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Entries in Miguel Cabrera (27)

Thursday
Nov152012

Trout, Cabrera Dangerous To All Fields

When it comes to fielding, base running and positional value, Mike Trout easily trumps fellow AL MVP contender Miguel Cabrera. But in the batter's box, L.A.'s fleet-footed center fielder and Detroit's burly third baseman bear a striking resemblance. Trout and Cabrera are arguably the game's most well-rounded sluggers, lacing extra-base hits to all fields.

Check out Trout's hit chart during the 2012 season. While he showed serious pop to the pull side, Trout also racked up plenty of doubles, triples and homers to center and right field:

            Trout's spray chart

 

Similarly, Cabrera crushed pitchers in every direction:

                  Cabrera's spray chart

Trout and Cabrera had a nearly identical distribution of pitches put in play. Trout pulled the ball about 40% of the time, went up the middle 26% and punched pitches to the opposite field 34%. Cabrera pulled the ball 39%, hit it to center 27% and went oppo 34%. Trout and Cabrera were prodigious pull hitters, but they were also terrifying to center and right field.

Trout and Cabrera's slugging percentage by side of field

BatterSlugging Pct. to Pull SideSlugging Pct. to Center FieldSlugging Pct. to Opposite Field
Trout .852 .811 .514
Cabrera .757 .672 .738
Avg. for Right-Handed Batter .588 .475 .464
Thursday
Nov152012

Why I would vote for Miguel Cabrera for MVP

In today’s New York TimesNate Silver makes a persuasive statistical analysis as to why Mike Trout is more deserving of the AL MVP over Miguel Cabrera. The great Silver, who is on my personal/professional Mt. Rushmore next to Bill James and Sean Forman, slices, dices and even juliennes the numbers and makes a convincing argument as to how Trout’s numbers are clearly, albeit slightly, better versus Cabrera.

However, while I do agree that statistically Trout is the “all-around player of the year,” I still believe Cabrera was the “most valuable,” and here’s why. Silver compares Cabrera versus Trout, I would prefer to compare Cabrera and his Tigers versus the league in the highly pressured pennant race from September 1 forward.

On the morning of September 1, the Tigers had a record of 70-61 and Trout’s Angels had a record of 70-62, virtually the same and each team was about the same out of the AL Wild Card race. From that point on, the Tigers record was 18-13 and the Angels an even better 19-11. But in this drive to the postseason, who was the team’s MVP?

When it counted in September, Mike Trout hit .289 with five homers and nine RBI striking out 35 times in 135 plate appearances while Miguel Cabrera hit .333 with 11 homers and 30 RBI and 25 whiffs in 129 plate appearances.

Expand it by a month and you will find that from August 1 to October 3, Trout hit .287 with 12 homers and 28 RBI, with 49 runs scored and 18 steals with 67 whiffs, while Cabrera hit .344 with 19 homers and 54 RBI, with 42 runs scored and no steals but striking out just 39 times.

Cabrera had an OBP of .411, slugged .670, resulting in a 1.081 OPS

I will grant that Nate is right on everything he wrote (and I trust his analysis more than mine), but when it comes to the AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera is his Heidi Heitkamp.

Thursday
Nov082012

Hot Spots for '12 AL MVP Finalists

The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced finalists for its awards on Wednesday, including American League MVP. Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton or Mike Trout will get the hardware next Thursday on MLB Network. Here's a quick look at each candidate's heat map during the 2012 season. Unlike on election night, there's a lot of red here.

Adrian Beltre

Beltre mashed middle pitches -- his .786 slugging percentage on offerings thrown to the horizontal middle of the plate ranked second among qualified batters (Adam LaRoche was first):

Miguel Cabrera

Miggy, meanwhile, was the game's most dangerous hitter when pitchers tried to bust him inside. Cabrera slugged .673 against inside pitchers, slightly edging out Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper:

Robinson Cano

Cano had two major hot spots: down and in, and high and way. He slugged .614 versus down-and-in pitches (nearly 180 points above the MLB average) and .698 on high-and-away stuff (290 points above the MLB average).

 

Josh Hamilton

Hamilton's hot spot was, well, everywhere:

He ranked in the top 10 in slugging against inside, middle, and away pitches. Hamilton's prowess against in-zone pitches (he slugged .817 against pitches thrown in the zone, best in the majors and 123 points above runner-up Ryan Braun) explains why pitchers so rarely challenged him. Hamilton saw the lowest percentage on in-zone pitches (35.1%) of any qualified hitter. Prince Fielder ranked a distant second at 40.7%.

Mike Trout

Unless pitchers went high-and-inside or painted low and away, Trout made them pay. The 21-year-old was especially deadly against pitches thrown to the horizontal middle of the zone, ranking fourth among hitters with a .758 slugging percentage:

 

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