Sep 24, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) singles in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Blue Jays defeated the Orioles 3-2 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: What's an MVP?

I was in my car when I got the news that Miguel Cabrera had won the American League MVP. It wasn’t surprising to me, but what was surprising was the fact that so many people were upset that Mike Trout didn’t win the award. Please don’t get me wrong; Trout was a very worthy candidate. Quite frankly I would have been very comfortable with Trout winning the award. Furthermore Cabrera himself was a very worthy candidate. He led MLB this year with a .348 average, .442 OBP, 44 homers, and 137 RBI (one less run batted in than Chris Davis).

I suppose what’s a bit surprising to me is that Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles didn’t garner a bit more outrage in terms of being “snubbed.” Davis of course led the majors with 53 homers, 138 RBI, and was a Gold Glove finalist at his position. Davis received one first-place vote, which qualified him for third in the voting. If you’re keeping score at home, Mike Trout was second. The proof is in the pudding as they say, in the sense that Cabrera ran away with the award. However did he win it for the right reasons?

The glaring difference here is that Cabrera’s Tigers went to the post season, whereas Trout’s Angels and Davis’ Orioles did not. So does that play a role in the voting? One would hope not.

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the BBWAA writers would tell you that it doesn’t. However throw the numbers out the window for one moment. Look at what Davis did defensively for the Orioles in 2013. Again, don’t even bring his defensive numbers into the mix; think back on the tight picks, great catches, etc. that we saw out of him at first base. Again throwing the numbers out the window, look at how much of the Orioles’ offense centered around him. Is there any doubt that the team would have been up a creek without a paddle without Davis? (A situation referred to as being Munson’d in the classic movie Kingpin.) So…isn’t that kind of the definition of a Most Valuable Player?

This is all a relative discussion, as the sabermetricians are all arguing that Trout got snubbed today. And they might be right. However the fact that Cabrera went to the post season as opposed to both Trout (who’s season was over well before the end) and Davis (who’s season in theory ended the last week of the season). I would agree that in most cases the Most Valuable Player is going to come from a team that’s probably in the post season. One notable example of course is the Orioles’ Cal Ripken Jr. winning the award in 1991. However it would be interesting to go back over the course of the last 15-20 years and see if there were perhaps more worthy candidates than the eventual winner. And by that I mean more worthy candidates who perhaps were on teams that didn’t go to the post season.

Ultimately Davis will have to settle for a Silver Slugger award, being nominated for a Gold Glove, and of course with being the 2013 Most Valuable Oriole. However if the past two seasons are any indication, I’d expect him to be in the MVP conversation for some time.

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  • Mitchblue

    Is there any doubt that the team would have been up a creek without a paddle without Davis? (A situation referred to as being Munson’din the classic movie Kingpin.) So…isn’t that kind of the definition of a Most Valuable Player?

    You just described Miggy and the Detroit Tigers..

    • Domenic Vadala

      Probably, but keep in mind that Detroit had much stronger pitching than the Orioles did. The O’s without a doubt had a better defense, but in baseball pitching generally rules the day. I think the O’s would have been more sunk without Davis than Detroit would have been without Cabrera.

      • Mitchblue

        You could also throw in the fact Detroit struggled in September with Miguel hurt. Nonetheless Davis is a great player and I hope he continues to do great things.

        • Domenic Vadala

          True. Thanks for reading!

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  • Bob Wight

    I was saying the same thing to a friend today. How do you lead the majors in HRs, RBIs and contend for a Gold Gove award and garner only one first place vote? In essence the Tigers played without Cabrera for the last month or so of the season after his injury turned him into a mere mortal…..they still had enough weapons to win. I find it hard to believe you could have removed Davis for that period of time and still had the O’s contending till the last week. A healthy Cabrera would have made that last month of the season one for the ages in his pursuit of a second triple crown. The guy is unreal and I really don’t understand any complaint against him.

    Enjoy your articles Dominic.

    • Domenic Vadala

      Both Cabrera and Davis are MVP-caliber players. Ultimately I think that Cabrera was given a bone due to the fact that he’s an incumbent in a sense. But I see Davis winning an MVP or two before he’s done. Thanks or your kind comments, and thanks for reading!

  • Dave Gruber

    I think baseball fans need to appreciate what Cabrera is doing now. Without a doubt had he not gotten injured he would have won back to back Triple Crowns, something that has never been done in MLB history. Not only that, but for the past 5 seasons he has AVERAGED the triple crown., leading league in average, HRs and RBIs over that period. People will be talking about Cabrera in the same way they talk about the all time greats of the game when his career is over and we need to appreciate it while it’s happening.

    • Domenic Vadala

      I agree that he’s something special, but I disagree with the assumption that he ultimately would have won the triple crown again. While September wasn’t Davis’ strongest month, the fact is that he led the majors in homers for most of the season. I don’t think it’s fair to Davis to just assume that Cabrera would have overtaken him. Thanks for reading!

  • Ricky Shifflett

    I think the BBWAA will tell you they also hold each player team’s contention in consideration when voting League MVP. Trout also had the fact that he moved around in the OF, which held him out of a Gold Glove. Davis was on the end of 2 Gold Glovers in the O’s Infield as well as his own nomination. Miggy well he’s no doubt the Best Hitter in Baseball, but there are 2 sides to the Game. And I believe that despite the Performance of Angels and Orioles, that either Trout or Davis were more valuable… Look at the Tigers they have Scherzer, Verlander, Sanchez Rotation, with Fielder, V-mart, Tori Hunter. Take Cabrera away and they still are contenders. Take Trout and Davis away from their respective teams and tell me Who is More Valuable?

    • Domenic Vadala

      I think it really matters how you want to look at things. One could argue that removing one player from a team of all-stars shouldn’t make too big a difference. However one could also argue that those other guys however wouldn’t be all-stars without the other, so it goes both ways. Thanks for reading!