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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

ESPN: Miguel Cabrera wins Triple Crown

Miguel Cabrera became the 15th player to win baseball’s Triple Crown on Wednesday night, the reluctant superstar thrust into the spotlight after joining an elite list that includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.
...
“I am glad that he accomplished this while leading his team to the American League Central title,” Yastrzemski said in a statement. “I was fortunate enough to win this award in 1967 as part of the Red Sox’s ‘Impossible Dream Team.’”

Commissioner Bud Selig said also offered his congratulations, calling the Triple Crown “a remarkable achievement that places him amongst an elite few in all of baseball history.”

NTNgod Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:55 PM | 139 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tigers

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   101. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4254273)
Ruth did it too, in 1924, the year he won his only batting title.
   102. SoSH U at work Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4254274)
Ruth in 24 did it also.

Edit: Coke to Tom.
   103. alilisd Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4254279)
Maybe Billy Williams in the early 70's. Rice for a few years in the late 70's, but his average wasn't quite high enough.


OK, glad you didn't forget The Fear. Yes, Williams had two great TC seasons, but in one Rico Carty hit .366 to lead everyone else by over 40 points and in the other, when he led in BA, Bench beat him by 3 HR and 3 RBI. Rice did have two seasons leading in HR and RBI, but as you noted he wasn't particularly competitive for the BA although he did hit over .300 in each year. His 1979 was also a good shot although he ended up not leading in any of the three, but it was his highest BA season of the 4 seasons he had with at least 30 HR and a .300 BA (figured those were the minimum criteria to look for a TC candidate).
   104. Ardo Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4254284)
something like a train wreck in #32 hit it on the head. The MVP is "most valuable to his team", NOT "most individual value relative to league norms". Usually the two overlap, but not always and not this year.

The Angels could have played Bourjos every day in CF, and the Tigers' bench is dreck; that should matter. The Tigers made a playoff push, and the Angels faded; that matters. The Tigers' lineup revolved around Miggy and Biggy, while the Angels had other centers of gravity (Pujols, Trumbo, Hunter, Morales).

If I were an MVP voter, I'd have Cabrera and Cano ahead of Trout.
   105. alilisd Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4254298)
Bonds' problem was that he was too good at hitting for average and power, so he had no chance to lead in RBI as he'd get walked all the time with runners on base.


Meh, true late in his career, not so much earlier. Though he did always draw a lot of BB and IBB, from 1990 to 1993 he finished 4th, 2nd, 4th and 1st in RBI. His 1993 was a perfectly reasonable TC season, but Gwynn had a typical Gwynn season and Galaraga went crazy in Colorado. It was actually BA where he usually didn't fare as well.
   106. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4254307)
I'm not sure why that was the case either, but it seemed that it was. How many players from the 70's and 80's were even legitimate TC candidates?

Dick Allen, 1972.
   107. Booey Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4254312)
If I were an MVP voter, I'd have Cabrera and Cano ahead of Trout.


You know what happens when you play with fire, right?
   108. stanmvp48 Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4254313)
You meant the Babe only won one batting title. What a bum.
   109. alilisd Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4254320)
The Angels could have played Bourjos every day in CF, and the Tigers' bench is dreck; that should matter.


So the Angels could have played a worse player and lost more games. Intersting.

Tigers made a playoff push, and the Angels faded; that matters.


The Angels went 20-11 in Sept/Oct; that's fading? The Tigers play in the weakest division, by far, in the AL; that matters for team record and playoff pushes.

The Tigers' lineup revolved around Miggy and Biggy, while the Angels had other centers of gravity (Pujols, Trumbo, Hunter, Morales).


Mmmkay. So if you have good teammates, you're not as good a player? Also, the Tigers other centers of gravity (Verlander, Scherzinger, Fister, and a really solid bullpen).

If I were an MVP voter, I'd have Cabrera and Cano ahead of Trout.


OK, now you're just trolling.
   110. Booey Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4254325)
I'm not sure why that was the case either, but it seemed that it was. How many players from the 70's and 80's were even legitimate TC candidates?

Dick Allen, 1972.


Lynn in 1979, too.

All of these examples were only TC candidates for a few years though. There wasn't really anyone who was a perennial candiate for a half decade or more like we saw later with the likes of Thomas, Manny, Pujols, Cabrera, etc.
   111. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4254379)
The MVP is "most valuable to his team", NOT "most individual value relative to league norms". Usually the two overlap, but not always and not this year.

No, that is your interpretation. MVP voters are told to consider the following, nothing more:

(1) actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense; (2) number of games played; (3) general character, disposition, loyalty and effort;
   112. Ardo Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4254445)
alilisd, I'm not trolling. You're nuts to think that I am.

The problem, as Joe C points out in #111, is the "that is" clause. Depending on team-specific characteristics, "actual value of a player to his team" is not the same as "strength of offense and defense." The MVP ballot incorrectly equates the two.

If you're going by "strength of offense and defense" as your ONLY criterion for AL MVP, then, yes, Cabrera is behind Trout (in fact, he's 4th, behind Adrian Beltre and Cano).

If you're going by "actual value to his team" and you look at how the 2012 season played out, then it's Cabrera-Cano-Trout, as I said.

Also worth noting: "number of games played" is one of the official criteria, and it favors Cabrera over Trout.
   113. The District Attorney Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4254451)
You don't see the problem with basing a player's value on who his backup is? That's even worse than basing it on how good his team is. At least there's less chance that 25 guys will simultaneously be either crappy or great than there is that one guy will be either crappy or great.

Ultimately, an award that is being awarded to an individual is logically determined by attempting to isolate the contribution of that individual, independent of others.
   114. Ardo Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4254462)
You're an attorney, so you surely understand the meaning of prepositional phrases. It's not "actual (isolated individual) value", period. It's "actual value to his team."

Why can't both sides recognize that Trout was the "best" player (which I'm more than happy to acknowledge and celebrate), but Cabrera was the "most valuable"?
   115. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4254464)

The Angels could have played Bourjos every day in CF, and the Tigers' bench is dreck; that should matter.

Am I going insane here? Bourjos had a 73 OPS+ this season in nearly 200 PAs. I know he's likely a better hitter than that and he's an excellent fielder, but come on. You can't accuse Trout's backers of relying on a theoretical replacement level and then ignore the *actual* performance of Trout's potential replacements.
   116. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4254467)
Why can't both sides recognize that Trout was the "best" player (which I'm more than happy to acknowledge and celebrate), but Cabrera was the "most valuable"?

Because you have not given any evidence that such a statement is true.
   117. The District Attorney Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4254481)
Because if Cano had suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason, the Yankees would have run Jayson Nix out there as their second baseman for 150 games, rather than making a move.

So:
1. You're not basing the player's value on what the actual player did, you're basing it on what his backup did.
2. And, you're very likely basing it on what the backup did in a small sample size, since backups don't play much.
3. And, you're assuming that that backup was the only conceivable alternative option available to the team, which is certainly not true.
4. And, you're assuming that that backup would have played at the same level as a regular as he did as a backup, which is most likely not true.
   118. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4254492)
(1) actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense; (2) number of games played; (3) general character, disposition, loyalty and effort;

So things like Cabrera moving to 3rd fall within explicit voting criteria.
   119. Ardo Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4254498)
Which, of course, is how you end up with WARP - instead of worrying about backup play at every team, at every position, you generalize to replacement level. This is properly the basis of sabermetrics. And Trout (and Cano, and Beltre, maybe Adam Jones too) generated more value above replacement than Cabrera.

But if you're comparing players on different teams in one season, the teams' context matters and narrative matters. Heck with Cabrera; Cano is ahead of Trout because he performed best (hitting over .600) at the very end, in a lineup where neither A-Rod nor Teixera were at 100%. Just as the ninth inning is higher-leverage than the second inning, even though ERA+ doesn't show it, September performance (and making the playoffs) matters more for the MVP than June performance.

Never Give an Inge, you've made up your mind that "best player = MVP", and I'm not getting through to you. I've given plenty of evidence for Cabrera.
   120. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4254504)
September performance (and making the playoffs) matters more for the MVP than June performance.

This is because the games are worth two wins in September, donchaknow?
   121. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4254509)
Never Give an Inge, you've made up your mind that "best player = MVP", and I'm not getting through to you. I've given plenty of evidence for Cabrera.

Not true. I think a guy with a lower OPS+ who hit better with RISP or in close games can be more valuable than a guy with a higher OPS+ who delivered most of his contribution in bases empty situations, for example.

But if you're comparing players on different teams in one season, the teams' context matters and narrative matters. Heck with Cabrera; Cano is ahead of Trout because he performed best (hitting over .600) at the very end, in a lineup where neither A-Rod nor Teixera were at 100%. Just as the ninth inning is higher-leverage than the second inning, even though ERA+ doesn't show it, September performance (and making the playoffs) matters more for the MVP than June performance.

This is incorrect on both fronts. 9th inning isn't higher leverage than second inning. 2nd or 9th inning of a blowout is low leverage. 2nd or 9th inning in a close game is high leverage. Likewise, the games in April matter just as much as the games in September in the final standings.
   122. Ardo Posted: October 04, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4254517)
No. Games in September in a close pennant race are "higher leverage" than a September game between this year's Cubs and Astros. If Cabrera (or Cano) had had an identical run, but played for the Blue Jays, it would be irrelevant for MVP purposes.

The second inning matters just as much as the 9th inning for the final result of a game; we don't say "runs in innings 1-3 only count for half." Yet we still recognize the concept of leverage. Just as the closeness of the score generates in-game leverage, the closeness of the pennant race, even though I'm not an idiot and I understand that every game is an independent outcome, affects who is "most valuable to his team."
   123. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4254550)
No. Games in September in a close pennant race are "higher leverage" than a September game between this year's Cubs and Astros. If Cabrera (or Cano) had had an identical run, but played for the Blue Jays, it would be irrelevant for MVP purposes.

You're sort of right, but you're not disagreeing with me. Games in a close pennant race mean "more" than games in a non-pennant race. But for two teams in a pennant race, the games in May mean just as much as the games in September. Whether you think that should have a bearing on the MVP discussion is a different question.

The second inning matters just as much as the 9th inning for the final result of a game; we don't say "runs in innings 1-3 only count for half." Yet we still recognize the concept of leverage. Just as the closeness of the score generates in-game leverage, the closeness of the pennant race, even though I'm not an idiot and I understand that every game is an independent outcome, affects who is "most valuable to his team."

Yep. Leverage comes from the closeness of the final score, not from the inning. Good relievers have high average leverage because the manager can choose to use them in close games, not simply because they pitch later in the game.
   124. vivaelpujols Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4254552)
Miguel Cabrera this year, 16th highest wOBA since 2009 (he was a better hitter last year, slightly more valuable this year because he plays third base). 13th highest batting average since 2009. 5th most home runs since 2009. 3rd most RBIs.

This is a great season, but pretty much an average season for a top 3 player in the league, offensively. He's lucky to have won the triple crown. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 there was a player in the top 3 in the NL in home runs, batting average and RBI's (kemp, votto, pujols).

   125. vivaelpujols Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4254559)
Has anyone ever led the league in average and homers in a season WITHOUT also leading in RBI's?


Bonds did it a couple of times I think.
   126. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4254565)
So take out the Selig Era and it hadn't been done since 1953.

Take out the Selig Era and it still hasn't.
   127. alilisd Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4254580)
Has anyone ever led the league in average and homers in a season WITHOUT also leading in RBI's?



Bonds did it a couple of times I think.


Nope. Only led the league in HR twice and in neither season did he lead in BA. He really wasn't a high average hitter until late in his career. Throw out his first two seasons, when he was only a .245 hitter, include his 73 HR season when he batted .328, and his BA is .298. His best season to that point was .336, good for 4th in the league, and he also had two seasons he finished 7th.
   128. alilisd Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4254585)
The problem, as Joe C points out in #111, is the "that is" clause. Depending on team-specific characteristics, "actual value of a player to his team" is not the same as "strength of offense and defense." The MVP ballot incorrectly equates the two.


I see. You're not trolling, but you say the ballot is incorrect. So you know better what the award is supposed to represent than the people who established the voting criteria. No, you're not trolling at all.
   129. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4254599)
Cabrera hit to a 166 OPS+. It was an outstanding season, to be sure, but for the life of me I cannot figure out why people are going ga-ga over it just because he happened to lead the league in those three overhyped categories. (RBI? Jesus.)

His 166 OPS+ doesn't show up among the 100 best of all time. It doesn't show up among the 200 best. It doesn't show up among the 300 best, or the 400 best.

It is tied for the 420th best OPS+ season of all time.

His own teammate put up an OPS+ nearly as good (153).

People really need to think about recalibrating what they find impressive, what bowls them over, what makes them faint, what makes them teary eyed among things they thought they'd never see. Trivia is not impressive in its own right. It has to mean something. This means nothing that OPS+ doesn't tell us. It tells us less than what OPS+ tells us.
   130. Booey Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4254613)
Cabrera hit to a 166 OPS+. It was an outstanding season, to be sure, but for the life of me I cannot figure out why people are going ga-ga over it just because he happened to lead the league in those three overhyped categories.


Ray, as has been explained several times, some of us enjoy the aspects of baseball that are simply "fun" as well as those that are actually statistically relevant. No, it wasn't one of the best seasons of all time. Neither was Sosa's 1998 or Maris' 1961 or DiMaggio's 1941. But they're cool, and as fans there's nothing wrong with us enjoying that kind of stuff too.

Hitting .399 isn't the same thing as .400. A 55 game hitting streak wouldn't be the same thing as 57. Allowing one meaningless walk and nothing else isn't pretty much the same thing as a perfect game. And narrowly missing a triple crown has a major drop off in coolness from actually winning it. We're talking about excitement here, not simply overall statistical value.

If you don't find triple crowns and other fun but not necessarily statistically relevant feats interesting, that's up to you. To each their own. But why keep pretending that you don't even grasp why this kind of stuff might be amusing to others?
   131. Booey Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4254614)
Trivia is not impressive in its own right.


That's a matter of opinion. I like trivia. It's part of what makes sports so interesting in the first place.
   132. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4254617)
This means nothing that OPS+ doesn't tell us. It tells us less than what OPS+ tells us.

It tells us he won the Triple Crown. By definition, that's more.
   133. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4254624)

It tells us he won the Triple Crown. By definition, that's more.


More than what? A Triple Crown merely tells us that he led in BA, HR, and RBI. But why this grouping? Why not doubles? Why not walks? Why not steals? Why not infield hits? Why not flares to short right that drop in?

BA/HR/RBI meant something to people back when people were too dumb to see that these three things don't measure offense. It should mean nothing to people now.
   134. Dan Evensen Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4254643)
Excellent job by Ray, completely ignoring the answer to his question in post #130 and instead responding to #132. Iseewhatyoudidthere.jpeg

BA/HR/RBI meant something to people back when people were too dumb to see that these three things don't measure offense. It should mean nothing to people now.

Ahh, yes, your stance brings a lot of additional fun and excitement to the game of baseball. Away with the counting statistics! We care more about normalized, combined rate statistics, which make arguable assumptions about the relative worth and impact of defense.

Seriously, Ray, your argument here is exactly why the average fan is still turned off by advanced statistics. What the hell is wrong with enjoying the first triple crown since 1967?

I'm out of this thread before Ray turns it into another pointless flame war. This has happened too often here over the past few years.
   135. vivaelpujols Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4254644)
Yeah, Bonds never lead in BA in home runs. In both 2002 and 2004 he lead in batting average but was 3 off the leader in home runs.
   136. Booey Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4254645)
It should mean nothing to people now.


Why? Cuz it doesn't mean anything to you personally?

No one here is claiming that the triple crown stats are the best ones to measure offense. We all know that they're not. So? It doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to have fun with it anyway.
   137. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4254777)

People really need to think about recalibrating what they find impressive, what bowls them over, what makes them faint, what makes them teary eyed among things they thought they'd never see. Trivia is not impressive in its own right. It has to mean something. This means nothing that OPS+ doesn't tell us. It tells us less than what OPS+ tells us.

This is not true. There's a lot of noise in RBI, but there is some information there that is not captured in OPS+, which is how well a batter hit with runners on base. Of course there are better ways to measure this which adjust for the number of RBI opportunities, park factors, and the like, but the idea that RBIs tell you nothing that you can't learn from BA or SLG isn't true. Even if hitting with runners on is not a repeatable skill, it does go towards how "valuable" one's past performance was.
   138. something like a train wreck Posted: October 05, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4254812)
You don't see the problem with basing a player's value on who his backup is?


No, I don't. There is a practical need to use a standardized replacement level when measuring the value of large groups of players. There are conceptual reasons to use a standardized replacement level for measuring quality, which is not synonomous with value. There is neither a practical nor conceptual reasons not to decide which of two players is more valuable based on how their team would have performed without them.

Salary is a measure of value. Prince Fielder became more valuable to the Tigers and commanded a higher salary when Victor Martinez blew out his knee. It didn't make Fielder a better or worse player, it made him a more valuable one to the Tigers. Why can't the same construct apply to an MVP decision?

Changing subjects, I'm confused how steroids, increased use of relief pitchers, or the like is relevant to why we haven't had a triple crown in 45 years. We went from 8 to 10 to 16 teams/league -- 64 starters to 128, plus 8 DHs in the AL. The event was rare to begin with. It is obvious that it should become exponentially rarer. (I dimly recall that Bill James gave the same answer in one of his Abstracts.)
   139. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 05, 2012 at 03:21 AM (#4254842)
Prince Fielder became more valuable to the Tigers and commanded a higher salary when Victor Martinez blew out his knee. It didn't make Fielder a better or worse player, it made him a more valuable one to the Tigers.

Why did an injury to the DH make a 1B more or less valuable?
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