In his early look at the postseason awards Thursday, Keith Law placed two Tigers among the top four on his American League MVP ballot, but neither of them were named Miguel Cabrera. While I agree with Law that Austin Jackson and Justin Verlander are both having excellent seasons and are deserving of consideration, I do think there is a case to be made for Cabrera as a legitimate contender for AL MVP.
Let's start with the obvious. No, Cabrera can't match Mike Trout's overall numbers right now. Trout has posted a higher batting average, higher on-base percentage and higher slugging percentage, he leads the league in stolen bases and stolen base efficiency, and he's a fantastic defensive center fielder who adds a lot of value in the field. There isn't a player in baseball who stacks up next to Trout's overall line, Cabrera included.
However, there are reasons to think that perhaps Cabrera has been somewhat more valuable this year than his overall batting line would suggest, and the opposite may very well be true of Trout. That reason? Performance in the clutch.