The American League MVP discussion in 2014 will come down to two guys. I know it. You know it. Every talking head, regardless of their typical interest in Major League Baseball, knows it. It is Miguel Cabrera and it is Mike Trout. It is the faux debate between old school and new school. It is the two best players on the planet battling it out for an award that we probably care a lot more about than they do.
The Contenders: Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout
By Wins Above Replacement (WAR) according to BaseballReference.com, Cabrera has been a combined 14.7 WAR the last two seasons. That means that the Detroit Tigers would be 14 wins worse without Cabrera’s incredible offensive output. That number is staggering. So that puts things in perspective when you note that Trout has a combined 19.7 WAR over that same period of time.
More important than the debates of “analytics” versus “old school” is this: the Angels have been a massive disappointment each of the last two seasons. I think the stink surrounding Trout’s team, combined with the continued success of the Detroit Tigers, has lingered in this conversation more than we would care to admit. Because, you know, embrace debate.
All Cabrera did in 2013 was follow up a Triple Crown season with even better numbers. All Trout did was follow up a historic rookie season with an even better 2013 campaign. We would all benefit from spending less time getting mad about who’s better and spending more time appreciating how great they are.
In the Conversation: Evan Longoria, some other guys who won’t win
Nothing is guaranteed, of course, because a lot can happen over the course of a long season. But it will be an upset if this award does not come down to the same two guys in 2014 that it did the two years prior.
The Winner: Mike Trout
It is always going to be splitting hairs when it comes to these two, who are dissimilar enough in their overall skill sets that we are silly to get so mad about who’s better. They’re both phenomenal, and I believe this will be a matter of the Angels being a lot closer to the Tigers in the standings more than anything else.