A Short and Sweet Argument for Mike Trout

This post is about the AL MVP race. I’m sure you’re tired of reading about this, but I’m going to write about it anyway. I’ll try to make it quick.

Take a look at this table:

1B 2B 3B HR SB2 CS2 SB3 CS3
Mike Trout 116 26 8 30 43 3 6 1
Miguel Cabrera 121 40 0 44 3 1 1 0

SB2 are stolen bases of second, and SB3 are stolen bases of third.

That leads to these lines:

Mike Trout 0.324 0.397 0.561 0.958
Miguel Cabrera 0.331 0.394 0.608 1.002

But stolen bases of second are really just turning singles into doubles, right? I know there are differences, but let’s just assume that that’s what they are. In the same way, stealing third turns a double into a triple. So using those stolen base totals, we’re going to turn 43 of Mike Trout’s singles into doubles (and 3 of his singles into outs), as well as turn 6 of his doubles into triples (and 1 of his doubles into an out). We’ll do the same with Miguel Cabrera.

That leaves of with this:

Mike Trout 0.327 0.400 0.662 1.062
Miguel Cabrera 0.331 0.394 0.616 1.010

As you can see, Trout now has an OPS that is well higher than Cabrera’s OPS. Interesting, right?

Of course, this was not a very great method of taking stolen bases into account. A single and a stolen base is obviously not the same as a double because of the whole driving in runs thing. But I’d say it’s probably pretty close in value. wOBA (the metric that WAR uses) does a much better job of properly valuing stolen bases, but for those who prefer traditional stats, I thought this might appeal to you. Even if we drop down the value of stolen bases a bit to account for the slight difference, Trout and Cabrera end up with a very similar OPS. And then, of course, we should take defense into account, which Trout probably wins by a large margin.

What do you think? Is this at all convincing for the Cabrera supporters among you?

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2 thoughts on “A Short and Sweet Argument for Mike Trout

  1. Chris Hunter says:

    How did Trout’s OBP increase after factoring in the stolen bases? You didn’t add any hits, but took 4 away.

  2. Matt Hunter says:

    Good catch, I must have messed up the calculations slightly. Shouldn’t change the end result dramatically, though.

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