Cabrera & Posey take home MVP honors

Open Thread: Yankees on Broadway
Mailbag: Boesch, $200M, Harper, Slash Lines

Unsurprisingly, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was named the MVP of the AL tonight and it wasn’t all that close. He received 22 of 28 first place votes (362 pts) and Mike Trout (281 pts) finished a distant second. For shame. Robinson Cano (149 pts) finished fourth behind Miggy, Trout, and Adrian Beltre (210 pts). Derek Jeter (73 pts) finished seventh, which does not trigger the $2M escalator for his 2014 player option. There are still enough bonuses available for him to max that thing out at $17M, though. Rafael Soriano (one eighth and one ninth place vote) and Raul Ibanez (one tenth place vote!) also received votes while Hiroki Kuroda got shutout. I was hoping he’s grab a vote or ten, but oh well.

On the NL side of things, Buster Posey (422 pts) beat out the trio of Ryan Braun (285 pts), Andrew McCutchen (245 pts), and Yadier Molina (241 pts) pretty handily. There were like, six guys who could have legitimately won that award, but no one noticed because of the Trout-Miggy stuff. The full ballots are here (AL, NL), and the awards season is mercifully over. On to the hot stove.

Open Thread: Yankees on Broadway
Mailbag: Boesch, $200M, Harper, Slash Lines
  • bobby valintino

    good for melky

  • Tom

    4 people left Cano completely off the ballot.

    John Lowe Detroit free press (the guy who put Ibanez 10th), had Jim Johnson in 3rd and Cano not even on the ballot. I don’t mind the random 10th place throw away vote, but this guy should not have voting privileges or needs to watch more baseball.

    • DT

      I’m laughing that Raul got a vote.

      • Trace McGuire

        The reason Ibanez got a vote as ridiculous as it may seem, is because without his clutch hits the Yankees would’ve been home in October. Needless to say the postseason heroics. 12 of his 19 homers either tied or won the game and he slugged over .600 in pressure situations!

        • Captain

          aren’t the votes done before the postseason? he had the big Red Soxs game to keep them ahead for the division but his regular season performance should not have warranted a vote.

  • forensic

    God forbid people be allowed to have opinions and not just do whatever the computer tells them without taking anything else into account.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      God forbid people be allowed to have opinions and not just do whatever some scribe in the 1910s thought was a good way to measure player production without taking anything else into account.

      • forensic

        Where did I say that was the right way to do it? People are getting crucified for actually daring to vote against WAR. People aren’t getting crucified for voting for Trout.

        But go on trying to make it seem that way.

        • Tom

          What’s even better is the people voting for Trout, should have been voting Cano second if they are applying the same “overall game” argument (he was easily 2nd in both bWAR and fWAR); so they technically should be getting crucified by that same crowd too.

          Dave Cameron at Fangraphs must have written 10-20 articles on why Trout should win and why everyone else’s viewpoint is just dumb/ingorant/ridiculous. He even managed to write two more articles today before the voting took place (I think he saw the writing on the wall)

          I’m a big fan of advanced stats but I have become sickened with the growing arrogance of the general community and the us vs them mentality and the belief that there could only be one wrong and right view on most topics. Even as a proponent of these stats if you make a critical comment there it turns into a mob mentality with a bunch of thumbs down votes and people will twist the comment into some absurd hyperbole to point out the “stupidity” of a counter opinion or a critique of an argument.

          • Yankonymous

            I don’t understand why they are even sports fans, IMO, which is really only entertaining for the human element.

            What they should be watching is simulations, which is preferable since outcomes always align with their perceptions of reality.

            • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

              Wrong. The outcomes of simulations don’t *always* align with the expected results, they align with the expected results at the expected rate given a large enough sample over a meaningful enough period of time ;)

            • Ted Nelson

              You should try to understand what stats are, because your comment makes it pretty clear that you don’t. They attempt to measure what happened on the field–the human element you talk about–and only have so much predictive value. They do not tell you what will happen on the field. The can be used to give you a projection of the likelihood of various outcomes, but they don’t pretend to tell you what’s going to happen. This is true for statistics as a field, not just in baseball. This is a really ubiquitous academic discipline you can take a class on at any university, not something a bunch of baseball geeks made up.

              That you are ignorant on the subject is a good reason to learn more about it, not to slam people who know more than you.

          • Pat D

            Well, to nitpick, the voting didn’t take place today, just the announcement of the results.

            But I have come to the conclusion that Dave Cameron is a self-serving prick.

            • Tom

              Damn nitpicker! Got me on the voting timing! :-)

              I read the articles there regularly and there are some very talented writers and analytical people who don’t have an agenda, but I’ve come to the conclusion that his articles often fall under 2 major categories:

              1) Generate hits/traffic for the site. As an example he will tweak Yankees fans with headlines to get the pro/anti Yankees folks going back and forth

              2) Exaggerate a MSM position to show how stupid they are and how smart SABR folks are (or in some case just how smart he is). The problem is he often takes an isolated quote or comment, exaggerates it and assigns it as a strawman to a larger group and then refutes it.

          • Cliff

            You don’t need advanced stats to tell that Trout is better than Cabrera. This isn’t one of those situations. He was better than him in every single facet of the game, including hitting, easily. It’s just dumb to vote for a lesser player because he happened to be first in three random but traditional categories, while ignoring the vast majority of categories Trout dominated.

            • forensic

              Better in hitting, easily? Even the computers don’t say that.

              • Need Pitching & Hitting

                Yeah, I’d think just about everyone would agree Cabrera was the more valuable hitter. It’s just a question of whether Trout’s baserunning and defense are enough to offset that.

            • Duh Innings

              Most Valuable Player, not Best Player.

              Take Trout off the Angels and the Angels still don’t win a wildcard slot.

              Take Cabrera off the Tigers and the Tigers miss the postseason.

              • JAG

                Put the Angels in the AL Central and they win the division.

                Put the Tigers in literally any other division in baseball and they’re eliminated halfway through September.

              • Ted Nelson

                Value is about how many games your team won with you compared to how many games your team would have won without you (holding the replacement constant). That’s your value to your team, and is actually worth relatively more on a worse team. You can’t do much to control who your teammates are, so I don’t see how you can hold the individual player responsible. The award isn’t “team that most wouldn’t have made the playoffs without this guy, based on who his teammates were and who else was in their division.”

  • Joel Skinner

    Im just starting to understand all the sabermetrics and I have an open mind to why people believe that Trout should have won but it is tough to say that it is a shame that people voted for a triple crown winner for the MVP.

    • forensic

      Clearly Cabrera should’ve only been 3rd or 4th, at best…

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        3rd by computer/ 2nd by logic

        • forensic

          Depends which computer…

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            True. 3rd in fWAR, 4th in bWAR, 3rd in WARP.
            Best 2 out of 3.

          • MannyGeee

            my old Commodore in the basement (still runs Tee Oregon Trail game like a CHAMP!!!) thinks these guys are all pussies compared to Dwight Evans and Walt Weiss.

    • Bob Buttons

      My problem with sabermetrics people: some of them get too focused with the stats.

      Angels can’t even make the playoffs WITH Trout.
      Without Cabrera, Detroit won’t make the playoffs. Cabrera’s WAR alone makes the gap between them and White Sox.

      I’m not saying that by this logic a 2 WAR player on OAK should win, but considering how much Cabrera contributed and how he really did make a sizable difference he should get the edge.

      Say you’re stuck on a deserted island with John Doe, and there’s a magic ferry that takes you off it for $20, not a penny less (we’ll ignore how all this came to be.) John Doe has 25 dollars and he pays for his own ticket. You only got 10 dollars. Does it really matter if he gave you his extra 5 dollars?

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        The problem with this argument is the Angels had a better record and played in a tougher division. Does the fact that the Tigers played in a weak division make Cabrera’s performance more valuable?

        • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula


        • Anthony

          Exactly what I’ve been trying to explain to my friends…

        • Duh Innings

          So what the Angels had a better record and played in a tougher division? It’s not Cabrera’s fault his team wasn’t as good as the Angels by wins and wasn’t good enough to run away with the division title. The Tigers had to fight to make the postseason and made it, the Angels didn’t. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

          You seem to ignore that the Angels had an easier road to travel: 81 home games, games in Oakland, Seattle, Los Angeles, and other cities in California, plus games in Arizona and/or Colorado. 99 games in Anaheim (81), Oakland (9), and Seattle (9) alone.

          • JAG

            Actually, considering that the Tigers clinched long before any other AL team, it could be argued that they had to fight less than any other AL playoff team.

          • Ted Nelson

            The whole argument this line of comments started with was that the Tigers were better so somehow Cabrera is “more valuable.” It makes little sense, but that’s your “so what.”

      • forensic

        Making or not making the playoffs isn’t the be all, end all, but I think there is something to be said for playing in a pennant race and excelling.

        Cabrera had Over a 1.070 OPS in each of July, August, and September, while batting for a division title.

        Trout, while somewhat battling with playoff pressure, but not quite to the level of Cabrera’s team, had an insane July, followed by his two worst months of the season in August and September (about .900 OPS or lower in each of the two). and along the same lines, I don’t think it’s mentioned enough just how much that one month of july did to his numbers. His OPS was more than 300 points higher than any of his other months. It wasn’t quite as well spread throughout the season as Cabrera’s.

        • Count Zero

          Agree 100%. MVP is by definition a subjective award. It’s not: Highest fWAR, highest wOBA, or anything else like that.

          I’m not saying the stats don’t matter – they do — as a means of quantifying some aspects of a player’s “valuable-ness.” However, there is room for some rational subjectivity as well and forensic has made a pretty good case for why Miggy was more valuable here. Miggy got his team home. Trout did not.

          I can understand a vote for either one of these guys this year. Personally, I think I would have voted for Miggy myself, though it was a very tough call IMO.

          Say what you will about the 3C — the fact that no one did it for 45 years says something even though we all agree it is a measure of counting stats. The attention on him chasing it and the pressure of having the chance to do it put a lot of burden on him in Sept and he came through big for his team anyway. That counts for something in my book.

          • dalelama


          • Ted Nelson

            “However, there is room for some rational subjectivity as well and forensic has made a pretty good case for why Miggy was more valuable here. Miggy got his team home. Trout did not.”

            That argument is not particularly rational, though. Is it rational to say that a player’s value depends on having teammates that are pretty good, but just not quite good enough to make the playoffs without him, which is necessarily contingent on having other teams in the division that are just a bit worse? I would say that is completely irrational, not rational.

            The pressure argument I can see a little, but it is not necessarily logical either. All of these guys have a ton of pressure on them. If Miggy had been as good as Trout earlier in the season, Detroit might have been a few wins better going into September.

        • Ted Nelson

          I’m not sure the timing of your value actually matters. It’s the overall contribution during the season.

      • Ted Nelson

        Your value to your team has nothing to do with how many games your team won. It has to do with how many more games your team won with you than they would have won without you. In a sense, you can actually argue that the same good player is actually more valuable on a worse team, because his contributions account for a higher % of their wins.

  • Yankonymous

    Oh, thank heavens Jeter will still be able to make the $17M his final year. I was so worried about his finances, you know that Nike, VISA, Discover Card, Ford, Gatorade, Gillette Fusion, Fleer trading cards, Fleet Bank, Fila, Skippy (peanut butter), and Kraft Foods/Nabisco (Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers) endorsement money is so hard to live on.

    • Lew

      There are no “like” buttons on this site and I never use them, but would have for this one. Thanks Yankonymous, that brought a smile to my face.

      The only thing worse than all the money these players make is that the owners make even more.

      • Ted Nelson

        So don’t pay attention to MLB if you feel that way. The attention of the fans is why they get paid so much.

  • gc

    Here’s a question: Had Granderson or Hamilton hit one or two more homers and either tied or taken the home run lead, who do people think would have won the AL MVP award?

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Cabrera clearly would have been less valuable if Granderson hit more homers.

    • RetroRob

      If Cabrera didn’t win the Triple Crown, losing any one of the three categories, Trout would have won.

      • MannyGeee

        Miggy should LITERALLY buy Granderson and Hamilton Cadillacs for falling into black holes at the end of the season.

  • RetroRob

    The vote pretty much went as I thought. As much as sabermetrics has become accepted, there was just no way that the BBWAA members were going to ignore the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, especially when he’s on a team that won its division.

    Yet there is clear victory here for sabermetics. I’ve been following advanced metrics since the early 80s with my first Bill James Abstracts, and then The Hidden Game of Baseball by John Thorn and Pete Palmer. Thirty friggin years ago. The majority of MLB teams now use sabermetrics. It’s the reporters who are still stuck in the 1930s, and even that is now ending as evidenced by the debate we heard heading into the MVP vote. This never would have happened five years ago, ten years ago, certainly not thirty years ago.

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

      You would think that until,you read what that moron Mark Feinsand tweeted tonight when it was pointed out that he left Cano out of his top 10 despite finishing 2nd in the AL in WAR. “WAR means little to me” was his response.

      I’m not saying MVP should be whoever has the highest WAR but there’s no rational explanation to justify leaving Cano off the ballot completely. It’s just utterly ignorant.

      “Valuable” is a vague nebulous bullshit word that somehow has become defined as the best player on a team that made the playoffs which I think is idiotic. It should be changed to most outstanding player and be the position players equivalent of the Cy Young in my opinion.

      • dalelama

        Why not just create another award?

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I think Miggy deserved to win. All those people complain about that Trout outWARed him, played in a tougher division etc.
    That doesn’t take anything away from Cabrera. He won the friggin triple crown! He did it while playing half of his games in Comerica Park!

    He also did it while playing at 3rd, a position he didn’t play for years and he held his own there. His range makes him what it seems like a way below average defender BUT he’s also one of the top 3Bs when it comes to DPR and ErrR. Trout acutally has a negative ErrR and a below average arm.

    I also think that the BB/K ratio is very important when you look at elite hitters, nobody talks about that. Miggy clearly owns Trout in that category.
    Miggy had a “normal” BABIP (it actually was BELOW his career BABIP), Trout’s was pretty inflated. If we wanna look at sabermetrics we should look at ALL of them, not only those that prefer Trout ;)

    • Duh Innings

      The “tougher division” argument is nonsense because the West teams had the benefit of playing the THREE dregs of the AL Central (Cleveland, Kansas City, and Minnesota), the two dregs of the AL East (Boston and Toronto), and their own dreg for 18 games (Seattle.) That’s six teams they feasted on. Again, they get to play a base 99 games on the West Coast (81 in Anaheim + 9 in Oakland + 9 in Seattle) plus home games vs. NL West teams.

      It’s ridiculous that people aren’t noting like you are that Cabrera played half his games in a pitcher’s park.

  • Duh Innings

    For shame? Why’s that?

    Miguel Cabrera was the primary offensive force who lead his team to an AL Championship. Trout barely had to leave California / the Pacific-Mountain timezones or play the East Coast and was an unknown. Let’s see him equal or better his 2012 in 2013 with a full book on him.

    • pinchhitter

      So if he has another great year in 2013, he’ll get the 2012 MVP?

    • Herby

      Yea, the, “For Shame,” comment was one of the most over the top statements I’ve seen in a while, doesn’t even matter which way you come down on who won…is should’ve been a close vote…but wasn’t shameful either way.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Congratulations to the geography of Detroit for winning Miguel Cabrera the MVP award.

  • Maris61

    I believe Miggy deserved to win. Numbers notwithstanding, I feared Miggy more than any other batter.
    Although an outstanding hitter, I did not fear Trout’s defensive skills.

    • Will the Real MP Please Stand Up

      So now the award is the MFP, most fearsome player? Come on people, Trout was rather clearly better. Stop making excuses for the writers.

  • Pat D

    Hostess is closing, and it’s all the fault of the people who voted for Miguel Cabrera.

    Am I joking? I’ll never tell.

    • Yank the Frank

      Drakes is still in business, so Devil Dogs remain, all is not lost.

      • Pat D

        Hostess owns Drake’s, so……yea.

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

    Ridiculous. I would take Trout ’12 on my team over Miggy ’12 every single time.

  • hogsmog

    Being a ‘stats guy’ doesn’t just mean a ‘looking at WAR’ guy; that is a subjectively-computed metric which, though useful, can be combined in many different ways. I think what it does for me most is to critically discard stats that don’t matter (RBI, pitching wins), and supply me with league-normalized stats (OPS+, ERA+) or more objective ones (FIP). I think that this award should be as objective as possible, and I think team record should be worth absolutely nothing when votes are given.

    • Ted Nelson

      Well said.

  • Trace McGuire

    What we seem to be forgetting is Cabrera did something that hasn’t been done in 45 years!!!!!!! Anytime a player can do something that rare over 162 games it’s amazing!! It’s ridiculous that we can diminish what we witnessed Cabrera do this year based off of pseudoscience!

    • thenamestsam

      The record for sacrifice flies was set in 1954 by Gil Hodges. 19 in one year. If Player X breaks that record next year it will be an even more historic and rarer than what Cabrera accomplished. And yet it would be completely asinine to argue that it will automatically make Player X the MVP just because he has the most sac flies.

      Accomplishing historic feats is very neat. It’s part of what makes the game cool, and nobody is saying Cabrera’s year this year wasn’t cool, or interesting, or pretty darn great. It just happens to be eclipsed by how amazing Trout was. Who, by the way, had arguably the greatest season ever by a 20 year-old. Anytime a player can do something that rare over 162 games it’s amazing!! It’s ridiculous that we can diminish what we witnessed Trout do this year based off of pseudoscience!

      • Ted Nelson

        Agreed, especially that what Trout did was equally amazing.

  • thenamestsam

    This MVP race was not about WAR. It was about the idea that defense and baserunning are parts of baseball that matter.

    Any honest evaluation of the offensive accomplishments of both players will conclude that they’re very close. They have the same wRC+, but I think it’s reasonable to conclude that Cabrera comes out slightly ahead on offense, because of playing time (although it’s hard to blame Trout too much for his organization’s bad decisions), because he had better numbers at the end of the season (although this argument inevitably relies on arbitrary endpoints, and all the games do count the same in the standings), and even because he has that “fear factor” that Trout hasn’t replicated yet. But there is no way you can conclude that it’s not a close race on offense alone.

    So then either you think that baseball is about offense only, or you think that defense and baserunning matter. Because there’s no way given how close it is on offense that you can consider defense and baserunning and conclude that it’s anything other than a slam dunk for Trout. Because if you don’t think the difference between an elite baserunner who is also arguably the best defensive center fielder in the game, and Cabrera’s plodding running and “fielding” at 3rd is enough to make up for the thin margin for Cabrera on offense then you’re saying that defense doesn’t matter. Baserunning doesn’t matter. And in that case I’d say you might want to watch some more baseball before you try to have an opinion about it.

    • gc

      Thank you.

    • Ted Nelson


  • Marsha

    I’m not reading through all the comments so I’m not sure if this was posted/discussed but Nate Silver makes a pretty good argument for Trout as MVP.

  • Holy Ghost

    There’s no reason for anyone to be disappointed.
    There are strong arguments for both sides but I think winning the Triple Crown sealed it for Miggy.