Mike Trout should be the American League Rookie of the Year.
The Los Angeles Angels standout should be the American League’s Gold Glove center fielder.
The 21-year-old Millville resident should emerge soon as the face of baseball. He has the potential and charisma to become one of the biggest sports stars ever in Los Angeles.
What Trout is not — at least for this season — is the AL Most Valuable Player.
That honor should go to Miguel Cabrera of Detroit Tigers, who won the AL Triple Crown with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 145 runs batted in. Cabrera, 29, is the first player to win the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox in 1967.
Much of the debate between Cabrera and Trout pits baseball traditionalists against the rising influence of computer geeks who favor sabermetric statistics.
The geeks tell us that a single is as good as a walk because both put the batter on first base.
The geeks tell us that a solo home run and sacrifice fly is the same thing because they both produce a single run.
I don’t agree.
This is not an argument against Trout. It’s an argument for the magnitude of what Cabrera achieved this season.
Since 1900, only 12 players have won the Triple Crown. All — except for Cabrera — are in the Hall of Fame. Triple Crown winners are among the game’s most iconic players, including Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle.
The MVP award started in 1931. Of the nine players who have won the Triple Crown since then, five of them were named MVP, including the last three — Yastrzemski (1967), Frank Robinson (1966) and Mantle (1956).
I also believe the MVP should come from a team that makes the postseason. The Tigers won the Central Division. Cabrera was at his best in August and September when the games counted the most.
He batted .357 in August and hit 10 home runs and knocked in 27 runs in September.
There is a reason why 100 years ago people decided batting average, home runs and RBIs were important statistics.
Sabermetrics are cute, but according to those numbers outfielder Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs is a better defensive player than Trout because Soriano’s UZR (ultimate zone rating) is 11.8 and Trout’s 11.4.
I have no idea what a UZR is, but does anyone think Soriano is better with the glove than Trout?
Trout’s rise to national prominence might be the best local sports story ever. He’s filled the entire region with pride.
He’s handled his success with class and dignity and that has made his achievements even more special.
Trout produced a historic year with a .326 average, 30 home runs, 49 stolen bases and 129 runs scored.
I just give a slight edge and the MVP award to Triple Crown winner Cabrera.
But I wouldn’t mind if I was wrong.
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