MLB Insider: It's Cabrera-vs.-Trout in MVP debate, Part II

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 14, 2013 - 5:06 PM

Miguel Cabrera again will be challenged by Mike Trout for AL MVP.

Tigers star Miguel Cabrera doesn’t figure to win the Triple Crown this year, but he will be playing in the postseason, unlike Mike Trout and the below-.500 Angels.

Photo: PAUL SANCYA • Associated Press (left); PAT SULLIVAN • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

A year later, and nothing has changed between Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera and young Angels star Mike Trout — and that makes the race for the American League Most Valuable Player Award even more exciting.

Other players will be thrown into the discussion. Josh Donaldson has fueled the Athletics’ playoff push. Chris Davis has had a terrific year for the Orioles, and some might push for Robinson Cano since the Yankees still cling to postseason hopes. But it’s Superman vs. Batman, the sequel, as Cabrera and Trout head into the final weeks of the season.

Cabrera not only is the defending MVP, he is trying to win the Triple Crown for an unprecedented second year in a row. In 2012, Cabrera batted .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBI to become the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. But Miggy had more in him this season. He entered Saturday batting .348 with 43 homers and 133 RBI — while playing a chunk of the season battling an abdominal injury. Despite the health issues, he is on pace to outdo everything he did last season.

“He’s not fast and he’s hobbling, and he’s still hitting,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

Voters couldn’t overlook the Triple Crown when voting for Cabrera last year. This year, he leads in batting average and RBI but trails Davis in home runs. Will he get MVP votes if he wins two categories and not three? He entered Saturday in a 4-for-26 skid. Could he be shut down to rest for the playoffs?

Trout hit .326 last season with 30 homers, 83 RBI and 49 stolen bases. But many gawked at his 10.9 WAR (Wins Above Replacement, a statistic that takes in account other factors such as defense) and trumpeted him for MVP. We all know what happened.

There’s been no sophomore slump for Trout, only a second-year surge. Like Cabrera, he has taken his game to another level this season. He entered Saturday hitting .334 (second to Cabrera in the AL) with 23 home runs, 86 RBI, 32 steals and a 1.003 on base-plus-slugging percentage.

“A lot of things experience will teach you,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, “and Mike has been a quick study. His talent says he can do it. He is not playing over his head.”

By the way, here are the WAR leaders: 1. Trout, 8.4. 2. Donaldson, 7.0. 3. Cano, 6.8. 4. Cabrera 6.7.

My vote? I’m waiting until the final Insider Sept. 29 to announce it.

Voters will be challenged, once again, to examine their criteria for MVP. Does it go to Cabrera because of his bat alone or does it go to Trout because of his all-around ability? And should Donaldson and Cano be considered for helping their teams win? Let the debate begin … again.

Central Intelligence

The Royals find themselves in the thick of the wild-card chase, and they don’t know what to do with themselves. The players are used to planning offseason vacations by now. Instead, they are eyeing their first postseason berth since 1985. Season-ticket holders are receiving playoff ticket information. Manager Ned Yost woke up at 4:30 a.m. one day this week, figuring out ways to juggle the rotation in case he wants James Shields to start a playoff game.

Good times in Kansas City. For the first time in a long time.

“I’ve never been in this situation: Playing for something in September and really not planning for the offseason yet,” outfielder Alex Gordon said. “It’s awesome.”

• • •

Cleveland entered Saturday 1½ games out of a wild-card spot — the first team in line behind the Rangers and Rays — and Indians fans couldn’t care less.

  • related content

  • Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence

    Saturday September 14, 2013

    central intelligenceThe Royals find themselves in the thick of the wild-card chase, and they don’t know what to do with...

  • Sunday Insider: The 3-2 pitch

    Saturday September 14, 2013

    Three observations …• Coco Crisp has 19 home runs? I remember when he used to bunt the entire first round of...

  • Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout races toward home plate to score on a Mark Trumbo two-run triple against the Houston Astros in the third inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 49 3rd Qtr 3:43
Chicago 72
Golden State 40 2nd Qtr 5:30
Milwaukee 30
Oklahoma City 26 1st Qtr 2:19
Utah 17
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 3rd Prd 7:22
Montreal 2
Ottawa 3 3rd Prd 4:39
Toronto 2
Los Angeles 1 2nd Prd 4:02
Minnesota 2
Columbus 2 2nd Prd 1:40
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 0 1st Prd 5:16
Colorado 2
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 71 2nd Half 0:13
NJIT 75
Notre Dame 27 1st Half 1:34
Kentucky 27
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 2nd Half 8:00
Columbus 1
Portland 0 2nd Half 25:00
Vancouver FC 1
Colorado 0 2nd Half
Houston 0
Seattle 0 2nd Half
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What are you following most closely right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close