MLB awards awash in controvery
September 19, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
As baseball's campaign season hits the final two weeks, USA TODAY Sports breaks down the divisive issues: Can a 21-year-old rookie win an MVP? Will a drug scandal stick to a slugger? A knuckleballer as a Cy Young Award winner? A look at the swing votes to be won in the stretch drive:
The front-runner: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels. This true five-tool player doesn't have the power numbers of Miguel Cabrera (38 homers, 123 RBI), but he has everything else, leading the league with 116 runs and 43 stolen bases, despite toiling in the minors the first 20 games of the year. The only dent is that the Angels might not reach the playoffs, but the Detroit Tigers might not, either.
Finishing strong: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers. He's hitting a major-league leading .390 with 14 homers, 25 RBI and 24 runs since Aug.20. He has 33 homers and 17 game-winning RBI, tying Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees for the most in the American League.
Stat to know: 63. Trout can become the third rookie in 63 years to lead the league in batting average and stolen bases, previously accomplished by Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and Jackie Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949.
When the polls close: Trout has the numbers, and just as important, the hype, to win the award. Cabrera is his stiffest competition, but with the Tigers fading in the AL Central race, it would impede Cabrera's path to win his first MVP award. Beltre's run figures to be just a little too late.