Mike Silva's Sports Media Watchdog » Blog Archive » Debate is Not Over Who Is MVP, But When MLB Will Update Award

Debate is Not Over Who Is MVP, But When MLB Will Update Award

By Mike Silva ~ October 5th, 2012. Filed under: MLB.
1 Mike Trout 10.7 20 LAA 139 559 129 182 27 8 30 83 67 139 49 .326 .399 .564 .963
3 Miguel Cabrera 6.9 29 DET 161 622 109 205 40 0 44 139 66 98 4 .330 .393 .606 .999
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/5/2012.

Everyone is caught up in the debate of whether Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera should be the American League MVP. On one side you have a 20-year old rookie centerfield that has five-tools. On the other, you have a pure hitter that just won the first Triple Crown in 45 years. Although it makes for interesting copy and talk radio debate, the real discussion should be about MLB changing the MVP award as we know it.

More change to America’s pastime? Yes, in addition to a second Wild Card, Bud Selig should consider adding an award that is the position player equivalent to the Cy Young. The MVP should be a combination of numbers and intangibles voted on by the BBWAA. You should be allowed to take into consideration clutch hitting and leadership along with tangible stats such as home runs, RBI, batting average and, if you wish, WAR.

The BBWAA has many issues with how they conduct business. Politics and fear of change permeates any organization that has been around for as long as they. With that said I am not a proponent of removing their voting power nor believe postseason awards should be decided by a formula created by a select few. That’s why it’s time to create stat-based awards that complement the traditional awards and the MVP is a great place to start.

During last night’s podcast, Dave Jordan of Instream Sports discussed the awards system he created for his new site. The “Saber Leaders” tallies the traditional awards like MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year, but also creates additional categories like the Hank Aaron Award (best overall positional player), Ozzie Smith Defensive Player of the Year (baseball equivalent to the NBA defensive player of the year) and the Relief Pitcher of the Year. Jordan uses various metrics, mainly combines the WAR tallies from the three major baseball sites: Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference and Baseball Prospectus, to come up with his MVP award.

I believe this is something that Major League Baseball should consider doing. Heck, they could even steal Jordan’s idea and name the award after Hank Aaron (give the guy some credit though). I have no problem with a pitcher winning the MVP, but the Hank Aaron Award is restricted to just offensive players.

The Instream formula gives Trout the Hank Aaron Award by a full win share over Cabrera (8.84 to 7.81). When calculating the MVP, Trout wins that award, as well, but by an even wider margin (10.35 to 7.95). His nearest competition, however, is Robinson Cano; Cabrera is a distant fourth. Again, stats can’t calculate the significance of winning something that hasn’t been done in nearly five decades. Even the stat-guys can’t argue that Cabrera is in select company. How many players are listed in a group that includes Ted Williams,  Mickey Mantle and Ty Cobb. If it’s so insignificant, more than 15 players would have accomplished it over the history of the game.

The point is that MLB should copy the lead of Instream and begin to develop stat-based awards that recognize the shift in thinking that is going on with fans and writers alike. Yes, the BBWAA is changing and many new-age writers are using stats to cast their vote. I doubt you will ever see the “human element” eliminated since many will have a different perspective once they enter the clubhouse and see the athlete as a human being.

Of course, that opens up another can of worms. See Williams, who won the Triple Crown twice (1942, 1947), yet failed to win the American League MVP.

My MVP is Miguel Cabrera. My vote for best overall positional player is Mike Trout.


We discussed this during a special edition of the NY Baseball Talk podcast last night. You can download the replay here. 

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to Debate is Not Over Who Is MVP, But When MLB Will Update Award

  1. Mike Silva's Sports Media Watchdog » Blog Archive » A Tired WAR

    [...] way to solve this- and I talked about this earlier in the year – is to create two awards. Establish a statistical standard for the best overall player in [...]

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