The concept of value is taking a pretty severe beating this week. Reaching a working definition of “valuable” means parsing its use in an “awards” sense versus its use in statistical abstractions, making for muddy waters indeed. A given player’s role on a winning team, the weight given to defense, base running, and everything else not done in the batters box is suddenly up in the air.
Does defense and base running matter? Are positional differences not worth considering? Allow me the indulgence of a simple thought experiment.
If we are to believe base running and defense don’t matter, and that Miguel Cabrera carried the Tigers, let’s use our imagination to put that thinking to the test.
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The 2012 Major League Baseball Season will always be considered a special one. In addition to being the first played under a new and exciting playoff format, there were records broken, pitching perfection was accomplished, and the Oakland A’s staged one of the most dramatic turn arounds in baseball history to win its division on the last day of the regular season. Perhaps the most impressive achievement to come out of this season though, was an individual accomplishment of three different metrics, a Triple Crown, if you will.
Of course, I’m writing about Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels winning the Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement title, the Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement title and the Baseball Prospectus Wins Above Replacement Player title, and doing so, in all three cases, quite handily over the next closest player.
Congratulations, Mr. Trout, on a fantastic season of offensive and defensive accomplishments.