Mike Trout. Miguel Cabrera. These two magnificent ballplayers dominate the American League MVP discussion - last year, this year, and for the foreseeable future. Once again, the MVP race looks set to come down to one of these two, with Cabrera holding the edge in the traditional offensive stats and Trout holding the edge in WAR. Sure, you could argue for the Orioles' Chris Davis, but he has some serious handicaps in this race. His numbers, while awesome, are clearly below Cabrera's. His WAR is below that of his Orioles' teammate, Manny Machado. And he fails the eye test of ye olde, self-righteous baseball writers - many of whom have decided, without any shred of evidence, that Davis' numbers reek of PEDs. Fortunately for Cabrera, his personality faults - multiple drunk-driving arrests and public threats to shoot strangers and blow up a bar - are considered harmless quirks by baseball's old guard.
So it's down to Miggy and Trout - both of whom have played a series against the Yankees in the past week. Since everyone knows the Yankees are the center of the baseball universe, lets just look at their performance at Yankee Stadium, crown an MVP, and be done with it.
Good God, Trout, get it together! With those kind of weak-ass numbers, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto would be lucky to swap Trout straight-up for Eduardo Nunez (but Jerry, if you're reading this, we might be willing to let you talk us into it).
Performance against Hiroki Kuroda:
Trout: 1-3, single (+30 MVP points)
Cabrera: n/a (-30 MVP points)
Kuroda has been far and away the best Yankee starter this season. Trout managed a respectable 1-for-3, whereas Cabrera wasn't even man enough to demand Kuroda start one of his three games at the Stadium. Weak sauce, Miggy.
Performance against Ivan Nova:
Trout: 2-4, 2 singles, 2 RBI (+75 MVP points)
Cabrera: 1-4, 1 single, 1 RBI, 1 K (+ 25 MVP points)
Nova has been putting up video game numbers since returning to the rotation (52.1 IP, 1.89 ERA). In hindsight, how impressive does that 1-for-4 line against Miggy look? Nova didn't fare as well against Trout, surrendering a pair a two-out RBi singles. Of course, the Yankees were already up by eight runs at the time. Yeah, I like this version of Ivan Nova.
Performance against Phil Hughes:
Trout: 0-1, 1 BB, 1 HBP (-40 MVP points)
Cabrera: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI (-40 MVP points)
When it comes to facing Phil Hughes, the scoring is simple: every time you don't hit a dinger, you lose 20 points. I won't dock Trout any points for getting beaned...had Phil not hit him in that at bat, he would have hit a dinger.
Michael Kay's B.O.O.B scale:
Trout: high B.O.O.B (+20 MVP points)
Cabrera: low B.O.O.B (-20 MVP points)
If there's one thing Michael Kay knows, it's who is and isn't bustin' it out of the box. In that vein, I have created the Kay B.O.O.B. (Bustin' Out Of the Box) scale to help Kay gauge who is bustin' to his satisfaction. Miggy scored a very low B.O.O.B., which disgusts Kay. Sure, he was playing through an ankle injury, but who cares? Trout, on the other hand, has the kind of high, firm B.O.O.B. that makes Kay drool. Just look at all that bustin'! That's a real man! Did you know Trout is from New Jersey? You know who else is from New Jersey, don't you? Derek Jeter. It all comes around, you see.
Hitting two home runs in two at bats against Mariano Rivera:
Cabrera: + MVP points
So there you have it: Miguel Cabrera wins this year's MVP award by a score of - "whatever # Trout scored". Handing out these awards isn't very difficult, so long as you pay attention to the numbers.