La Velle E. Neal III's Sunday Insider: Angels' Trout is the right pick for AL MVP

He passes the eye test and numbers test. Miguel Cabrera, Triple Crown or not, isn't as important to his team.

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Angels 21-year-old outfielder Mike Trout is going to get at least one writer's vote for AL MVP.

Photo: Paul Bersebach,, Mct - Mct

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Everyone wants to talk about WAR these days.

That's WAR, as in Wins Above Replacement, the statistic (taken from several statistics) that determines how many wins a player is worth if he replaces an average player. It's an attempt to measure a player's total contribution to a team.

WAR, this season, is supposed to convince us that Angels outfielder Mike Trout has had a better season than Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera -- who is in the running to win the first Triple Crown since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

According to baseball-reference.com. Trout leads baseball with a WAR of 10.6. Cabrera is fourth in the AL at 6.6.

But you don't need the finest in statistical engineering to see that Trout has had the most impact of any player on any team this year.

In 132 games, Trout is batting .323 with 28 homers, 78 RBI and 47 stolen bases. He is the five-tool player every team tries to draft.

He covers massive ground in the outfield, making him an ERA reducer. Cabrera is not a strong defensive player. Trout can reach base and steal bases with his speed. Cabrera, ahem, is not sculpted that way.

And, if you apply the Morneau Doctrine of 2006 -- he won the MVP that year because the Twins took off in June once he started hitting -- the Angels have played .591 ball since Trout joined them in late April.

If Cabrera somehow pulls off the Triple Crown feat, it will be an amazing accomplishment. But he's not the Most Valuable Player.

You go to the ballpark to watch Miguel Cabrera hit.

You go to the ballpark to watch Mike Trout play.

And if a player like Trout can throw multiple dimensions at you like he has, then he deserves the nod over Cabrera in the comparison of outstanding seasons. WAR confirms what the Extra Innings package shows us.

With that out of the way, here's one person's prediction of how the postseason awards will shake out:

AL MVP: Trout. See above.

NL MVP: Buster Posey, Giants. Played out of his mind during the second half.

AL Cy Young: David Price, Rays. Helped keep the Rays in contention.

NL Cy Young: R.A. Dickey, Mets. A knuckleballer with excellent control.

AL Rookie of the Year: Trout. See above.

NL Rookie of the Year: Wade Miley, Diamondbacks. Has walked only 37 batters in 187 innings.

AL Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, Orioles. Everyone expected them to be crummy.

NL Manager of the Year: Dusty Baker, Reds. Team didn't skip a beat when Joey Votto was injured.

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