TROUT VERSUS CABRERA—2013 (COMMENT). Dick Weisfelder commented: “What does sabermetrics tell us about this yearâ€™s races for MVP?” Last year there was a debate in the baseball world over the choice of Most Valuable Player in the American League—a debate which broke into warring camps. Sabermatricians supported Mike Trout; the old guard supported Miguel Cabrera. Here is a post which quoted the veteran reporter Mitch Albom’s scorn for the sabermatricians. Dick commented then: “In any event, Iâ€™m amazed by the level of vitriol in this debate.” Cabrera won the official vote, in part because he had won the triple crown of traditional batting categories, the first time it had been done since 1967, and in part because Cabrera’s team had a better year than Trout’s team.
It looks like there will be a similar dispute this year. This article by Dave Cameron at fangraphs discusses the issues. Cabrera and Trout are both having great years. Remarkably, Cabrera has a shot at repeating as a triple crown winner (Chris Davis of the Orioles has a slight lead on him in homers and is close in RBI’s). Trout has a small lead in WAR with 6.9. Cabrera is second with 6.4 WAR. WAR is one of the sabermetric stats that drives the old guard crazy. (WAR is an estimate of “wins above replacement player”—how many wins a player contributes over what would be contribute by a replacement level player.) But Cabreras’s team is doing much better than Trout’s and, then, there might be another triple crown. Sabermatrics versus traditional values again.