Math has taken over every other aspect of baseball, from the way general managers put teams together to the way fans watch the game, but it still can't affect the outcome of baseball's biggest solo award.
The Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera won the American League's Most Valuable Player award on Tuesday evening. To some, it was inevitable. Cabrera was the first winner of baseball's Triple Crown in over forty years. That means he led the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBIs). These are very old-guard baseball stats. The kind of numbers the table of clueless old scouts you all laughed at in Moneyball would love. But Forty years. Through the steroid era and A-Rod and all, no one had done it until Cabrera. It's hard to argue against prestige like that in a sport fo steeped in tradition like baseball.
But the sabermetrically inclined folk, like king of math Nate Silver, or Brad Pitt's Billy Beane, or the National Post's Bruce Arthur, the numbers say the award should have gone to another man, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Some people forget that Silver was once a contributing member to the annual Baseball Prospectus books and played a big part in math revolutionizing baseball. So those people might have been surprised when Silver used his FiveThirtyEight blog to lay out his argument for Trout the other day. Poll analysis this was not.