The Indians swept the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend in rather authoritative fashion. Saturday’s game was a white knuckler with Travis Buck playing the part of hero. Sunday’s game was a completely different story; a 12-4 drubbing that was seemingly over after the first inning. Thanks to the offensive onslaught from everyone in the lineup coupled with effective pitching, the game was never close.
Without any doubt, the standout of the game was Asdrubal Cabrera. All he did was go 5 for 5 with 2 runs scored, 2 home runs, 5 RBI and a stolen base for good measure. He was unbelievable. Not that he hasn’t been all season, but yesterday was one of those career type of days people are always going on about. That of course brings me to my next point, crazy as it may seem… is Asdrubal Cabrera the MVP of the American League? I say yes. Allow me to explain.
Yes… I know it’s insanely early for this convo, but after yesterday and the season he’s had so far, why not look into it?
First off, if MVP voting took place today the winner in the American League would be Jose Bautista. I’m not about to deny the absurdity of what he’s doing right now, 18 home runs, 31 RBI and a .353 batting average. It’s impressive as all hell. A lot of sports writers are blinded by numbers, especially gaudy numbers like that through roughly 40 games. However, Bautista plays for a Toronto team that is sitting in fourth place and floating right at the .500 mark. You have to take that into consideration. He’s no more valuable to the Blue Jays than I am. Without him they’re probably in last place, but with him they’re still only a .500 team. For that reason I’m throwing him out of this argument.
If we’re taking a team’s record as a heavy weighted variable in this, then the likely American League MVP has to come from one of the first place, or close to first place teams. As of today those teams are New York, Boston, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Texas, and Anaheim. From those teams, who really stands out as MVP worthy? Most would say Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria, Josh Hamilton are the likely candidates. Well, the only problem there is that Rodriguez isn’t what he once was while Longoria and Hamilton have been injured for large chunks of the season. So they’re out as a result.
So who’s left?
At this point, I think the most likely candidates are New York’s Curtis Granderson, Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez, and yes… Asdrubal Carbera. All three are having remarkable seasons, just take a look at their stats.
Cabrera is right there with Granderson and Gonzalez from a statistical perspective, but he also plays for the best team in all of major league baseball. If you take Gonzalez or Granderson off of the Yankees it’s possible both teams struggle or fall apart. It’s also possible that given the level of talent on those teams that they keep on pressing on without skipping a beat. They have the talent and the ability to plug that hole. So while valuable, does that necessarily make them the most valuable?
Cabrera on the other hand has been the Indians best and most consistent player all season long. He also just so happens to play short stop, the most important position on the field depending on you opinion of catcher. Regardless, Cabrera is the field general and leader of the best defensive team in baseball and the best hitter in the best lineup in baseball. Can you say that about either Gonzalez or Granderson? Perhaps, but does it carry as much weight as it does with Cabrera? I say no. From my perspective, as biased as it may be, Cabrera is more valuable to the Indians than either Granderson or Gonzalez are to the Yankees or Red Sox.
How many times have we watched Cabrera put us out front early with a first inning homer? How many times have we seen him save a run thanks to his glove work? Hell, he even pulled off the perfect suicide squeeze to help sweep the Red Sox back at the beginning of the season. He’s done it all so far and should be rewarded as the Indians all-star representative. As a matter of fact, he should be the starter. He leads all short stops in RBI and Runs scored, is second only to Troy Tulowitzki in home runs, and ranks among the top 10 short stops in batting average. Of course, Jeter will be penciled in yet again, but I guess that just means Asdrubal will have to do what he’s done all year, come up clutch in the late innings.
Whether or not Asdrubal Cabrera can keep this going all season long is anyone’s best guess. Whether or not the Indians as a whole can keep things going this well is a mystery. Either way, it’ll be fun to watch it all play out. Yes, we can probably begin engraving the AL MVP trophy with the name of either Jose Bautista or Adrian Gonzalez, but Cabrera at least deserves a mention in the discussion if he continues at this pace. Then again, the Indians have been proving eveyone wrong up to this point. What’s another chip on proverbial shoulder if it means the Indians finding a way to win it all in October?
Who knows, maybe Asdrubal Cabrera will win an MVP this season… just don’t be surprised if it’s of the World Series variety.