Baseball is a simple game, yet for the second straight year baseball’s sabermetrics community is trying to discredit Miguel Cabrera’s greatness. If this seems like a repeat of the summer of 2012, you’re right. If you recall last summer, sabermatricians and a collection of sportswriters banded together to discredit Cabrera’s Triple Crown season, because Mike Trout had the supposed greatest season of all time with his Wins Above Replacement rating of 10.7. WAR is the determined value of a players value to a player’s contributions to a team through baserunning, batting, fielding and pitching.
This year WAR is very close with Trout at 6.7 and Cabrera is at 6.5. Since the bread and butter of the WAR argument doesn’t separate Trout from Cabrera, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan recently wrote that Trout is more valuable than Cabrera, because the Angels’ outfielder’s salary of $510,000 is far less than the $21 million Cabrera will make this season. Passan also voted for Trout for American League MVP over Cabrera last year.
Yes, you read that correctly, Mike Trout should be the MVP because he makes such a small amount of money in relation to Cabrera. This argument is even more ridiculous than the WAR debate last season. What Cabrera has done over the last two seasons is starting an argument as to whether he is one of the six best right handed hitters of all time, along with Rogers Hornsby, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Albert Pujols.
Trout is on his way to a great career, maybe even a Hall of Fame career, but the things Cabrera is doing are things that haven’t been done in decades. The fact that people are saying he has to get hot to catch Baltimore’s Chris Davis in home runs to clinch a second consecutive Triple Crown — which has never been done — tells you all you need to know about where he is in baseball history right now. He’ll end up with better numbers than he had last season.