You come to this blog not just because you know me but also because I have some interesting things to say. I sometimes dabble in topics that provide a different take on the game of baseball or sometimes go off the reservation when making a prediction, such as me picking the Seattle Mariners to win the American League West this season. Regardless, one of my goals is to give the reader something new to think about, something that he or she may not have considered and having them come around to it see from my point of view. Well, here goes another one of those topics.
Robinson Cano deserves to be the American League MVP.
Before you decide if this the right or wrong choice, stop for a moment. Turn away from this page, grab yourself a drink (alcoholic or not) have a cookie and take a deep breath. I promise I will still be here. There are five guys who I think would belong in this discussion: Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, Chris Davis and Mike Trout (only because people want a Cabrera-Trout rematch). Yes, numbers are important and Cano would not be listed here if his were weak. The key word here is “valuable”; we have to put that word back into MVP.
Of the five gentlemen listed, think about where their respective teams would be if they were injured or underperforming. For all of his greatness, the Angels minus Trout this year would be more than the four games under .500 they currently are. It is very hard for someone to win the award whose team has been out of playoff contention since May. I know you shouldn’t compare teams from year to year when determining an individual award. However, the Orioles were better in 2012 when Davis’s numbers were not nearly as impressive as 2013’s output. Donaldson has enjoyed a breakout season for the A’s but his numbers are little down as compared to Cano’s. Finally, Cabrera has been slowed by injury for the past month which while not taking away from another dominating season, the Tigers have been comfortably ahead in the AL Central all season long. Now, think about where the Yankees would be without Cano. Although they may ultimately come up short of the playoffs, there is no chance they are even close without his production. This leads me to the other part of my reasoning.
Think about each candidates supporting cast. Although Albert Pujols has been hurt and Josh Hamilton has had a rough season, Trout still has Mark Trumbo who is on pace for 35 home runs and over 100 RBI’s in addition to C.J. Wilson who could win 18 games for the Halos. Davis has Adam Jones (32 HR’s, 103 RBI’s) and Manny Machado (51 doubles) to help him drive the Orioles offense. Donaldson has three other teammates that have over 20 homers plus a staff that ranks second in the AL with a 3.61 ERA. Cabrera is surrounded by Torii Hunter (17 HR’s, 78 RBI’s, .295) and Prince Fielder (24 HR’s, 103 RBI’s, .283) in the lineup. Cano’s biggest help in the run producing department is Alfonso Soriano, who didn’t come to the team until the end of July and Brett Gardner whose numbers (8 HR’s, 52 RBI’s, 24 steals) do not measure up to any of the players I listed earlier.
I do not want to diminish anyone’s reliance on statistics such as WAR or other metrics that help determine year-end awards. All serve a purpose and should be considered when making a selection. However, I think we do overanalyze when some simple thinking can be applied. This is the case for the AL MVP discussion. Just ask yourself this question: which team would be most hurt if their star player was absent? When you realize the answer, hands down, is Robinson Cano, then you will have identified the 2013 AL MVP.
Boy. it has been a long time since I posted for everyone. I have been busy with venomstrikes.com, my other home away from this blog. Other things have kept me from here including the beginning a new season coaching soccer. But you don’t care about any of that. You want the good stuff. So here it goes.
Derek Jeter should be the American League MVP.
Not Mike Trout.
Not Miguel Cabrera.
During an amazing, illustrious career that has seen the Yankees Captain win just about every award possible., this 2012 season is the year Jeter should win the most recognized individual award given to a player. No, this is not a selection for lifetime achievement. This has nothing to do with two of his jerseys hanging in my closet. This is based on the fact that when you start with numbers, add in intangibles and then mix in team record, Derek Jeter simply has been the most valuable player in the American League this season. I get it, you are going to attempt to dazzle me with the numbers that may get Cabrera the Triple Crown, something not done in 45 years. You will show me the all-around spectacular play of Trout and his equally eye-popping stats particularly for a guy who was born two months after I graduated high school. Jeter’s numbers speak for themselves, batting .322 with over 200 hits and nearly 100 runs scored. While they are significantly less that Trout’s 28-78, .323, 122 runs scored and Cabrera’s 42-133, .331, 105 runs scored, the key word in the award is VALUABLE. I am sure there are a ton of more numbers you will throw out that will enhance either of the other two’s chances as pposed to Jeter. Numbers are great, I love them. But just like everything else, they can be abused and then become meaningless. Trust me, there is a post coming about that very topic. Anyway, here is why Jeter deserves it more than Cabrera and Trout.
We will start with Trout because……why not? Wait, I think he just leaped over the wall to rob another home run. Trout’s 2012 rookie season may go down as one of the greatest initial campaigns of all time. Actually, the Angels’ phenom played in 40 games and had 123 at-bats in 2011 and started 2012 in Triple A. He was brought up for good at the end of April replacing Bobby Abreu. The Angels were struggling at time of his recall and since then, have been playing the kind of ball that was expected of them before the season started. There is the rub. LA was expected to be World Series contenders and that is with Trout not making the club out of Spring Training. So the fact they are making a late push now thanks to Trout, Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver among others says to me that Trout has had a lot of help this Summer.
The case against Cabrera is more difficult. How can you vote against a guy who may do something no one has done since before Richard Nixon was first elected President? If Miggy does in fact win the Triple Crown, I wouldn’t have a major problem with the selecting him to win the MVP. however, there is precedent to this. Ted Williams won the Triple Crown in 1941 but lost the MVP award to Joe DiMaggio. A crooked writer didn’t even list Williams on his ballot. OK, that is a pretty weak precedent. But here again, it is not as though Cabrera has been doing this alone, having the Tigers within a game of first place. Prince Fielder as had an outstanding year as usual and the rotation boasts the two leaders in strikeouts, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. This was another team that in April was predicted by many to be playing deep into October and now they are not even in a Wild Card position.
Take a look at the Yankee team in 2012. Yes, while the payroll is still huge most of the parts of it have had below average years. Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez have been hurt or ineffective or at times both. Sure Curtis Granderson has 39 home runs but he is also batting .230 with 184 strikeouts. Robinson Cano has had a good year but also at times has disappeared both at the plate and in the field. Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes both have set career highs in wins but have not had the seasons the other three pitchers mentioned have had. Rafael Soriano has been marvelous filling in for Mariano Rivera, he has been the team’s most valuable pitcher. While Soriano has been great, Derek Jeter has been the best player on the team since Day One. He has never gone into a prolonged slump and has gotten every clutch hit and every desperately needed jump throw for a team that has had more injuries and underachievement than most contending clubs.
If I haven’t convinced you yet about the worthiness of Derek Jeter being the AL MVP, think about this. Would the Angels be in third place in the AL West if Mike Trout was not on the team? I think it is a pretty safe bet the answer is yes. Would the Tigers be in second place in the AL Central if there was no Miguel Cabrera? Considering the third place team is 12 games under .500, I would make that assumption. Now would the Yankees be 24 games over .500 and in first place without Derek Jeter? The answer to that question is an emphatic NO.
Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com
His team plays in San Diego and is 17 games under .500. That is two reasons why Cameron Maybin has flown under the radar. Another is that .221 batting average. Still only 25 years old, the Padres still think he has tremendous upside and showed it with a 5 year, $25 million dollar contract extension through 2016.
Maybin was originally drafted by the Tigers in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Roberson High School in Asheville, NC. He (along with Andrew Miller) were the centerpieces of the deal for the Marlins in the trade that sent Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. Maybin was the starting Center Fielder for Florida in 2009 but was sent down to the Minors only a month into the season. Surprisingly, the Marlins quickly ran out of patience with Maybin and shipped him to San Diego after the 2010 season.
In his first season with the Padres, Maybin was selected as the team MVP in a season which he stole 40 bases and was named the San Diego nominee for the Hank Aaron Award, given to the top hitter in each league. Maybin’s power output of 9 home runs and 40 RBI’s in 2011 was slightly skewed because he plays in spacious Petco Park. His value is more on defense because he plays Center Field in San Diego, where he is asked to cover an awful lot of ground. He is on pace to at least match his 2011 offensive numbers and he continues to produce highlight reel plays every night. Although Maybin has only four homers in 2012, he hit one almost 500 feet earlier this season in Arizona. Check out the mammoth blast here.
Cameron Maybin has all of the tools to remain one of the building blocks as the Padres continue to rebuild. Considering he was once the 10th pick in the country, you have to believe he will eventually be a .260 hitter. That along with his blazing speed and superior defensive skills will make him one of the best Outfielders over the next ten seasons.
Follow me on Twittr @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at www.venomstrikes.com
It has been a while since this blog has featured some of the best defensive plays Major League Baseball has to offer. I say defense because most offensive highlights these days are home runs, guys staring at their home runs or end of game moments that range from a walk to a grand slam and all finish with a sea of home team players streaming onto the field. Then again, maybe we can get a 450 foot blast in here once in a while, can’t we?
On to the clips.
Josh Reddick–Reddick was plucked by Oakland in a trade that sent the now injured Andrew Bailey to Boston. He has been the A’s best offensive player so far which resulted in his being selected to this season’s All Star Game. However, the one play that stood out for me was this laser he fired during a game in April that reminded me of Ichiro’s throw in 2001 that is still shown today. Click here and watch this cannon.
Mike Baxter-MLB Network recently ran the Top 75 Plays in the First Half as voted on by Facebook users. I watched the last 35 minutes of this program and it is incomprehensible that this catch to preserve Johan Santana’s no-hitter did not make the top 44. Baxter literally sacrificed his body on this play as he was taken off the field and hasn’t been seen since then. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it now.
Brandon Phillips–Double plays are fun to watch. Watching Brandon Phillips play defense is fun. So why not combine the two? Phillips is a magician in the field and a pretty fine offensive player as well and is a major reason why the Reds are in first place at the moment. Here is one of the many plays that make the 2nd baseman a nightly highlight reel.
Cameron Maybin-Like Phillips, Maybin is a bet to make the highlight reel every night. He is the perfect guy to play in the vast outfield of Petco Park. His glove and now his bat are showing people why the Marlins wanted him when they traded Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers. What follows is one of the best catches that will be made in 2012. Click here and enjoy the play calling of the great Dick Enberg.
I hope you enjoyed the videos. There are countless others out there but these are the ones that stick out for now. I’ll get some more to you soon.
Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com