Saturday, August 11, 2012

Miggy's making his mark

Watching the Tigers this year has been a roller coaster ride and simply unbearable at times.  Fortunately for us though, they seem to have settled in and found a level of consistency.  Consistency is the key to a 162 game season, and consistency is the reason Miguel Cabrera deserves the AL MVP over anyone else in the league (yes Rod and Mario, that includes Mike Trout).  Throughout the struggles of the first half of the season, one thing remained constant, and that was Cabrera.
Cabrera hit a 2-run walk-off home run against the Tribe August 5th

Seeing Miggy come to the plate day after day is an unbelievable spectacle.  The future Hall of Famer has such a smooth swing at the plate and somehow makes hitting a ball 450 feet look effortless.  Cabrera is once again posting phenomenal stats at the plate, as he always has as a Tiger, and his production at the plate is finally paying off; the Tigers sit atop the ALWild Card and one-game back of the White Sox for the AL Central division lead.

The way I see the AL MVP race shaping up, there really are only two legitimate contenders to win the award: Cabrera and Trout.  I know everyone keeps saying that Mike Trout should be and is the AL MVP, but I have a couple of reasons why he absolutely should not be.
Mike Trout is having a historic rookie season

First of all, if the playoffs started today, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim would not even be one of the two teams to qualify for a wild card berth.  Last time I checked, the voters consider making the playoffs a very significant part of being the most valuable player.  Actually, to be exact, the last time a player won the MVP in the American league and his team did not make the playoffs was in the year 2003 when Alex Rodriguez won his first MVP award.  Alex Rodriguez, like Mike Trout, had crazy-good numbers in his 1996 rookie campaign batting .358, with 36 home runs, and 123 RBI’s but he still managed to finish second in the MVP race.  Interestingly enough, Rodriguez’s Seattle Mariners finish second in the AL West and they missed out on postseason play.

Secondly, Mike Trout did not join the Angels’ big league squad in 2012 until April 28.  How can you consider someone the most valuable player if they haven’t played in nearly every game for their team?  Cabrera hasn’t missed a single game for the Tigers this year; that stat alone speaks for itself.  The Tigers cannot afford to take Cabrera out of their lineup, even with guys like Austin Jackson and Prince Fielder having their own MVP caliber seasons.  Cabrera is just too dangerous and too valuable in the middle of their lineup.

Enough of why Trout shouldn’t win the MVP.  Here’s why Cabrera should.  Currently Cabby is tied with Josh Hamilton for the league lead in RBI’s, he’s second in the AL in batting average with a .323 average, and he’s fourth in the league with 29 home runs.  No other player in the American League ranks in the top five of all three of the triple-crown categories.  Add 145 hits to the mix, which ranks second in the AL, and you have the most complete hitter in all of baseball.

Cabrera has committed only 9 errors at 3rd base this season
One area of the game that many “experts” expected Cabrera to hurt the Tigers was with his defense going into the 2012 season.  With the signing of Prince Fielder, Cabrera was forced to make the move back to third base.  He simply has not hurt the Tigers in the least playing third base.  In fact, Cabrera boasts a .968 fielding percentage which is second highest among qualifying American League third basemen.

Yes, there is still a month and a half left in the baseball season and many things can get in the way of Miguel Cabrera winning his first MVP award, but if he keeps doing what he’s been doing there is no stopping the big fella.  Miggy deserves to win his first MVP this year, and I’m sure this year’s award won’t be his last.

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