Miguel Cabrera put up MVP-worthy numbers for the Detroit Tigers in 2010. But he’ll have to settle for winning the Tiger of the Year award. The American League Most Valuable Player award for last season went to the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton.
22 of 28 first-place votes went to Hamilton. Cabrera finished with five. And Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays received one. (Big surprise: A writer from the Canadian Press cast that vote. Cabrera’s votes, by the way, came from Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City.)
You can see how the voting broke down at the Baseball Writers Association of America website.
Hamilton led the AL with a .359 batting average, to go with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs. His slugging (.633) and OPS (1.044) also led the league. Hamilton missed most of September nursing fractured ribs, but the Rangers had essentially wrapped up the AL West by then.
Cabrera led the AL with 126 RBIs and on-base percentage (.420), to go with 38 homers and a .328 batting average. He essentially was the Tigers’ offense for much of the season, but especially once Magglio Ordonez was lost for the season with a broken ankle and Brennan Boesch regressed from his impressive start.
The lack of support from the rest of Detroit’s lineup resulted in Cabrera also leading the league in intentional walks, with 32.
Ultimately, however, the Tigers’ third-place finish was surely a determining factor in the MVP vote. Regardless of how Detroit’s lineup might have performed without Cabrera, taking a team to the postseason has become an extremely compelling argument for voters.
But it’s not like Hamilton wasn’t deserving of the award, either. He had an excellent season, one that pushed the Rangers into the playoffs (and eventually to the World Series, though that obviously didn’t factor into the vote). Hamilton also played terrific defense in the outfield, which can’t be ignored.