NATE SILVER: Miguel Cabrera Shouldn't Win The MVP, Even Though He Won The Triple Crown

Miguel Cabrera

Photo: MLB

Nate Silver published a big post today arguing that Miguel Cabrera shouldn’t win the AL MVP over Mike Trout.The money paragraph:

“The argument on Trout’s behalf isn’t all that complicated: he provided the greater overall contribution to his team. Trout was a much better defensive player than Cabrera, and a much better base runner. And if Cabrera was the superior hitter, it wasn’t by nearly as much as the triple crown statistics might suggest.”

Silver started as a baseball sabermetrics guy, so he’s going back to his roots here after a long election season.

Here’s why he likes Trout for MVP:

  • Trout’s a better baserunner. Trout was safe on 49 of his 54 attempted steals. As a result, his baserunning contributed 12 runs more than the average player, whereas Cabrera’s baserunning was about three runs worse than the average player.
  • Trout’s a better fielder. According to UZR (an advanced fielding stat), Trout saved his team 11 runs on defence while Cabrera cost his team 10 runs. That 21-run difference basically nullifies the 22-run advantage that Cabrera had over Trout from his 14 additional home runs.
  • Trout’s just as clutch as Cabrera. Based on RBI per opportunity, Cabrera was only a hair better than Trout in the clutch.
  • Cabrera’s numbers weren’t all that great historically. His stats in the Triple Crown categories would have only been good enough for the Triple Crown in 2008 and 1972.
  • Trout’s team had a better record than Cabrera’s. The Angles won 89 games, the Tigers won 88, and if Trout had been in the majors all year, LA would have won 94 games.

The Cabrera vs. Trout debate has became a battleground between traditionalists vs. statistician. We all know what side Silver’s on.

Vegas had Cabrera as a 2-3 favourite to win when the regular season ended last month. Trout was listed at 6-5 odds.

The award will be announced tomorrow.

Read Silver’s whole analysis here >

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