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.
We are knocking on the doorstep of 2013 and with it the promise of Spring Training about six weeks away. Although it is cold outside, writing about baseball and scanning mlb.com for material makes my body forget that the temperature is lower than my age. Before we turn the page to next year, let’s look at some outstanding gems from the 2012 season. Maybe this type of post can become more frequent during the 2013 season. Instead of searching other places on the Internet, catch some great highlights all on one site. Mine.
Ben Revere will be trading uniforms next year, going from the Minnesota Twins to the Philadelphia Phillies. Revere has flashed some tremendous leather during his time in Minnesota and the city of Philadelphia will enjoy this human highlight film. The Twins’ fans’ loss becomes the Phillies’ fans’ gain.
Not known for his glove, Travis Snider of the Pittsburgh Pirates made one of the great catches you will ever see. Outside of this a handful of other plays, not much went right for the Bucs during the second half of 2012. Maybe Pittsburgh’s fortunes will climb in 2013 much like Snider scaling the wall.
Every time I post a blog about great defense, Brandon Phillips is sure to be included. Not only is the Cincinnati Reds‘ second basemen a standout ballplayer, he is one of the best interviews in the game. I am glad Cincy has him under contract until 2018.
Mike Trout was THE name in baseball in 2012. The Los Angeles Angels phenom easily won Rookie of the Year honors and placed second in the American League MVP race. It is about time he was on the other end of the highlight reel, courtesy of Seattle Mariners outfielder Casper Wells.
Michael Bourn is still a man without a team. His previous employer, the Atlanta Braves decided to go in another direction by signing B.J. Upton. Whoever signs Bourne will be treating their fans to a plethora of plays such as this one.
Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com
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
It sure has been a long time since I have been on here. And boy does it feel good to be back. I did take a nice long vacation but came back last Sunday. From there, I contended with a stomach bug, my wife’s birthday, a Big Time Rush concert and 100 miles of driving on both Saturday and Sunday. It began to feel as though this blog was being overlooked.
Sort of like Josh Reddick is on the national scene.
Yes, he is a nightly fixture on MLB Network because of his spectacular plays in the field and at bat. But did you realize has belted 25 home runs, the same number as Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano? Probably not. Now I understand he plays in a loaded division with the two-time defending AL champion Rangers and the Angels who count Pujols and story of the year candidate Mike Trout. Heck, more people attribute the suprise of Reddick’s team, the A’s, to its great pitching. All of this is true. However, people need to realize that Reddick is a special player. The average is a not-so-hot .253 but then again, he doesn’t have a stacked lineup like the Rangers, Angels and Yankees. Plus, he plays his hoem games in the Oakland Coliseum, which is a pitcher’s paradise. In the field, Reddick’s defense is nothing short of electric. He has made numerous catches and throws that shoudl enable him to win a Gold Glove this season. In fact, let us check out one of those plays right now. The victim? Trout himself.
If Oakland is to make its first playoff appearance since 2006, Josh Reddick will have to be the offensive catalyst. Although he will not win the league MVP, there is no doubt that he is the A’s team MVP right now. Maybe if Oakland does sneak in as a Wild Card, the nation will appreciate the talents of its future All-Star Right Fielder.
Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at www.venomstrikes.com