Baseball’s Triple Crown 2012…A Sure MVP?


Carl Yastrzemski Triple Crown Winner 1967Baseball’s most impressive individual Title is the Triple Crown. The Batting Triple Crown consists of either a American or National league player the leads in these three categories: Batting Average, Home Runs and Runs Batted in (RBI). Players who reach the glory and accomplishment to be a Triple Crown winner, are simply in a league of their own and will never be forgotten. If you are able to witness it in your lifetime it would be a rare exciting moment if you are a baseball fan. To put into perspective how long it has been the last time this achievement has happened, gas was only 33 cents a gallon and we hadn’t landed on the moon yet. The year was 1967 and accomplished by Carl Yastrzemski. The Triple Crown is so rare in today’s game, due to the fact that a player must be able to hit for power and average, while driving in runs. It has been 45 years since we have had a player lead in all three categories. This year Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is so close it will come down to the last game of the season to achieve this greatness. We will see by the end of tonight if he will reach the record books. Tonight could also bring that he leads in only one category, that’s how close it is.

The first Triple Crown winner was in 1887 by Tip O’Neil of the American Association, he played for St. Louis. Only 12 players since Duffy have accomplished this rare historic achievement and 12 of the 13 players have been selected into the Hall of Fame. Roger Hornsby (St. Louis) and Ted Williams (Boston) are the only two players that have won the Triple Crown twice.

Even though a player wins the Triple Crown, it is not always a guarantee that they win the MVP of the league, this is baseball, and as we all know the writers can take in account many other stats to see who wins the MVP. This brings me to question who will get the MVP of the American League, Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. You must be thinking why would Trout when Cabrera leads the league in the top 3 categories.

While Cabrera is leading the league in HR, AVG and RBI. Trout is leading the league in Runs, Stolen Bases, and WAR (Wins Above Replacement) it’s basically an overall rating of how good a player is. From what I read from a Sports Illustrated article, only Rickey Henderson (four times), Ty Cobb (three times), Billy Hamilton (twice), Willie Mays, Snuffy Stirnweiss, George Burns and Honus Wagner are the only players to lead in all three of those categories. It may be clear that Cabrera is a better hitter ant Trout, but when you consider the overall player of Trout with his offense and defense you will have Trout on top.

Trout and Cabrera

Trout and Cabrera

Here is an example from Sports Illustrated on who provides more offense.

Cabrera clearly has a big lead of total bases: 361 – 290. They both are neck and neck when it comes to walks and hit by pitches at 67 – 66. Then comes extra bases and stolen bases where Trout blows Cabrera out of the water 98 – 36. Then take the number of time caught stolen away from each player. This gives Trout a net of 435 total bases over Cabrera’s 424. Making Trout more of an offensive total base value. Add defensive value to this and Trout will over power Cabrera.

Cabrera: (361 + 67 + 36) – 39 = 424
Trout: (290 + 66 + 98) – 19 = 435

This years MVP will be a close call, I believe that Cabrera will be the MVP for what he has done to get his team into the post-season and if he happens to get the Triple Crown, that will be the icing on the cake. For those 32 writers who vote, they may just look at the overall skill of the player than just 3 solid categories. It has happened before…

Let me know your thoughts, who do you think should win the American League MVP for the 2013 season?

– Matt Ingle

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