Originally Posted by duncan_idaho
I wouldn't call what Cabrera does at 3B "admirable" defense. He's fine as long as the ball is within two steps to either side (and if it is moderately well-hit, has to dive to knock it down) and is an accurate thrower. That's about it. His range is terrible.
For me, the argument for Trout is not simply his WAR (though his offensive WAR is still a smidge higher than Cabrera's for the full year).
Comparing the two, there is not a huge separation with what they've done offensively. They are clearly 1-2 in terms of offensive production in the American League. Cabrera is the best 3 hitter in baseball. Trout is the best 1 hitter in baseball.
Defensively, you don't have to use statistics to see Trout's impact in center field. He's Gold Glove caliber out there. GG defense at a premium (second- or third-most important defensive position) is an important factor.
As for a Triple Crown winner HAVING to win the MVP... hey, there's precedent for him not.
I saw someone on Twitter last night claiming that Cabrera has better stats because he plays in the AL Central vs the AL West for Trout. So I created a spreadsheet where I averaged out Trout and Cabrera's stats vs the AL Central and the AL West (essentially what their stats would be with the same number of ABs against each division) and Cabrera's stats are by far better. Trout only leads in SBs, BBs and by far more Ks. Cabrera leads in every other category. MVP has never been a defensive award so I could care less about those stats, however one team is going to the playoffs and the other isn't.