The debate is over. Or at least the debate over who will win the American League Most Valuable Player is over. Miguel Cabrera won the intense competition with a landslide victory over my personal choice, Mike Trout. Not much more can be said about the cases for each candidate, as both camps have exhausted all resources trying to garner support for their cause. Cabrera followers have repeatedly cited his accomplishment of the prestigious (or meaningless, depending on your viewpoint) Triple Crown, his production down the stretch, and his team's ability to get into the postseason (notice I said "team's ability"). However, the Mike Trout faction has used analytical methodology to  show that defense and baserunning do matter, and that Trout's offensive gap to Cabrera was marginal. Heck, even some of Trout's most ardent supporters have presented evidence that he was actually better offensively than Cabrera. Yet, while I personally do not agree with the decision, I understand why the voters voted the way they did. Simply, voters tend to reward players for being on postseason teams and historical accomplishment. Just looking at the past 21 American League MVP Award winners, 20 of them came from playoff teams. Clearly, playoff teams have a huge amount of weight when it comes to this honor. Then, of course, Cabrera went out and completed the first triple crown in 45 years. There's no debate the Miguel Cabrera had an excellent season, and if you would have asked me 10 years ago the triple crown winner did not deserve to win the MVP, I would have called you crazy. I'm not going to further delve into why Trout was better than Cabrera. The vote is over and there has been enough argument over the subject.  

                However, one point I would like to tackle and debate is the hypocrisy involved in arguments for many so called experts. Many of them hold the notion that Mike Trout is indeed the best baseball player on the planet, but somehow, inexplicably, he is not the league's Most Valuable Player. I have been as much of a spectator to this debate as anyone, and I have seen or heard numerous debates for each side. Yet, when esteemed analysts such as MLB Network's Tom Verducci, Larry Bowa, and Mitch Williams all say Trout was the best player, but not as deserving as Cabrera, I am left scratching my head. Even BBWAA AL MVP voter, Tim Kurkjian, stated that although Trout was the best player he has seen this year, Cabrera received his vote for the league's highest honor. Huh? These writers and analysts keep pointing out that Cabrera was  more "valuable" than Trout. According to Merriam-Webster's, valuable is defined as "having monetary value" or "having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities." In other words, something that is the MOST valuable has the greatest monetary value and/or has the best traits and skills of a particular group. Why wouldn't the player who is considered the best in the entire sport, have the most monetary value or the most desirable abilities? Why wouldn't the best player have the most value, which in turn, makes his team as successful as possible? Why wouldn't the best player have the most impact on all phases of the game? This argument just continues to baffle me. To automatically assume that a player from a playoff team has more "value" than someone from a non-playoff team is lazy and flat-out ignorant. This assumption gives credit to a player for something he himself did not accomplish. The Tigers made the playoffs, not just Miguel Cabrera. What about Justin Verlander? What about Max Scherzer? What about Prince Fielder? Did they have no influence at all on the Tigers postseason run? According to many of the voters, their impact was dwarfed by Cabrera's seemingly godlike effort. Additionally, I suppose that they also feel that Cabrera had the power to manipulate the White Sox into losing 10 of their last fourteen games, consequently pissing away the division. If the White Sox win the Central, Cabrera does not make the playoffs, making the "value to team" argument moot.

                Once again, this is no knock on Cabrera's season, his historic performance, and him as an individual. I absolutely feel Cabrera was the best hitter in baseball this year. But, even the most zealous followers to Cabrera's case would realize that he was vastly inferior to Trout's defense and baserunning prowess. Baseball is more than just hitting a round ball with a round bat. If you want to argue Cabrera's candidacy with pure logic and detailed supporting information, that is what makes this debate so much fun. Yet, the cop out taken by many writers seems to contradict what they consider to be valuable. My personal opinion on the matter is that many writers, analysts, and fans cannot separate what they know is right and what they want to believe is right. They still hold onto nostalgic things that they want to remain relevant (Triple Crown, Playoffs importance) despite knowledge of the contrary. Also, many of these people claim that only statistics support Trout's argument, yet they reverse their stance instantly and end up quoting Cabrera's Triple Crown (Stats!), clutchness (Stats!), and performance down the stretch (Stats!) to validate their vote. You cannot argue against statistics and then use it for evidence as part of your of argument, just like the whole "valuable" over best argument should be nonexistent. This hypocrisy needs to end. The line in the sand has been drawn. Pick a side and stick to it.

- Aidan Flynn



Cameron Not Flynn
11/17/2012 6:19pm



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