GM Dipoto talks Trout, Cabrera, MVP, WAR

GM Dipoto talks Trout, Cabrera, MVP, WAR

GM Dipoto talks Trout, Cabrera, MVP, WAR
ANAHEIM -- Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto already knows who should be the American League's Most Valuable Player.

"If there is a definition of the Most Valuable Player," he said, "I think Mike Trout's picture would be next to it this year."

But Dipoto admits he's quite biased in this case.

"Look, we're all going to be jaded," he said. "We all think our guy is the best guy, and [the Angels] are no different. I mean, we think Mike deserves to be in the conversation and I'll be disappointed for him if he doesn't win the award, because I think he'd deserve it.

"But I'm not going to sit here and compare and contrast, because I think Miguel Cabrera is having a season for the ages, as well -- something we haven't seen, quite frankly, in 40 years."

Dipoto, of course, is referring to the Triple Crown, which the Tigers' Cabrera has a legitimate shot at with the AL lead in batting average (.333) and RBIs (130), while one away in homers with 41. The last time it happened was actually 45 years ago, when Carl Yastrzemski did it for the Red Sox in 1967.

"That doesn't happen in every lifetime," Dipoto said. "So, to undersell the value of that would be ludicrous. Miguel Cabrera is having an unbelievable season and his team is in the thick of it, as well."

Trout leads the league in runs and stolen bases, and sits six points behind Cabrera for the batting title while hitting 27 homers. But the fact that his greatest value comes via sabermetrics stats is what makes this MVP debate so interesting.

It's a clash between the new- and old-school ways of analyzing this game.

"I think Mike Trout is the MVP of the American League because I get to watch him every day," Dipoto said. "I see the difference he makes on the field, what he does on the bases, what he does defensively, the different elements he brings to the game, which, quite frankly, can't be mentioned in a stat line."

And that's where Wins Above Replacement comes in -- or, at least, tries to.

Those touting Trout's MVP case point to WAR, which, as puts it, "is an attempt by the sabermetric baseball community to summarize a player's total contributions to their team in one statistic." Trout's WAR coming into Thursday's game against the Rangers was 10.2. The second-place guy in the AL, Robinson Cano, is way behind at 6.6 (Cabrera has a score of 6.5).

Dipoto, big on sabermetrics, likes using WAR. But he believes there's "no single perfect number," and that includes the statistic that tries to be all-encompassing. Dipoto has apprehensions on how WAR measures defense, as well as the baseline they define for a "replacement player."

"It's a good tool to use in reference, but it's not a stand-alone number that should be the end-all, be-all," Dipoto said.

"I have my own opinions on the reason for Mike's value, and I'll use all those numbers to help contribute to it. But to say that there's one number that defines that, I don't know that that's true."