Once again, the voters for American League Most Valuable Player sent a clear message: playoffs are the most important component to win.
For the second straight season, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers won the AL MVP in voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, with Mike Trout of the Halos finishing second and Chris Davis of the Orioles in third in results announced on Thursday.
Trout, in just his second full season, hit .323 with 27 home runs and 97 RBI and led the league in both runs scored (109) and walks (110).
That the 22-year-old finished ahead of Davis showed that writers were much more impressed by his overall season than they were solely with the Triple Crown numbers of the Baltimore first baseman, who led the majors with 53 home runs and 138 RBI, while batting a respectable .286 for the season.
Above all, it debunked the theory that the classic statistics take precedence over the newer statistics established in the boom of sabermetrics.
Trout's Wins Above Replacement (WAR) according to statistics website Baseball Reference was 9.2 WAR, far and away the best in the American League for the second straight season. In comparison, Davis (6.3 WAR) was seventh in the AL and Cabrera (7.2) fourth.
Trout was also by far a better defender than either of the other two contenders, leading to the conclusion that for the second straight season, the difference came down to the Tigers making the postseason and the Angels missing out.
In all fairness, Cabrera probably would have won last season even if both teams had made the playoffs because of the fact that while there has been a seismic shift in the use of sabermetrics to evaluate players and the quality of their seasons, the sport's first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 would have given the writers more than enough incentive to stick to the classics just one more season.