Three Strikes You’re Trout

As expected, Mike Trout has been unanimously named the AL Rookie of the Year, becoming only the eighth unanimous vote winner in American League history. He joins fellow unanimous 1993 winner Tim Salmon as the only two Angels players to be named Rookie of the Year.

There’s nothing fishy about the selection, as Trout should also be the favourite to win the AL Most Valuable Player award as well, which would only be the third time in baseball history that the Rookie of the Year was also the MVP (Fred Lynn in 1975 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001). His main competition for the honour is Miguel Cabrera, the first Triple Crown winner since 1967. Despite the traditional counting stats that begets a Triple Crown winner, the sabermetric edge is clearly in favour of Trout, which notes a whale of a difference between them.

           HR    RBI    SB     BA     OBP     SLG    wOBA      UZR     WAR
Cabrera    44    139     4   .330    .393    .606    .417    -10.0     7.1
Trout      30     83    49   .326    .399    .564    .409     11.4    10.0

The UZR numbers alone should really skew it towards Trout, as it shows he’s saved over 11 runs above average, mostly in a premium defensive position in center field, whereas Cabrera’s been as bad as Trout was good in a less valuable position at third base. But voters may look at the team success the Tigers have had in reaching the postseason (even though the Angels won more games in a tougher division) and the various “intangibles” that a guy like Cabrera provided, and becoming only the 15th Triple Crown winner in baseball history (although Trout was only a steal away from being only the third player in history to join Barry Bonds and Eric Davis in the 30-50 club, in only 139 games).

But that’s why the AL MVP debate between Trout and Cabrera is one of the most interesting in years (though still not objectively “interesting”) as it really does sum up the current struggle of basement blogging baseball nerds in trying to wrest control of the largely meaningless narrative of Major League Baseball accolades away from the cold dead hands of baseball’s zombified elite, known collectively as the Baseball Writer’s Association of America, who hold all the votes.

Hopefully Trout will beat the Rookie of the Year curse that has afflicted every previous winner…except for Hideo Nomo, who was named Rookie of the Year of the Pacific League in the NPB (1990) and also of the National League in the MLB (1995).

I am, of course, very bummed out that the Angels traded 2010 third round pick RHP Donn Roach to the Padres back in May. Shuttled back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen by the Angels, he returned to starting this year and was anything but common this year, finishing with a sterling 1.59 ERA in four games for their Double-A team. As an extreme groundball pitcher with unorthodox mechanics, he’ll likely swim up their list of top prospects soon, despite moving to a bigger pond as the Padres have one of the best, and pitching heavy, farm systems in baseball. It’s just a shame that he’ll have to realize his destiny by San Diego Bay instead of Huntington Beach.

Unfortunately now with Roach dealt, and former prospect and Korean-American Hank Conger having too many at-bats to be able to qualify for rookie status…there remains no one left in the organization that can follow in Trout’s and Salmon’s piscine rookie legacies.

You know, chicken salad is not the opposite of tuna, salmon is the opposite of tuna, ’cause salmon swim against the current, and the tuna swim with it.



Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.



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