Harms: Trout and Cabrera frontrunners in race for American League MVP
- Sep. 19, 2012
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This year the American League’s MVP race is going down to the wire. There aren’t three or four candidates up for consideration this year, there’s only two; Anaheim Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout and the Detroit Tigers veteran star, Miguel Cabrera.
Trout is the Angels’ 21-year-old center fielder who has had the biggest breakout year in ages for a rookie. Trout’s numbers at the plate include a batting average of .327, 27 home runs and 77 RBIs. These numbers alone should be able to qualify any major league player for consideration for an MVP, but Trout has 46 stolen bases in 50 attempts to go along with his production at the plate. The bottom line: Trout doesn’t get caught much. Not to mention he’s a stud in center field, robbing four potential home runs this year. Trout is a special breed of player because he succeeds in every major statistical category. Trout can hit for power, score runs at will, steal a base at any given time and track down nearly any ball that comes his way near center field.
Normally the stars in this league thrive in one or two batting categories, such as HRs or RBIs, but they might struggle with keeping a high batting average or striking out a bunch. For example the Chicago White Sox DH Adam Dunn has great power numbers with 39 HRs and 90 RBIs, but Dunn’s batting average of .211 is atrocious. Trout succeeds in all the different batting categories, which make him so unique when compared with other players in the league.
With Albert Pujols coming over to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from the St. Louis Cardinals and getting a monster contract, 10 years and $250 million, he was supposed to be the face of the franchise. Pujols has picked up his game of late but went on a huge slump to start the year. Mike Trout came alive and produced early and has out-shined Pujols. Trout is now the most talked about player on the Angels by the fans and media, and rightfully so. There is another special player out there besides Trout who is right now leading the AL in batting average, HR and RBIs and is considered the MLB’s best hitter: Miguel Cabrera.
According to many experts, Cabrera was in second place in the Al MVP race just a few days back, but after his big game against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, he made the case for why he should be in first. Cabrera went 3-4 at the plate hitting a grand slam, solo home run and a double. Cabrera finished with six RBIs as well, and he raised his batting average up three points to .333. The MVP award also accounts for which player finishes hot and how the candidate’s team is doing.
Over the last seven days Trout has only five hits in his last 22 plate appearances with no home runs or RBIs. Cabrera on the other hand has 13 hits in his last 26 plate appearances, four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last seven games. So it’s obvious Cabrera has the hotter bat right now, and this could be a huge factor in determining the winner. If these numbers keep up, Cabrera’s statistics will likely keep increasing with Trout’s numbers either declining or staying mostly the same. As far as their given teams go, Trout’s Angels are three games behind the New York Yankees for the AL’s final wild card spot, and Cabrera’s Tigers are five and a half games behind the Yankees. If one of these teams were to go on a run at the end of the season, make the playoffs and get big-time contributions from either Trout or Cabrera, this would provide a huge boost in their final MVP candidacy.
Cabrera leads the AL in every major batting statistical category and is not just pushing for the MVP award but also for the Triple Crown. This would be a monumental achievement because no one has won the Triple Crown Award in 45 years. In Cabrera’s previous MLB seasons he has been a star but has flown under the radar and been overshadowed by some of the bigger MLB stars. For instance, Cabrera has finished in the top five for the final MVP votes six separate times in his career but has never won it. This year Cabrera’s game is on another level, and if he could win the Triple Crown, it would be hard to argue against Cabrera’s success even with the brilliant season of the young Trout. Some fans and experts think it’s Trout by a landslide, while others believe that Cabrera is running away with the award. One things for sure is that this race is going to come down to the last few weeks of the season, and whoever steps up individually and helps their team succeed at the end will receive the AL MVP.
— Edited by Stéphane Roque