Jim Leyland backs Miguel Cabrera

Updated: August 10, 2012, 11:27 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland said during a radio interview that Miguel Cabrera should win the American League MVP over Mike Trout.

Leyland, speaking Thursday on WXYT 97.1 Radio in Detroit, admitted that Trout has had an "unbelievable" season and expressed concern that the rookie's "Wonderboy" status could impact the MVP race.

"I mean this respectfully," Leyland said during the interview. "I don't mean this disrespectfully -- I think what could be a little problem for Miggy ... he could run into one of these Wonderboy stories.

"You know -- a young kid, 20 years old, everybody gets excited about that, everybody loves that. It has a nice ring to hit, it should have. So I think that's dangerous for Miggy."

Trout, who turned 21 on Tuesday, has a league-best .345 batting average with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs for the Los Angeles Angels. The speedy outfielder also leads the AL with 87 runs and 36 stolen bases.

But Cabrera also has enjoyed a productive season, entering Thursday with a .323 average, 29 homers and 95 RBIs, the most in the majors.

"In my opinion, Miggy is the MVP," said Leyland, who refrained from openly campaigning for Justin Verlander last year. "Although you have time to play yet -- there is time left in the season -- but if the voting was today, Miguel Cabrera is the MVP."

A seven-time All-Star, Cabrera is a .317 career hitter and is on pace for his sixth consecutive season with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

Leyland believes the slugger's track record should be taken into account during the MVP voting.

"Trout is one of the best young players I've ever seen," Leyland said. "But at the same time, I think when you do it over a period of time -- a little bit longer -- I think that should have something to say about it.

"I think the numbers that Miggy has had over his career, and he's putting up unbelievable numbers again this year, I think that should be a part of it. Although this certainly is a great story with the Trout kid, because he's unbelievable."