Silver Chips Online

Sideline Report: The case for Mike Trout

By Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief
October 25, 2012
What is the most valuable player (MVP) award? Last time I checked, the MVP award went to the player who contributed most to his teamís success. Judging by this rubric, Angelsí rookie outfielder Mike Trout should be a runaway for this yearís American League (AL) MVP award.

Trout was one of the best outfielders in baseball this year, routinely robbing home runs. Courtesy of Yahoo
Trout was one of the best outfielders in baseball this year, routinely robbing home runs.
Letís rewind back to April 28. The Los Angeles Angels, fresh off signing Albert Pujols to a contract worth $254 million, were 6-14 in the American League West division, good for last place. Angelsí brass were beginning to panic, wondering if their huge signing of Pujols was a mistake. But on April 28, things changed. Twenty-one year-old rookie Mike Trout was called up to the big leagues, and from there, proceeded to turn major league baseball into his own personal playground.

Granted, Tigersí third baseman Miguel Cabrera did become the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, but the MVP award is about more than just the combination of three stats deemed the most important over a hundred years ago. Although Miguel Cabrera is just the 15th player ever to win the Triple Crown, what Mike Trout did, no one has ever done before.

Tigers' third baseman Miguel Cabrera won the 15th triple crown in baseball history this year. Courtesy of Gould Academy
Tigers' third baseman Miguel Cabrera won the 15th triple crown in baseball history this year.
Many Trout critics say Cabrera deserves the MVP award because Cabrera was able to lead his team to the playoffs while Trout was not. What many fail to realize though, is that Troutís Angels, who went 89-73 this season, actually finished with a better record than Cabreraís Tigers, who went 88-74. Meanwhile, since Troutís call up, the Angelsí .585 winning percentage was the best in the AL. If Mike Trout had been playing for a full season, there is a good chance that the Angels would have won more games, and made it to the playoffs. Maybe then we would be watching the leagueís best player on the gameís biggest stage.

Although Trout only played in 139 games this year, he still led the American League in steals and runs, finishing with 49 and 129 respectively. Trout also finished higher than Cabrera in the sabermetric favorite: on base percentage. Cabrera played in 22 more games this year than Trout, but Trout still scored 20 more runs than Cabrera. Even though Trout, who is considered a leadoff type hitter, did not match Cabreraís 44 home runs, Trout still managed to hit 30 in his shortened season, tying him with sluggers Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.

Although Trout did not play a full season, he still led the American League in stolen bases with 49. Courtesy of The Daily Journal
Although Trout did not play a full season, he still led the American League in stolen bases with 49.
But talking only about Mike Troutís offense would be a sin. Mike Trout was a human highlight reel on defense, robbing home runs left and right, saving the Angels many runs and defying the laws of physics. Troutís ridiculous speed also allowed him to cover tons of ground in center field as he played Gold Glove worthy defense. Playing third base for the first time in years, Miguel Cabrera was a liability on defense for the Tigers, making the fourth most errors by a third baseman in the American League.

Mike Trout can do it all, he can hit for average, hit for power, run, play defense and throw. He is the ultimate five-tool player. Miguel Cabrera is one-dimensional, and his ability to impact a baseball game is limited when his team is in the field. Based on the impacts that they each had on their respective teams, Mike Troutís name should be called when the American League MVP is announced on Nov. 15.


http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/11798