Predicting This Year's MLB MVPs: Trout? Posey? Cabrera?

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Jake,

First of all, Hampton's metaphor makes perfect sense. Let's remember: Our esteemed colleague is a Kansas City Royals fan, which is pretty much like being a Chicago Cubs fan, only without the Boston Red Sox-shaming beautiful loser mythos and the adult theme park that is Wrigleyville.

In other words, being a Royals fan is painful. Inescapably, irredeemably bleak. Sadomasochistic, in fact. So I'm not surprised by Hampton's 50 Shades of October reverie. Losing baseball does funny things to a man.

But yeah, let's talk MVP picks. For once, I find myself agreeing with both of you. Well, with a few quibbles.

Unlike Jake, I don't think Andrew McCutchen's second-half slowdown should be held against him, no more more than Buster Posey's late charge should carry extra weight. It's a long, punishing season—almost like a six-month spanking session, and thank goodness for that, right, Hampton?—and games played in April and May count as much as those played in August and September. That said, Posey almost certainly will be the choice. Team success always seems to matter when it comes to individual end-of-season honors, even in an intensely individualistic, near-Randian "team" sport like baseball.

(Hey, I don't make the rules, and definitely don't pretend to make sense of them).

As for the American League? Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander says it would be "bull[expletive]" if teammate Miguel Cabrera becomes the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski and fails to capture the MVP award. Maybe so. But this is baseball. Bull[expletive] comes with the territory. (Exhibit A: Roger Clemens, Sugarland Skeeter; Exhibit B: Jose Canseco, the complete Twitter Sessions; ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution rests). Me? I like Mike Trout. Not just because his Wins Above Replacement metric is compelling—Jake and Herman Edwards are right, you play to win the game—or because he has played in 21 fewer games than Cabrera, or because (according to the good people at Fangraphs) Trout's base running is way better than Cabrera's. (I know, shocker).

No, I'm going with Trout because so much of what he has accomplished is both unexpected and unprecedented, a reminder that even in our hyper-analyzed, post-Moneyball era, baseball can still surprise and delight in totally irrational ways, producing a season so remarkable we may never see the likes of it again. Like a summer love affair, I suppose, burning bright before burning out.

See? I told you Hampton made sense.

–Patrick

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Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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