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Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout: Who is more deserving of AL MVP?

October 02, 2012
(Orlin Wagner / Associated…)

Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss the American League MVP race, which seems to have come down to the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera and the Angels' Mike Trout. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

I know Mike Trout has done historic things, but unfortunately his Angels team is also history, eliminated from the wild-card race on Monday, the same day that Miguel Cabrera’s team clinched the AL Central title. That’s a difference-maker to me in the MVP vote.

I will take Cabrera over Trout because one will play in the post-season and the other will not. Trout was a better player this year, and as such is a strong candidate for the Henry Aaron Award, but the Tigers wouldn’t have sniffed October without Cabrera and now they have a chance to win the World Series. There’s a lot of value in that, isn’t there?

David Selig, Baltimore Sun

If a player wins the Triple Crown and leads his team to a division title, he's got to be the MVP, right?

It's a testament to Mike Trout that this is even a debate. He's the most dynamic player in the American League and affects the game with his defense and speed in ways Miguel Cabrera can't.

But despite having a loaded pitching staff and a three-time MVP in Albert Pujols, Trout's Angels are headed home after Wednesday night. Cabrera's Tigers will play on, thanks in part to a September in which he had 10 homers and 27 RBIs as Detroit came from behind to win the AL Central.

If the Angels were in the playoffs, this would be a tougher call, but Cabrera gets the nod for being most valuable to his team's success.

Tom Housenick, Allentown Morning Call

Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera deserve to be MVP. Hey, co-MVPs wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Being the first triple crown winner since 1967 would be a tremendous achievement for Cabrera. But it should not be the reason for winning MVP.

Being the first rookie with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in one season shows how special Mike Trout is. But it shouldn’t be the reason for winning MVP.

How about this stat: The Angels are 83-57 with Mike Trout (.592 winning percentage) and 6-14 (.300) without him. The Tigers are 87-73 (.544) with Cabrera.

Missing the playoffs is the Angels’ penalty for putting Trout in Triple-A to start the season. He shouldn’t suffer because of that, or because we focus on homers, RBIs and batting average.

While Trout holds his own in Cabrera’s power categories (homers, slugging), the same can’t be said for Cabrera. Trout leads the majors with 48 stolen bases. Cabrera has four. Trout has eight triples; Cabrera has none. And no one will mistake Cabrera for a Gold Glover at any position. Trout will win many.

If I had to pick, I’d take Trout.

[Updated Oct. 2, 12:40 p.m.:

Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times

Cabrera is deserving. So is Trout. There is no wrong answer here, despite the astonishingly absolutist arguments some analysts have made on behalf of Trout.

The Trout loyalists say this: Even if you say Cabrera is slightly better on offense -- a point they do not necessarily concede  -- Trout is so much better on defense and on the bases that he should win MVP in a landslide. His value, after all, does not require him to hold a bat.

Since Aug. 1, with the Angels and Detroit Tigers scrambling for playoff position, Trout has hit .284 with 12 home runs. Cabrera has hit .343 with 19 home runs.

Yes, a victory in April counts the same as a victory in September. But players fight through injury and exhaustion in September, when the regulars play every day, when every at-bat is magnified, when pressure is at its height. It is why CC Sabathia was practically worshiped by his peers when he made three starts on short rest in 2008, putting the Milwaukee Brewers onto his shoulders and into the playoffs.

A player that delivers now should get extra credit. If not, there would have been no derision in the "Mr. May" nickname George Steinbrenner bestowed upon Dave Winfield. The nod goes to Cabrera.]

ALSO:

Angels beat Mariners, 8-4, but are out of the playoffs

Dodgers beat Giants but are held to no gain in wildcard race

Ervin Santana's future with the Angels might be up in the air

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