Cabrera or Trout? It’s a matter of taste

Patrick Newell

By tomorrow morning, we will know if Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera won the American League Triple Crown. Unless Texas’ Josh Hamilton resuscitates his power stroke in short order, Cabrera will likely become the first player since Boston’s Carl Yastrzewski completed the feat in 1967. (Author’s note: My initial attempt at spelling Yaz’s surname was abysmal.)
Less certain than Cabrera’s history-making effort is the AL MVP tabulation, to be determined later this fall. On the West Coast, Anaheim plebe, Mike Trout, is close to making history. His rookie resume is as good as any in baseball annals, and he makes a strong case to pull off the Rookie of the Year/MVP daily double. On a personal front, I drafted Cabrera in my fantasy baseball draft, while Trout, was unavailable on draft day. Trout was subsequently snapped up by my good friend Tom Bryden, who clinched our league title a couple of weeks ago. As for me, my team secured last place around the same time Bryden earned frontrunner status.
Making a case for either player as a clearcut choice is along the lines of choosing a Big Mac or a Whopper – it comes down to one’s taste. Are you one who likes the table-setter who hits for average, steals bases, scores runs, and shows good pop with the bat? Or, do you prefer the consistent run producer who hits for a high average and power – and in the clutch — and allows his teammates to see better pitches?
Since Trout was called up in late April, the Angels have had one of the best records in all of baseball, but a bad start likely cost them a shot at the postseason. Trout has impacted and improved his team, but one has to also consider that high-priced Anaheim free agent, Albert Pujols (also a Newell draft choice), hit as many home runs in April as this writer. Since early May, Pujols has been much more “Machine like.”
Over the last two months, Detroit surged past the struggling White Sox to clinch the AL Central Division. The Tigers’ record during that time was not overly auspicious, but Cabrera’s numbers were. Not counting Tuesday night’s games, Cabrera has hit 19 homers and batted .344 since Aug. 1. Trout has dinged 12 homers, but his average is a less sublime .284 during the same time frame. When it mattered most, Cabrera was a little better than Trout, and if I had a vote that counted, Cabrera would get my nod as the AL MVP.