The three finalists for the AL MVP – Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout and Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis - all put up gaudy offensive numbers in 2013.
The voters will determine whose were most befitting an MVP when that honor is announced Thursday night.
Cabrera is trying to win consecutive AL MVPs, which hasn't happened since Frank Thomas won for the White Sox in 1993 and 1994. Thomas is the only player to do that since Roger Maris won consecutive AL MVPs in 1960 and 1961.
.330 BA, 40 HR, 130 RBI
Multiple Seasons in Career
A Cabrera win would give the Tigers three straight MVP awards. They’d be the first AL team to have their players win at least three straight since the Yankees won four in a row from 1960 to 1963 (Maris winning in 1960 and 1961, Mickey Mantle in 1962 and Elston Howard in 1963).
Cabrera was actually a better offensive player in 2013 than he was when he won the Triple Crown in 2012, even with the injury that hindered his production in September and the offseason.
He raised his batting average 18 points, his on-base percentage 49 points and his slugging percentage 30 points, finishing with the same number of home runs (44) in 67 fewer at-bats.
MVP or not, his last two seasons have put him in the company of some of the game's elite players.
Trout is trying to become the third Angels player to win the MVP, joining Don Baylor (1979) and Vladimir Guerrero (2004).
Trout led the majors in Wins Above Replacement for the second straight season. Though his advanced defensive metrics dropped a bit, Trout’s offensive numbers were about as impressive in 2012 as they were in 2013.
Most Wins Above Replacement
AL Position Players
Yet he could miss out on the MVP award because of Cabrera’s presence.
Should Trout come in second, he’d be the first player to be a runner-up in the MVP voting in consecutive years since Albert Pujols in 2002 and 2003.
In fact, those two years also marked the last time that the same players finished 1-2 in consecutive seasons. Barry Bonds beat out Pujols for the NL MVP award in each of those seasons.
Davis is trying to become the Orioles' first MVP winner since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1991.
Though his numbers tailed off after the All-Star break, Davis led the majors in both home runs and RBIs, the first Orioles player to have the top mark in both leagues in each of those stats within the same season.
Davis was known for his ability to get big hits. Baseball-Reference.com separates situations into high, medium and low leverage based on their importance to a team’s chance of winning the game. Davis thrived in high-leverage spots, hitting .342 with 13 home runs in 114 at-bats that met that classification.