CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Internet Baseball Awar... (11/14)
<< Previous Column
Internet Baseball Awar... (11/14)
Next Column >>
Internet Baseball Awar... (11/08)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: A... (11/14)

November 14, 2013

Internet Baseball Awards

AL Player of the Year

by Nick Bacarella

For all 2013 voting results released thus far, look here. You can also view the IBA's rules and history.

As far as the Internet Baseball Awards AL Player of the Year race is concerned, the 2013 MLB season might as well not have happened.

For the second year in a row, the two frontrunners for the award were Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. For the second year in a row, Trout won. Even the exact voting totals are eerily similar to last year’s, as Trout received just 21 fewer first-place votes than in 2012, while Cabrera received only two more. (The remaining first-place votes were scattered among Chris Davis, Josh Donaldson, Evan Longoria, David Ortiz, Max Scherzer, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adam Jones, Koji Uehara, and, um… Fernando Rodney.) And, as with last year, the crux of the debate between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout boils down to a simple binary: power hitting vs. all-around performance.

Following Trout’s simply ludicrous performance in 2012, analysts all over the map expected him to regress at least a little bit. In spite of these forecasts, Trout absolutely demolished his 2013 PECOTA projections, delivering something close to a 97th-percentile season for the second consecutive year. Admittedly, Trout did slip some in the field, but some of that regression can be attributed to diminished opportunities—an outfielder can rob home runs only if they’re there to rob—and the vagaries of defensive data.

Trout’s improvement on offense, though, helped make up for his diminished glovework. Trout boosted his walk rate nearly five percent while striking out three fewer times in 18 more games played, transforming himself into one of the most difficult outs in the league: his .432 OBP was third in the MLB, behind only Cabrera and Joey Votto. And based on VORP, Trout was actually the best offensive player in the league by a full 16 runs. His prowess at the plate, combined with disciplined baserunning and decent defense, allowed Trout to turn in the highest single-season WARP since Albert Pujols’s ludicrous 2009 campaign.

Like Trout, Miguel Cabrera also built on his stellar 2012 season. A series of September injuries prevented Cabrera from contending for a second consecutive Triple Crown, but that did not stop him from leading the league in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage, despite Chris Davis’ season-long power surge. Unfortunately for Cabrera, though, the other facets of his game are what sealed Trout’s victory. Cabrera’s -12.8 FRAA was the eighth-worst mark among qualifying players this year, and his baserunning—measured by a -2.7 BRR—wasn’t much better. As his numbers at the plate demonstrate, Cabrera’s raw hitting ability is second to none, but his performance once he leaves the batter’s box leaves a lot to be desired.


Though the other recipients of first-place votes mentioned above all had impressive seasons—Davis, for example, mashed a league-leading 53 home runs—none of them did quite enough to unseat MLB’s reigning jack of all trades. If Trout continues along his upward trajectory and Cabrera returns to full strength next year, we could have yet another award-season duel on our hands. Whether it turns out to be another episode of deja vu remains to be seen.

Rank

Name

1

2

3

Ballots

Points

1

Mike Trout

451

122

34

631

7826

2

Miguel Cabrera

164

372

78

633

6391

3

Chris Davis

7

45

195

532

3860

4

Josh Donaldson

8

60

180

474

3458

5

Robinson Cano

0

11

52

403

2316

6

Evan Longoria

1

1

25

323

1735

7

Max Scherzer

5

8

14

256

1319

8

Adrian Beltre

0

2

21

213

1066

9

Manny Machado

0

1

7

212

927

10

David Ortiz

4

1

10

160

804

You can view the full results of this year’s IBA AL Player of the Year voting here.

Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here

8 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

MikePemulis

Could you foresee a non-warp-winner ever winning this vote? I'm not advocating a return to 'intangible' or confirmation bias voting. What I'm wondering is whether or not there's some circumstance you could possibly foresee a slight WAR loser overcoming a slight favorite.

I guess this year's NL is a good example as Cutch seems to be the favorite despite Goldschmidt's comparable production (baseball-reference has Carlos Gomez as the NL WAR champ). As an analytical junky, what makes you diverge from the hard numbers?

Also, is there a better way to submit questions (not that I expect them all to get answered)? P.S. Shelby Miller would have won the World Series for the Cardinals.

Nov 14, 2013 09:47 AM
rating: 0
 
Yarky1

For me, your example is good. Given that defensive stats are less reliable, I'd tend to value WAR earned at bat a little more than WAR earned in the field (not that I doubt that Gomez is very valuable out there).

Nov 15, 2013 16:39 PM
rating: 0
 
MikePemulis

BTW, CBS endorsed Trout today. Is this cause for celebration or is it kind of like how galleries ruined graffiti?

Nov 14, 2013 10:20 AM
rating: 0
 
juiced

Once again, the IBA

Nov 14, 2013 10:37 AM
rating: 0
 
juiced

gets right what the baseball writer/voters will get wrong.

Nov 14, 2013 10:38 AM
rating: 0
 
anderson721

OK, I want to know who the 13 voters who believed that Trout was not one of the 10 most valuable players in the AL were.

Nov 14, 2013 18:46 PM
rating: 1
 
Llarry

Well, one was the guy that Trout cut off on the highway last Tuesday. One is allergic to fish. 10 figured he'd get all the votes he needed, and they wanted to give extra down-ballot votes. And the 13th guy, he's just a jerk... (Or Murray Chass)

Nov 14, 2013 19:38 PM
rating: 3
 
WaldoInSC

...but you repeat yourself.

Nov 14, 2013 20:15 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Internet Baseball Awar... (11/14)
<< Previous Column
Internet Baseball Awar... (11/14)
Next Column >>
Internet Baseball Awar... (11/08)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: A... (11/14)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article League Preview Series
Every Team's Moneyball: Minnesota Twins: Reb...
Premium Article Skewed Left: History Repeats Itself
Premium Article League Preview Series
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Why Relievers Get A Free ...
Premium Article Spring Training Notebook: Cactus League
Prospectus Feature: How the Astros do Spring...

MORE FROM NOVEMBER 14, 2013
Premium Article Perfect Game Presents: Before They Were Pros...
Skewed Left: Why Deserving MVPs Don't Win
An Agent's Take: Approaching the Offseason
Premium Article One Move: National League East
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Oakland Athletics
Premium Article Minor League Update: AFL and Winter League R...
Internet Baseball Awards: NL Player of the Y...

MORE BY NICK BACARELLA
2013-12-02 - The Week in Quotes: November 23 - December 1
2013-11-25 - The Week in Quotes: November 18-24
2013-11-18 - The Week in Quotes: November 11-17
2013-11-14 - Internet Baseball Awards: AL Player of the Y...
2013-11-13 - Internet Baseball Awards: AL Pitcher of the ...
2013-11-12 - Internet Baseball Awards: AL Top Manager
2013-11-11 - Internet Baseball Awards: American League To...
More...

MORE INTERNET BASEBALL AWARDS
2014-11-08 - Internet Baseball Awards: The 2014 Internet ...
2013-11-14 - Internet Baseball Awards: AL Player of the Y...
2013-11-14 - Internet Baseball Awards: NL Player of the Y...
2013-11-13 - Internet Baseball Awards: NL Pitcher of the ...
2013-11-13 - Internet Baseball Awards: AL Pitcher of the ...
More...