilton has to face one of the toughest pitchers in baseball right now (Griffin) who has only given up 10 HRs all year (three of them against the Tigers). Not to mention he would have to hit 2. 

-It's pretty much assumed he's won the RBI title. 

-Batting Average will most likely be won as well since 1 hit by Cabrera would nearly make it impossible for anyone to catch him.  He will most likely get 2-4 at bats tonight and would have to go 0-4 while Trout would have to hit 4-4 to catch him.  If Cabby hits 1 for 3, Trout would need 6 for 6 to catch him.  So it's likely that one hit or one out by Trout all but guarantees the Batting Average title.

(ESPN is going to Air every at bat from him.)

The Crazy thing is that he still might not win the MVP! 

Cabrera: 1st Triple Crown since '67, Playoff team, huge lead in OPS, SLG, and is 6th among 3rd baseman in Fielding percentage

Trout:  Tied for 34th in assists among CF, did not make the playoffs, 9th in Fielding percentage among CF. 

How is this not already handed to Cabrera and why is there even a debate... it's baffling.

Trout has four edges: stolen bases, runs, OBP, and WAR (which is the the most subjective Stat ever invented in baseball).

Not to mention Cabrera appeared in 161 of 162 games and trout only appeared in 139.





October 4th, 2012 at 8:01 AM ^

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!


October 3rd, 2012 at 11:23 AM ^

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.

French West Indian

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

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.

the fume

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:23 PM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

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.

Colt McBaby Jesus

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 11:23 AM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 11:39 AM ^

Absolutely nothing.

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...


October 4th, 2012 at 12:43 AM ^

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).

the fume

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 12:11 PM ^

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.

the fume

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:20 PM ^

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.

the fume

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 12:37 PM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 6:15 PM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 12:33 PM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

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.

Bill the Butcher

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:52 PM ^

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.


October 3rd, 2012 at 1:14 PM ^

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 +/-.


October 3rd, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

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.