While the much-hyped MVP discussion is heating up, the regular season is cooling down.
The Tigers joined the San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds as the only teams in baseball to clinch their own divisions. Also joining those clubs in October baseball are the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s. The Tigers also became the first AL team to clinch their division. The second year in a row that they’ve done that.
But really, no one is reading too much into the playoffs. Yet. Now, the baseball-related discussions are about that AL MVP race and something you might have heard of called the Triple Crown.
Coincidentally or not, both of those discussions involve one Miguel Cabrera who also plays for the Tigers.
Triple Crown & MVP
I’ll start with the Triple Crown first, to get it out of the way.
(Intense build up…)
Miguel Cabrera’s going to win it.
(Brushes off hands.)
Now, the MVP award, on the other hand, is a little more contested.
Mike Trout is the only other contender still on the course at the moment. Everyone else has gone to the clubhouse, or home.
The Trout argument is driven by these factors. He’s got shock-value as a rookie, meaning everyone sees him play and goes, “How the hell is he doing that?!? Much less at 21?!?” He also steals a whole lot of bases, creates runs and plays spectacular defense. And he hit 30 home runs. Don’t think I’m getting pro-Trout here, I’m not anti-Trout, but I just think Miguel Cabrera is the obvious choice for MVP. The last driving factor for Trout is that he has all the statisticians behind him.
While he might have an astounding WAR, 10.7 to be precise (side note, no one else’s is above eight), his speed and run creating abilities are overstated. Yes, he is a tremendous base stealer and talent, but it’s not as if Cabrera isn’t in this as well. In terms of runs created, Cabrera has created 138 to Trout’s 136. (This all, of course, thanks to Baseball Reference).
The AL leaders in the other “runs” category? Trout and Cabrera at 129 and 109 respectively in runs scored. You would think that with all Trout’s speed he would be head and shoulders above Miggy, but he’s not. All those stolen bases only got him 20 runs ahead of the Tigers’ slugger. The likely retort here is that Cabrera hits in front of Prince Fielder, hence he scores a lot. Yes, that’s true, he does, but Trout hits in front of Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo. See my point?
So, for all the talk about Trout doing all these amazing things creating runs and scoring them, I’ll give you this: yes, he is an amazing player who can create runs and scores a lot for his team, but Cabrera does those things just as well if not better.
MVP Vote Goes To- Cabrera.
The Tigers are the only team who really know what they are doing in the American League. New York and Baltimore could tie. Play a one-game playoff to decide the division, the loser would then have to go cross country to Oakland or Texas and play another one-game playoff to get into the actual playoffs.
The Tigers have advantages because they get to open up at home. One, not only because Justin Verlander will open up for them at home, but because he’s 9-2 with a 1.65 ERA and holds batters to a .187 batting average at Comerica. It also sets up the Tigers with the opportunity for momentum. Momentum, being the biggest factor in the playoffs, and if the Tigers get it rolling early, at home, they’re going to be dangerous.
So yeah, the Tigers didn’t win the bajillion games that they were going to. No, they didn’t run away with the division, but they made the playoffs. They’re in. And at the end of the day, they have a likely Triple Crown/MVP winner. You couldn’t ask for a lot more.