How did M-Cab lose Silver Slugger to A-Gon?

Miguel Cabrera (Getty Images)Nobody in the Major Leagues with enough playing time to qualify for a batting title hit for a higher average than Miguel Cabrera. Nobody even hit within five points of him.

Only one Major League hitter posted a better OPS than Cabrera, and it wasn’t Adrian Gonzalez. It was Jose Bautista. Gonzalez hit 76 points lower than Cabrera.

Cabrera posted higher on-base and slugging percentages (again, he led the league in the first category), scored more runs, hit more home runs and more doubles than his former fellow Marlins farmhand. He led such specialized stats as Wins Above Replacement (7.3 to 6.6, according to fangraphs.com), had a higher isolated power rate, had more runs created, had a higher win probability, and enough other numbers to keep going for a while.

Cabrera did not win the Silver Slugger at first base. Gonzalez did.

What gives? Well, the best explanation is that the Silver Slugger is very much like the Gold Glove. In some cases, it might be worse. This might be one of those cases, and I’ll explain why.

Like the Gold Glove awards, managers and coaches around the league vote for the Silver Sluggers. They make out their ballots toward the end of the season, but not at the very end. They have enough things to do at the very end of the season with their own teams.

With the Gold Glove ballots, that usually doesn’t matter. A great defender is seen as a great defender, no matter what happens from one week to the next, in part because defensive stats aren’t followed and aren’t changed that much in that short of a stretch. Hitting stats, of course, are a lot different, which makes the Silver Slugger a lot easier to critique.

Cabrera wasn’t leading the league in hitting with a week left in the season, and he wasn’t particularly close. Adrian Gonzalez was on his way, and his challenge was seemingly coming from Michael Young. Cabrera hit 17-for-29 with four doubles, four homers and eight RBIs over Detroit’s final eight games and turned a great season into an excellent one, maybe even MVP caliber. It was just in time to sway the batting race, too late to sway votes.

How can a batting champion not win a Silver Slugger? Pretty easily, it turns out. NL batting champ Jose Reyes was left out, too. No AL batting champ had been snubbed since Michael Young in 2005, but look over the 32-year history of the Silver Sluggers, and Cabrera is the 12th such victim on the AL side. In the National League, it’s even more common. Reyes is the 13th. Nobody, however, is going to argue that Troy Tulowitzki wasn’t deserving as the NL shortstop.

Add together the snubs, and a league batting champ makes the Silver Sluggers about 60 percent of the time. Conventional wisdom suggests that those who get snubbed usually don’t hit for more than batting average, but that’s not always the case. Larry Walker batting .350 for the Rockies in 2001 with 38 homers and 123 RBIs, and he didn’t make it. Nomar Garciaparra hit .372 in 2000 with 21 homers, and A-Rod still beat him out, just as he did when Nomar drove in 104 runs with a .357 average a year earlier. Terry Pendleton won an NL batting crown and NL MVP in 1991, but lost out on the Silver Slugger at third base because Howard Johnson led the league in homers and RBIs while hitting just .259.

Does that make it right for Cabrera to get snubbed? Heck no. But it does put some history on it.

10 Comments

Really happy for Alex, but here is my explanation for Miguel. He was hosed! Look at all the winner with the exception of I think 2 AL east! Like golden gloves they vote for what they see on the television constantly. It’s a farse, always has been always will be!

Well, anytime you have voting, be it awards, elections, jury verdicts, football polls, whatever, you’re bound to have some strange results. It’s all opinions. It appeared that Gonzalez was having a big year while people were asking what was “wrong” with Cabrera most of the year. The Cardinals won the only prize that’s important.
.
MLB Network ran the “40 Greatest Finishes of 2011″ last night and the Tigers got two. Not hard to guess, it was Jackson’s throw to Avila and Raburn and Cabrera finishing off the White Sox. I guess we got three if you count Boesch’s liner turned into a game ending DP against the Giants.

This was a shafting, without question. Still, if the votes were in, say 2-3 weeks before the season ended, then the argument for AGon makes more sense. But, anybody that knows anything about baseball hitting can compare the twosomes numbers and easily see Cabrera beats him in most categories of any value. And in truth, it really wasn’t that close in the end. Oh well. I think Cabby finishes higher than AGon in MVP vote though, we’ll see, which would give creedence to JBecks argument.

September the first.
Cabrera : 328.430.549. 24 hrs. 85 rbis.
Gonzalez: 341.409.557.23 hrs. 103. rbis.
September 7.(Avg. OBP. SLG) Numbers at Detroit and Boston official webpage.
Miguel:332.434.562
González:343.407.557.
September 15
Miguel:334.438.563
González:.338.405.556
September 21:
Miguel:333.440.559
Gonzalez:341.409.557.
So they voted between september the first and september the 7 th.or around sept the 21th ,or the player with a below his numbers year was the winner.
I stick to was I said here yesterday:the worldwide exposure of a full weekend of Fox-ESPN broadcasts makes Evil Empire‘ Players household names

I like how you include Boston in the Evil Empire, and that’s accurate. I agree with you about the exposure.
The MVP vote will be interesting in that it was held at the end of the season (unless some writers already had their minds made up). Adrian’s team collapsed down the stretch while Miggy spearheaded his team’s charge to the title. That’s supposed to count for something, they say.

It’s no coincidence that the two award categories that are messed up most often are those that are left to the managers and coaches to vote for. I don’t think the managers and coaches particularly want to vote for any awards, either. Get someone qualified, like a computer!

It didn’t work well with the college football coaches voting either. That used to be the UPI poll, I don’t know what they call it now. When Michigan won the AP vote (writers) in 1997, the coaches voted for Nebraska because Coach Osborne was retiring! As one writer put it, if they wanted to give him some mushy going away present, they should have given him a puppy.

You have the chance to rewrote history and get back Jurjens. What would you do?
http://markbowman.mlblogs.com/2011/11/03/braves-willing-to-trade-jurrjens-and-prado/
JJ numbers are far from Smoltz´s and he is not a fit anymore but…
Supposedly Prado , a younger Santiago, would be also available

Come on – have some sympathy for that carrier pigeon flying to every manager and back in time so ML can spend a few weeks more counting the votes.
Fairer on all to finish counting on the season’s best around middle of August…

It’s shameful that Miguel is not on any of these lists. Embarrassing, as far as I’m concerned. MLB needs to wait until the entire regular season is completed until voting and before the the post-season begins. Migg y was the batting champ. I guess that’s all he gets!!! That is quite a get!!!!!

Nice for Verlander to garner both those awards. A shocker to some folks, probably. Our players have really helped shine a light on the Detroit Tigers. We actually see them in promos and commercials for MLB.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 215 other followers