So this is where I wonder about how consistent I have to be. In my divisional season previews and The Nine best lists, I boxed myself in.
I listed MVP’s of each division which included Evan Longoria, Justin Verlander, and Mike Trout. Logic dictates that I have to pick one of those three players for the league-wide award. I, however, ranked Miguel Cabrera over Longoria in my third base rankings, meaning I can’t logically pick Longoria. So I have to choose between Verlander and Trout.
Those are my only two choices. But, darn it all, I want to pick Longoria. Perhaps my caution earlier in the winter will protect me from the potential Longoria injury. I’ll spare you my inner dialogue and get on with it.
And the award will go to…
Mike Trout (LF – Angels)
Am I bitter about last season? Nah. Awards don’t really matter, so all of the ink we spilled over Trout vs Cabrera last fall was a little much and the cool sobering winter has hopefully dampened the flames of the baseball Civil WAR (get it?!).
That said, Trout is just an amazing all-around player. He had an all-time great season at age 20 and was a full two wins better than anyone else in the sport in 2012. There’s no way he posts another 10 WAR season in 2013, but even if he regresses 25% he’ll still be among the best two or three players in the game.
He is among the best baserunners and defenders in the sport and tied with Cabrera as the best offensive player in the game in 2012 with a wRC+ of 166. Let’s not forget he did everything that he did last season while missing April trudging around AAA.
In a just world, Trout would have won the award last season, but Cabrera won the Triple Crown and the sway of the writers who can’t handle basic math and/or watching defense. But let’s not worry about what happened before and focus on this.
Players who perform like Trout did at age 20 almost always have great careers. Mike Trout is a legitimate five tool player. Mike Trout plays on a good team. Mike Trout is no longer a rookie, so the bias should be gone. The world always leans toward progress.
My awards picks are rarely bold and this one is no different. Trout was the best player last year and I think he will be again, but what are the odds he’s the best player again while someone else wins a Triple Crown? Probably lower. I mean, when has that ever happened?
Can Mike Trout follow up his 2012 runner up with an MVP award? Or will a big slugger take the crown? Sound off.