Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Congrats to Miggy, but I voted for Trout and here’s why
Posted Nov 15, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Nov 15, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Let me begin by offering my congratulations to Miguel Cabrera for winning the American League MVP.
After much deliberation and some waffling, I put Mike Trout’s name at the top of my American League MVP ballot, just above Cabrera.
Why? Good question.
It didn’t have anything to do with Wins Above Replacement or Win Probability Added, though I’m not discounting the new way of measuring the value of a player.
As a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Tampa Bay chapter I knew I had the AL MVP vote this season.
Like everyone else, I knew by midseason it would be a two-horse race.
Cabrera was putting up big numbers with the Tigers, while Trout, the Angels rookie center fielder, was playing like an eight-time all-star.
As I do every year, I began asking the Rays players, coaches, manager and even a few baseball scouts who I know for their opinion. I checked in with some other baseball writers as well, and even asked a few from the Sabermetrics side of the game.
I don’t have an official breakdown of the results, but the majority favored Trout. Some said they would change that if Cabrera won the Triple Crown, which, of course, he did. Others said that didn’t matter.
I had been leaning toward Trout for much of the second half of the year. He was having a special season for any player, let alone a rookie.
I know Cabrera won the Triple Crown, and, believe me, I am big on the historical aspect of the game.
And I know he moved across the diamond from first base to third to accommodate Prince Fielder. That’s a big move. But Cabrera has played third base before, including fulltime during his final two seasons with the Marlins, so it’s not like he was in uncharted water.
Trout is the better all-around player. Many of those I talked with mentioned how the Angels were a better team once Trout joined them early in the season. Yes, that was about the time Albert Pujols began hitting. But maybe Albert Pujols began hitting because Trout was now in the lineup.
Cabrera helped the Tigers reach the postseason. Ok. But the Angels won one more game than the Tigers and played in a tougher division.
Cabrera won the Triple Crown and that is HARD. Yes, I know. That’s why I waffled.
I originally had Cabrera atop my ballot for that reason. But I just didn’t feel comfortable with that vote.
Last year I voted Justin Verlander for MVP, which was a somewhat controversial move because Verlander is a pitcher. Pitchers get the Cy Young Award is the argument. But I felt Verlander’s season was so outstanding that to give him only the Cy Young wouldn’t do it justice.
I feel the same way about Trout, the runaway winner for the AL rookie of the year.
I sent my ballot in last year with a lot more conviction than the one I filled out this year.
I kept thinking back on what the guys who play or played the game said. I didn’t let them pick my MVP, but I felt more comfortable going with my gut by voting for Trout.
I’m also not upset I didn’t get it right.
Here is my 2012 AL MVP ballot:
1. Trout, LAA
2. Cabrera, DET
3. Beltre, TEX
4. Jones, BAL
5. Jeter, NYY
6. Cespedes, OAK
7. Cano, NYY
8. Hamilton, TEX
9. Rodney, TB
10. Encarnacion, TOR