Thursday, October 4, 2012

Albert Pujols - Terrible year but still better than most

As much of a down season that Albert Pujols had this year (30 home runs, 105 RBIs, .285/.343/.516 split), here are the top wins above replacement (WAR) of first basemen in 2012:

Joey Votto - 5.6
Albert Pujols - 4.6
Edwin Encarnacion - 4.5
Prince Fielder - 4.5
Adam LaRoche - 4.0
Mark Texeira - 3.6
Adrian Gonzalez - 3.3
Ryan Howard - -1.2

Some of these guys were injured, so I don't want to criticize too much, but Pujol's year doesn't seem to bad by comparison anymore. He did much better than many of his highly compensated counterparts.

AL MVP Miguel Cabrera vs Mike Trout

This year, the AL MVP battle will pit Miguel Cabrera vs Mike Trout.  It's one of the more fascinating MVP battles in recent memory.

On the one hand you have Miguel Cabrera, the triple crown winner.  By any traditional statistical measurement, he should win the MVP award.

On the other hand you have rookie phenom Mike Trout.  He annihilates Cabrera in WAR 10.7 to 6.9.  It's just not even close.  Mike Trout beat his closest opponent in WAR, Robinson Cano, by a healthy 2.5 margin (10.7 to 8.2).  Trout's performance was so good, only 22 other times in MLB history has anyone matched it or done better.

This vote will really pit advanced statistics against traditionalists.  In 2010, when Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young award with a 13-12 record, I thought award voters had finally adopted the use of new statistics in voting.

However, that contest wasn't like this one.  The allure of the triple crown will make it very hard for people to vote against Miguel Cabrera.  I think it'll be fascinating to see how the 1st place votes will be split.