accurately assessing a player's success through such arcane numbers as WAR (Wins Above Replacement), BAPBIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) and RC27 (Runs Created Per 27 Outs). That's why the Twins manager endorsed Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera for the AL MVP Award on Friday. "It doesn't make much sense to me to be arguing about this, to tell you the truth," he said. For Gardenhire, it's cut-and-dried. Cabrera entered Friday night's game against the Twins one homer shy of leading the league in batting average (.330), home runs (41) and RBIs (130). Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton has 42 homers, and Cabrera has 12 games to pass him; if he does, and manages to retain his lead in the categories, he'll be the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Yastrzemski, incidentally, won the AL MVP that season. "If you're going for a triple crown, that's an MVP season," Gardenhire said. "He's got his team in a playoff hunt, whether they get there or not can't solely depend upon him, but he's the reason they're in it right now, and that's an MVP. He's the best player in our league." Standing in Cabrera's way, of course, is Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout, who entered Friday's games batting .324 with 27 homers and 77 RBIs and a major league-leading WAR, which attempts to statistically define how many more wins a player is worth than an average player at the same position. The argument isn't about whether numbers can determine a season's quality, it's about which numbers. "All I want to tell you is if you're going for a Triple Crown, and you've got (Cabrera's) numbers, you can SABRE all you want to -- those numbers blow your mind," Gardenhire said. "And I know Trout's do, too; those are good numbers. And a couple other guys have decent numbers. But look at Cabrera's numbers; that's ridiculous. That's right up there with some of the best players in baseball (history)."
- Miguel Cabrera