I Can Be Close Minded Too


Earlier this week, Jon Morosi posted this story at Fox Sports, and subsequently sent Angels fans on Twitter into a frenzy, as well as my jaw to the floor.

September 16, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder

Mike Trout

(27) at bat against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Let me start of by saying that if Miguel Cabrera wins the Triple Crown, it would be very difficult to not vote for him as MVP. It’s the same thing if a pitcher wins the Triple Crown, he’s the Cy Young, end of story. That is just how it is whether you agree with the Avg./HR/RBI slash line or not. It is still an incredible feat. With regards to Mike Trout, as far as batter’s box offense is concerned, Miguel Cabrera has very few, if any, equals. A middle of the order power threat who also hits for a very high average (Can I haz a Miguel Cabrera at third base please?). He’s legit, and if he stays on his current trajectory, a sure fire Hall of Famer.

That’s the thing though, he hasn’t won the Triple Crown as of now. Could he win it? Yes he could. Will he win it? Do I look like Madame Cleo to you? His entire candidacy hinges on whether or not he wins the Triple Crown as far as I am concerned. That’s his only shot, because outside of the batter’s box, he simply does not compare to Mike Trout‘s total package on the field.

Jon Morosi says that he respects the sabermetric argument for Mike Trout, but then leaves it at that. If you are going to claim that, “At this point, the American League Most Valuable Player award should be a formality, a signpost on Cabrera’s increasingly realistic route to immortality,” then at the very least, actually compare the two players. Don’t just say:

"The sabermetric analysis favors Trout. I understand and respect that. Any MVP voter for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America — as I was last year — should consider statistics such as Wins Above Replacement. Trout, an elite center fielder, is better than Cabrera defensively. He steals bases. His numbers are historic for a leadoff man."

For just a leadoff hitter? He’s on the cusp of having a 30-30 season, something that has only been accomplished 39 times. Miguel Cabrera might have been able to accomplish this if he had stayed away from the buffet line at Golden Corral.

"But Trout didn’t play his first game in the majors this year until April 28. That means something. MVP voters are instructed to consider games played. Well, Cabrera had given the Tigers 20 games of value before Trout took his first at-bat. Cabrera has appeared in all but one of Detroit’s games this season, despite battling an injured right ankle recently. He has, as Fielder said, “logged in every day.” And he’s had to post for about three more weeks than Trout."

Voters are instructed to consider games played, and I’m just guessing here, but I’m sure that means to take into account time missed by a player due to injury. Trout’s only injury was that he started the year in Salt Lake. Since arriving in the big leagues he has generated considerably more value than Miguel Cabrera. And honestly, it’s not even close. WAR isn’t the end-all-be-all stat, but it does take into account everything. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs did an impeccable job of comparing the two players without just quoting WAR and dropping the mic while exiting stage left.

"And remember that the MVP award, as per the BBWAA voting criteria, recognizes the “actual value of a player to his team.” For Cabrera, Fielder’s presence in Detroit is part of that value. If Cabrera hadn’t been willing to move from first base to third base during the offseason, Fielder probably would be a Dodger or Ranger. (Believe it or not, Cabrera is playing decently at third.)"

So, what you’re saying here is that Mike Trout’s value to the Angels is, what, imaginary? Decent at third? Maybe, if slightly below average with a -0.4 dWAR is your kind of thing (Mike Trout’s by the way 2.5). It’s not the worst of his career (that would be the -1.8 dWAR in 2008 where he registered a failtastic -31 defensive runs saved, woof), but it’s certainly not something worth writing home about.

Morosi also got “Experienced MVP Campaigner” (Is that a thing?) Prince Fielder to weigh in on the subject.

"“They’re totally different,” Fielder said of Braun and Cabrera. “Miguel, for one, has a different presence. You think it’s a guy who can just slug, but he’s a great hitter. He doesn’t get many infield singles. It’s hard to hit that high — with true hits — every time. “Not to mention, he dominates this ballpark. Man, this is not an easy place to (hit for power). It really isn’t. He makes it look easy. But it’s really not. Not at all, actually.“I don’t think he’s been getting enough credit, in my opinion. Right now, he’s the best right-handed hitter in the game.”"

A hit is a hit is a hit Prince. I doubt you would care how Trout got on base if he was on your team. And I’m not going to argue that Comerica is a difficult park to hit for power in, it looks huge, but Mike Trout did this there on July 17th. That would be the second longest opposite field home run of the year. Maybe you missed it Prince, it did get out pretty fast.

And wait, there’s more. Jon Morosi then got littered with questions on twitter after he posted this article. And like any good writer engaging in conversation about his topic he….ignored anyone that was not an “expert.”

Yeah, if you are a fan of baseball who just sits at home watching baseball while getting covered in pretzels, you are not an expert. Doesn’t matter how much baseball you know, Jon Morosi doesn’t care.

He then went on to mention the “fear/respect factor:”

Followed by:

And then:

And finally:

I can’t argue with the last one, because in all reality, you want both. I can argue his “fear/respect” stance though. Cabrera has his 15 intentional walks this year, second in the American League. Who’s number one? Prince Fielder with 18. So, by his logic, Cabrera isn’t even the most feared hitter on his own team. Do you know who else has 15 Intentional Walks? Albert Pujols. I promise you that I have not had a single conversation this year advocating Albert Pujols as the AL MVP, not one.

It doesn’t help Morosi’s cause that my heart got broken by Ernesto Frieri last night. It also doesn’t help that he looks like this.

If he had weighed in with his opinion by simply comparing the two players, these 1300 plus words would not have been necessary, I would not have this twitch behind my left eye, and I would not have needed to have my jaw wired back in to place. And seriously, I’m not the only one who thinks he looks creepy right?