Goosebumps. Chills. Spine-tingling. Those are just some of the physical reactions that occur when I watch Mike Trout play center field for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I’m sure it is one thing to watch him play as a fan of an opposing team, but to know that he is making history with an Angels’ logo on his chest leaves me, a die hard Angels fan, breathless.
I may be biased in saying Trout should win the MLB American League MVP; however, I truly believe he is the best player in the AL this season and deserves the title over Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers third baseman. Especially considering that Trout has totaled 124 runs, 47 stolen bases and a batting average of .324 so far this season.
Miguel Cabrera is a formative competitor. He is vying for the Triple Crown, which means that he is in the running for being in the lead in Runs Batted In (RBIs), home runs and batting average in the AL. The difference, however, is that Cabrera is trying to repeat something that has already been done while Trout is making history.
Many of his records have much to do with his age, for he is having this effect on the league at the ripe age of 21. According to Orange County Register columnist Jeff Miller, “Trout is the youngest player with as many as 40 stolen bases… since 1907 (and also) Willie Mays is the only center fielder who can match Trout for a single season in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, homers and steals… since 1901.” Trout is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Trout’s .323 batting average is fifth in the MLB, and is second in the AL only to Cabrera, according to stats at MLB.com. Upon looking at Miguel’s stats in comparison with Trout’s they are both great players yet great in separate areas.
Trout has reached home more often than Cabrera, yet Cabrera has more doubles than Trout. Trout has six triples whereas Cabrera has none. When it comes to stats, especially old statistics that have been in use since the creation of baseball, they are divvied up but when looking at WAR (wins above replacement) Trout excels.
According to FanGraphs writer Dave Cameron, Trout’s WAR is 9.4 whereas Cabrera’s is 6.8 displaying that Trout has had a better overall season. WAR takes more than just hitting and runs scored into consideration but rather looks at the whole player, offensively and defensively. Cabrera is not as skilled when it comes to fielding; he has made 13 errors this season whereas Trout has made only made two.
Also worth noting is that MVP stands for most “Valuable” player to his team. The Angels could not have made it this far without Trout. Before he entered the lineup they were playing below .500, and when he was placed in the majors he provided a spark that ignited the whole team and had the Angels beginning to win as early as one week later.
Detroit could be in the same position without Cabrera. I feel the “V” in MVP should stand for “Vital.” While Cabrera is Detroit’s most valuable player, he is not as vital to the team as Trout is to the Angels.
Trout’s presence has made the Angels a playoff conder. He may currently be in “slump,” but he is still being walked and still scoring runs. Trout continues to dominate and display his worth to the Angels organization and all of MLB.
Despite these squabbles over who deserves MVP, only the next eight games will decide who gets the trophy. Torii Hunter, right fielder and Trout’s mentor, says it best: “(Trout’s) pretty impressive… (He’s) not worrying about MVP, he’s trying to win.”
That determination is one of the aspects that has allowed Trout to be the spark for his team. He fights for each win, for each at bat, and for the four spectacular home runs he has robbed at the centerfield wall. He deserves the MVP for his success and his ability to shine in a game filled with great players.