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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Miguel Cabrera's DPs mean something

By David Schoenfield

If you're an ESPN Insider subscriber, you've probably read Keith Law's argument that Mike Trout is the rational choice for AL MVP Insider over Miguel Cabrera.

I wanted to add one more item of discussion: Cabrera leads the majors with 28 double plays grounded into. Those are 28 additional outs created by Cabrera's bat, outs that don't show up in the traditional triple-slash batting lines. Trout has grounded into seven double plays.

What if we simply added those outs to each player's batting line? Give Cabrera an additional 0-for-28 and Trout an additional 0-for-7? Let's see what happens.

Current batting lines:

Cabrera: .331/.395/.612
Trout: .323/.394/.554

With double plays:

Cabrera: .316/.379/.584
Trout: .319/.390/.547

Trout now leads in OBP although Cabrera still has the edge in slugging percentage. Still, the OPS difference between the two is cut down quite a bit.

Now, Tigers fans would argue that Cabrera hits third while Trout hits leadoff, and thus has more opportunities to ground into double plays. True, although Cabrera has still grounded into more double plays than other No. 3 and 4 hitters.

Plus, if you're arguing opportunity, Cabrera has 133 RBIs not just because he's a great hitter but because he's batted with the fifth-most runners on of any player in baseball. Cabrera has batted with 427 runners on base compared to 284 for Trout.

Too many Tigers fans view this "Trout for MVP" debate as a criticism of Cabrera; it shouldn't be viewed like that. Cabrera is an awesome hitter. Trout just happens to be awesome at the plate, on the bases and in the field.