I feel confident that the AL MVP over the past two seasons was and should have been Miguel Cabrera. I think those who thought that Mike Trout should have won had a better case last season than this season. While I think Cabrera was correctly voted AL MVP, I understand the debate for Trout. Trout plays excellent defense, steals bases and probably does more different things to help the Angels than Cabrera does for the Tigers. In spite of Trout, the Angels still finished at 78-84. The critics say Trout did not have much to help him, but I do feel that the success of a team matters, at least to some extent. One who feels Trout should have won the award should agree that the numbers and production of the two are at least in the same ballpark. When that is the case, it is more important to factor in what the players impact had on a team.
Part of the reason I disagree with the choice for the NL MVP is the fact that it was simply given to Andrew McCutchen because the Pirates made the playoffs in 2013. Like I said before, I think a team's success should factor in to the vote, but only if the players had comparable seasons. Yadier Molina's value to the St Louis Cardinals cannot be stated more, and maybe he could have been a possibility if there was not a candidate that stood out.
But in 2013, there was a player who performed clearly above the rest. Paul Goldschmidt had an outstanding season, one which saw his numbers rank higher than McCutchen in just about every category. The Diamondbacks finished 81-81 and missed the playoffs, which is what cost Goldschmidt his due consideration. Lets break down the number of Goldschmidt and McCutchen and you make the logical decision, unless the award has changed to be the best player on a team to make the playoffs. I guess that is still up for debate.
McCutchen had a solid season, won the Silver Slugger Award and made the All Star team. In 157 games, McCutchen scored 97 runs, had 185 hits, 38 2Bs, 21 HR and 84 RBI. He had a .317 avg, .404 OBP and .508 SLG for a .912 OPS. Goldschmidt played in 160 games, scored 103 runs, had 182 hits, 36 2B, and led the NL in HRs (36) and RBIs (125). I can hear the sabermetrics people scoffing now. Driving in 125 runs, which by the way, nobody else in the NL did, does not mean the player was valuable. In fact, what a lousy performance! I hope you pick up my sarcasm. But even if you choose to disregard the RBI stat, which you have every right to do, Goldschmidt had a .401 OBP and led the league in both slugging percentage (.551) and OPS (.952). He also led the NL with his 160 OPS+ and 332 total bases. McCutchen was close (158) in OPS+, but not close in the other categories.
One may want to bring the defensive element into play, like they do with Trout. Ok, McCutchen did not win a Gold Glove Award this season, but Goldschmidt did. That should count for something. The only way one can justify McCutchen getting the award this season is because he played on a superior team. I'd like to use that as a tiebreaker if the numbers are close. They were not in this case. Goldschmidt should have been the clear winner, with no tiebreaker needed.
Going back 27 and 26 years ago, respectively, I understand that there were no extensive stats to go by. But the voting system changed. When Mike Schmidt and Andre Dawson won the NL MVP in 1986 and 1987, they got the award because they were the best players in their respective leagues. If we were using today's formula of "you have to make the playoffs to win an award," Glenn Davis of the Astros and Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez of the Mets would have finished 1-3. In 1987, the same could have been said about St Louis' Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark and San Francisco's Will Clark.
I get the change from a sabermetric perspective, but Goldschmidt was a better offensive player than McCutchen this season and was also the best defensive 1B in the NL. I understand that Goldschmidt cannot play CF like McCutchen, but he is the best defensively at his position. Don't the sabermetric guys like to incorporate defense into these votes? A guy that wins a GG and leads the league in OPS, OPS+ and total bases should be the most valuable player.