With just two days left to go in the MLB regular season it looks very much like Miguel Cabrera will win the first Triple Crown in batting since 1967 when Carl Yastrzemski turned the trick. Winning the Triple Crown will most assuredly give Cabrera the AL MVP. Becoming the first person in 45-years to accomplish such a feat will do that. I’m here to tell you however that someone else had a better year than Cabrera…
No, I’m not a Miggy hater because he’s a drunk. I simply live in the new modern sporting world that is popularized and driven by the emergence of Fantasy Sports. Don’t think Fantasy Sports matters? Take a look at NFL.com or MLB.com and look at the percentage of content dedicated to Fantasy. At RotoExperts we know the data intimately because we’re the guys that provide the content.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), participation in Fantasy Sports reached over 35 million adult Americans in 2011 and participation has grown over 60% the past four years. The Fantasy Sports audience encompasses a highly desirable demographic (male, 18-49, media and tech savvy, upper income) with a core growth opportunity in the mobile, social, gaming and multi-sport concentration of males in the 18-49 category and entry into the engaged/casual play segments. Growth in the Fantasy Sports industry is rampant and estimated to have had a $3 – $4 billion annual economic impact across the sports industry, with metrics in both participation and economics rising exponentially. When the final numbers are in for 2012, you can be certain they will blow away the impressive numbers of 2011.
So if you are a Fantasy Baseball participant (unless you’re in the minority, you are), Miguel Cabrera was not the MVP of your league, Mike Trout was. You can look at the 2012 MLB batting stats any way you want, regular, expanded or Sabermetric and none of that changes the fact that Mike Trout was the most valuable Fantasy player. Go to any of the popular that host games, CBSSportsline, ESPN, Yahoo or whoever you use and see who is ranked first. You’ll find that Mike Trout is #1, Ryan (shouldn’t get the 2012 NL MVP) Braun is #2 and Miguel Cabrera is #3.
Even taking into account that Trout didn’t start the year with the big club and had less opportunity to pile up the stats, Trout’s 20-run margin over Cabrera in runs scored and 44-run margin over Cabrera in stolen bases is enough to make Trout more valuable in Fantasy than Cabrera’s lead in home runs and runs batted in. In the end it’s Trout’s stolen base prowess that gives him the #1 spot. Taking a look at the top of the stolen base list, the number of guys that both hit for power and also steal bases in a worthwhile quantity are few and far between. In fact, other than Ryan Braun (there he is again), none of them combine a +.320 batting average along with the equation.
So there you have it ladies and germs, 21-year old Mike Trout is your 2012 Fantasy Baseball MVP…
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