Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who was the first player in 45 years to win Major League Baseball’s Triple Crown of hitting, was named the American League Most Valuable Player in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that was announced on the MLB Network.
Cabrera, 29, was listed first on 22 of 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city and second on the other six to total 362 points. He led the AL in batting average (.330), home runs (44) and runs batted in (139) in becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabrera also topped the league in slugging percentage (.606) and on-base-plus-slugging (.999) for a Detroit club that won the AL Central and eventually advanced into the World Series. Voting is conducted prior to the start of postseason play.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim center fielder Mike Trout (.326, 30 HR, 83 RBI), the AL leader in runs (129) and stolen bases (49), received the other six first-place votes, was second on 21 ballots and third on one for a runner-up score of 281. He is the first rookie to finish second in MVP balloting. The award was won by two first-year players – Red Sox center fielder Fred Lynn in 1975 and Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (.321, 36 HR, 102 RBI) finished third in the voting with 210 points.
Rounding out the top 10 were New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano (.313, 33 HR, 94 RBI), Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton (.285, 43 HR, 128 RBI), Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (.287, 32 HR, 82 RBI), Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (.316, 216 H), Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64 ERA), Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (.313, 30 HR, 108 RBI) and Oakland Athletics rookie outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 23 HR, 82 RBI). In all, 24 players received votes.
Cabrera finished second in the 2010 balloting to Hamilton and has placed in the top five of the voting in each of the past five seasons. Originally a third baseman, Cabrera returned to the position this year after four years at first base. This marks the sixth time a third baseman has won the AL award. Alex Rodriguez won twice as a third baseman, in 2005 and ’07, and once as a shortstop, in 2003. Other AL-winning third basemen were George Brett in 1980, Brooks Robinson in 1964 and Al Rosen in 1953. Third basemen have won 10 times in the National League, most recently Chipper Jones in 1999.
The past four Triple Crown winners have all earned MVP honors – Cabrera, Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson in 1966 and Mickey Mantle in 1956. Other Triple Crown winners to be voted MVP were Joe Medwick, the last NL winner, in 1937 and Jimmie Foxx in 1933. Four other times Triple Crown winners were not named MVP – Ted Williams in 1947 and ’42, Lou Gehrig in 1934 and Chuck Klein in 1933.
It marks the 10th time a Detroit player has been honored and the second year in a row. Verlander won in 2011. Winning the award twice each were Hank Greenberg in 1935 and ’40 and Hal Newhouser in 1944 and ’45. Other Tigers winners were Guillermo (Willie) Hernandez in 1984, Denny McLain in 1968, Charlie Gehringer in 1937 and Mickey Cochrane in 1934. This is the third time the Tigers have won in consecutive years.
Cabrera was born in Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela. He is the first player from that country to win an MVP Award.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, who was in 17th place with eight points, failed to crack the top 10 in MVP balloting for the first time in his career. In his previous 11 seasons in the NL, Pujols finished first three times, second four times, third, fourth, fifth and ninth.
The voting (14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system):
2012 AL MVP
|Miguel Cabrera, Tigers||22||6||362|
|Mike Trout, Angels||6||21||1||281|
|Adrian Beltre, Rangers||1||16||9||1||1||210|
|Robinson Cano, Yankees||6||10||1||1||3||2||1||149|
|Josh Hamilton, Rangers||3||6||5||8||2||3||1||127|
|Adam Jones, Orioles||1||2||7||5||4||3||2||120|
|Derek Jeter, Yankees||2||1||5||1||3||2||1||1||77|
|Justin Verlander, Tigers||2||3||3||2||1||1||58|
|Prince Fielder, Tigers||1||5||1||2||5||5||56|
|Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics||1||2||2||3||2||4||41|
|Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays||2||5||6||33|
|David Price, Rays||1||3||1||26|
|Fernando Rodney, Rays||1||5||2||1||24|
|Jim Johnson, Orioles||1||1||1||1||22|
|Alex Rios, White Sox||1||5||1||17|
|Josh Reddick, Athletics||2||1||2||14|
|Albert Pujols, Angels||1||1||1||8|
|Ben Zobrist, Rays||1||1||1||7|
|Joe Mauer, Twins||1||3||6|
|Rafael Soriano, Yankees||1||1||5|
|Matt Wieters, Orioles||1||4|
|Felix Hernandez, Mariners||1||2|
|Jered Weaver, Angels||1||2|
|Raul Ibanez, Yankees||1||1|