Miguel Cabrera thought Mike Trout would win the American League MVP award.
Trout’s well-rounded game had made it a two-man race despite Cabrera winning the first Triple Crown in 45 years.
Cabrera shouldn’t have been worried. The Detroit Tigers’ third baseman won in a landslide, garnering 22 of 28 first-place votes, the Baseball Writers Assoc-iation of America an-nounced Thursday night. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey was named the National League MVP.
Trout, the 21-year-old Millville resident who blended power, speed and defense in center field for the Los Angeles Angels, got five first-place votes and 22 seconds.
“I was a little concerned,” Cabrera said on a conference call after the announcement. “I thought the new thing about computer stuff, I thought Trout (was) going to win because they put his numbers over me.
“I was like, ‘Relax. … If he wins, it’s going to be fair because he had a great season.’ ”
The “computer stuff” referred to Trout’s advanced statistics, or sabermetrics. Trout led the league in wins above replacement (WAR) at 10.7, according to baseball reference. The theory is that Trout’s all-around contributions helped the Angels win 10.7 more games than they would have with an average replacement.
Trout, who was named AL Rookie of the Year on Monday, led the majors with 129 runs scored, 49 stolen bases and four home-run-robbing catches. He hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs. He was the first player ever with at least 125 runs, 30 homers and 45 steals.
Cabrera, meanwhile, won the Triple Crown by leading the AL in average (.330), homers (44) and RBIs (139).
While Trout helped the Angels go 89-73, they missed the playoffs. Cabrera’s Tigers (88-74) won the AL Central.
The AL MVP was more hotly debated than any other award, but the vote by the BBWAA ended up being decisive.
Cabrera got 22 first-place votes and six seconds. Trout got six firsts, 21 seconds and one third. Cabrera finished with 362 points to Trout’s 281.
Only one voter, Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal, did not vote for Trout in the top two. Ocker’s ballot had Texas’ Adrian Beltre second and Trout third.
In the end, Cabrera getting the award was seen as a victory for traditional statistics.
“At the end of the game, it’s going to be the same baseball played back in the day,” Cabrera said.
Trout could not be reached for comment.
Posey, at a charity event at his mother’s school in Leesburg, Va., followed the AL debate and Googled to find out the winner.
“I think it intrigued everybody,” he said. “As a fan of the game, it was a fun race to watch.”
Posey became the first catcher in 70 years to win the NL batting title, hitting .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBIs.
That made him the first catcher in four decades to win the NL award, getting 27 of 32 firsts and 422 points to outdistance 2011 winner Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, who was second with 285 points.