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 just disagree that there's not a separation between the two offensively. 56 more RBI? That's a massive
gulf. And I know that Trout's a leadoff hitter, but he's a leadoff hitter in an AL lineup, don't forget. Austin Jackson's had a nice season, but he was hurt for a bit and during that time Quentin Berry was the leadoff hitter with Omar Infante or some mis-mash of cruddy ass parts ahead of Miggy. Trout's had Aybar and Ianetta in front of him. It's clearly not as strong a group of table-setters, but it's not batting leadoff ahead of the pitcher either.
Trout had 109 ABs with RISP and did a great job w/ a .330 BA. Cabrera had more opportunities to drive in runs with 174 ABs with runners in scoring position - but he also did a better job of it with a .356 BA in those spots. Cabrera, while he was given more chances, did do a better job of driving in runs.
And I don't accept the run produced state either because there's a great deal to be said for being able to both score and drive yourself in. You're doing in 1 plate appearance what would otherwise take 2, so why shouldn't you get to double count it? Those extra bombs where all situations where Cabrera did the work of 2 batters - that counts for a lot.