Singles: Mauer +2
Doubles: Cabrera +4
Triples: Mauer +1
Home Runs: Cabrera +6
Runs: Cabrera +2
RBI: Cabrera +7
Walks: Mauer +8
Outs: Cabrera +87
In terms of raw production, you’d be hard pressed to find two guys who had more similar years than Mauer and Cabrera. The differences in practically all of the counting stats is single digits, making those numbers a virtual tie. The only counting stat where there is much in the way of differentiation is outs. Essentially, the difference in playing time was entirely consumed by the equivalent of Cabrera enduring the worst slump baseball has ever seen.
If Mauer had played through his back problem in April without reaching base once, going zero for the month, then Cabrera and Mauer would have had approximately equal offensive seasons.
Seriously, there is no argument for a first place vote for Miguel Cabrera. Mauer’s team made the playoffs, beating out Cabrera’s team for the last spot. Mauer hit better. Mauer fielded better. Mauer played a more important position.
None of those facts are disputable. A vote for Cabrera being more valuable in 2009 is like a vote for the sum of two and two being five. It’s not an opinion – it’s a lack of understanding.
So, writers who criticized Law for his vote and pointed to it as evidence that he’s screwing up the process, you are hereby required to do the same thing to the Cabrera voter. At least Keith had a reasonable explanation for his vote. There is no reasonable explanation for a Miguel Cabrera first place MVP vote. It’s just stupidity on display.
To the other 27 voters – congratulations on continuing the trend of this awards season and giving the player the award he deserves. The BBWAA has done itself proud this year.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.