No one is talking about the American League Rookie of the Year race and this is a gross injustice that needs to be rectified. All I’ve been hearing about lately is the AL MVP. Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, blah blah blah. Everyone seems to be taking for granted that just because Mike Trout is getting some (largely undeserved) MVP buzz, that this automatically makes him the undisputed AL Rookie of the Year, end of discussion. End of discussion? There needs to be a discussion! There is no such thing as a sure things in sports (or sports writing). There must always be two options, and we must consider both options and give them equal weight because that is what’s fair and right (and controversial). In this spirit, I present to you the Oakland Athletics‘s Yoenis Cespedes (American League Rookie of the Year).
As of this writing, Cespedes has one less RBI than Trout, and yet he’s played in ten less games. It doesn’t take a math scientist to extrapolate and concur that indeed, Cespedes just knows how to drive in runs, while his competitor is less skilled in that regard. The last time I checked, it’s runs that win baseball games, and Cespedes is a master at driving those runs in. Anyone can score runs—it takes a real master with the heart of a champion in order to produce them.
Trout supporters like to trot out all this WAR malarkey when supporting their case in his favor. Let’s break down that atrocious acronym, shall we? WAR: Wins Above Replacement. The first word of this statistic is “Wins,” so at least these poindexters got one thing right with their balderdash. Wins are what matter here, right? I think we can all agree on that, and a quick look at the standings shows that the Oakland Athletics have won more games than the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the State of California and the Country the United States of America. 10 WAR vs. 3 WAR? I don’t understand a word that you just said. Four games ahead in the standings and playoff bound? Now that’s some math I can get behind.
So while we can argue around in circles all day over vague nonsense like “WAR” and “OPS+” and “UZR” and “BB%” and “Defense” and “Baserunning”—you know, a bunch of non-traditional hokum—I’d much rather get right down to what really matters, driving in runs and winning baseball games. I’m telling you, those are the only statistics that matter and the only statistics that support my argument and so that’s very convenient for me. My longstanding beliefs remain sound and unquestionable. Yoenis Cespedes for American League Rookie of the Year: Because RBIs and Team Wins and This Baseball Writer Says So, Damnit.