Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers hugs manager Jim Leyland #10 after the Tigers defeated the White Sox 8-1 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. Jim Leyland won his 500th game as a Tigers manager and becomes the fifth manager in Tiger history to register 500 wins. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
We've already got our American League Rookie of the Year.
Before the season, I thought it was going to be Yu Darvish. And he became an All-Star.
Before the season, Dave Cameron thought it was going to be Matt Moore. And he'd pitched quite well since May.
Darvish and Moore are irrelevant in the Rookie of the Year discussion, though. Mike Trout's got that one locked up already. And a fair number of observers think he's on track for a Most Valuable Player Award, too.
Just don't count Jim Leyland among Trout's supporters, though. Not for that award. Not when Leyland's third baseman, Miguel Cabrera, is enjoying yet another big season. Here's Leyland (via CBSSports.com's C. Trent Rosencrans):
"What's going to be dangerous for Miggy, and I mean this respectfully, he could run into one of these 'Wonderboy' stories," Leyland said (via the Detroit News). "Trout, he's one of the best young players I've ever seen. At the same time, when you do it over a period of time, a little bit longer, I think that should have something to say about that. That should be part of it. Although this certainly is a great story with the Trout kid. He's unbelievable."
Now, it's not abundantly clear what Leyland means by "period of time", and Rosencrans takes that ambiguity and jogs with it:
Leyland's right to stick up for his guy -- and if he means you should take in account the entire season, including the next two months, as part of his "period of time," he's right. But if he's suggesting (and I believe he is) that Cabrera's past performance should play a role in the MVP race, he's dead wrong...
Leyland's point, I think, isn't that past seasons should play a role, or even that "the next two months" are important. Rather, I think Leyland was making the point, however obliquely, that Cabrera has been around all season and Trout has not.
Trout didn't debut with the Angels until the 28th of April, and didn't score or drive in a run until the 4th of May, so he essentially contributed nothing to the general effort until the season was a month old. Which is to say that Miguel Cabrera has been helping the Tigers win for 100 percent of the season, Mike Trout only 75 percent of the season.
That seems sort of important.
A couple of other things that are important:
1. Mike Trout has won more games in his 75 percent than Miguel Cabrera in his 100 percent.
2. Jim Leyland, while he's right to stick up for his guy, is wrong to utterly ignore defense.
Not that he's alone. If the balloting were held tomorrow, Cabrera probably would finish second behind Trout, but there are other players who have been roughly as valuable as Cabrera. In particular, Robinson Cano.