Today, in one of the least suspenseful announcements since Titanic was declared Best Picture at the Oscars, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was crowned American League Rookie of the Year (via ESPN).
It was unanimous. It should have been. Trout's numbers were insane and historic. And the gigantic elephant is in the room: Should he win the American League Most Valuable Player in a season where Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers also won the Triple Crown?
More salmon than trout, Mike has an uphill swim for the award. But it is not a hopeless battle. Recent award results have shown a change in thinking by baseball writers.
The standard mindset for voters of the Cy Young seemed to have been "vote for whomever has the most wins." Winners like Bob Welch and Bartolo Colon took home the prize over more worthy pitchers like Roger Clemens, Dave Stewart and Johan Santana.
But in 2008, Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants won the award over Arizona Diamondback star Brandon Webb. Lincecum had 18 wins to Webb's 22, but won the award by a wide margin.
Linecum won the next year with only 15 wins. In the American League, Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke won with 16 wins against Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia, who each had 19 wins.
The next year was the real show down between old time voting and new stat evaluation for the Cy Young. In 2010, Felix Hernandez barely had a winning record at 13-12 for the Seattle Mariners but dominated in virtually every other category to win the Cy Young.
The consensus leading up to the announcement was that voters would never give the award to Hernandez because of his record. Tampa Bay's David Price and Boston's Jon Lester each had 19 wins. CC Sabathia of the Yankees had 21 victories.
But Hernandez won the award.
Mike Trout can take comfort in that. The votes may come out differently. People's predictions might be based upon how voters used to evaluate statistics as opposed to how they actually vote.
Chances are Miguel Cabrera will indeed win the MVP. But ask Felix Hernandez about chances.
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