Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera became the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown this season, and he is likely to win the American League MVP award when that's announced next month.
But first things first: could Cabrera win a World Series MVP? He is the 5-1 favorite to do so at Bovada. Cabrera's Tigers would almost certainly have to beat the San Francisco Giants in the series — Detroit is a -180 favorite — for Cabrera to bring home the MVP. Only one player has won the award while playing on a losing team, as New York Yankees shortstop Bobby Richardson did so in 1960 when the Yankees lost in seven games to Pittsburgh on Bill Mazeroski's Game 7 home run.
After leading the AL with a .330 average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs during the season, Cabrera is hitting .278 with one homer and five RBIs in nine playoff games so far. He had at least one hit in all four games of the ALCS and at least one RBI in the final three games. Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson of the Orioles was the first third baseman to win the World Series MVP in 1970. There have been plenty from that position to follow, including the Cardinals' David Freese last season.
One thing working against Cabrera is that a player who won the AL MVP award hasn't played on the winning World Series team in the same season since Tigers closer Willie Hernandez in 1984. That was Detroit's last championship team. Cabrera is the fourth straight Triple Crown winner to play in the World Series (Carl Yastrzemski, 1967; Frank Robinson, 1966; Mickey Mantle, 1956 — Robinson's and Mantle's team won the WS).
Tigers ace Justin Verlander is 8-1 to win the MVP. He will start the opener and likely Game 5. Verlander has been typically brilliant this postseason, going 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .122 off him. Verlander has faced the Giants just once in his career, in 2008, the worst season of his career. The last starting pitcher to win World Series MVP was Philadelphia's Cole Hamels in 2008.
Neither Verlander nor Cabrera was named ALCS MVP for the Tigers: outfielder Delmon Young was. He hit .353 with two homers and six RBIs in the sweep of the Yankees. Young is 12-1 to add the World Series MVP. No outfielder has won the award since the White Sox's Jermaine Dye in 2005. Young actually has been playing DH this postseason and did so for much of the regular season. However, there will be no designated hitter for the games in San Francisco, so manager Jim Leyland will have to use Young in the outfield to keep his hot bat in the lineup. Young will start in left field for Game 1 and likely will in every game at AT&T Park. New York's Hideki Matsui won the 2009 World Series MVP as a DH.
The MVP favorite for San Francisco is catcher Buster Posey at 13-2 odds. He won the NL batting title and is considered the favorite to win the NL MVP award. A catcher hasn't won World Series MVP since the Blue Jays' Pat Borders two decades ago. The last player to play on a World Series-winning team who also won NL MVP in the same year was Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson in 1988. Of course Gibson hit one of the most memorable Fall Classic home runs in history in winning Game 1 of that series for the Dodgers against Oakland.
Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro was the NLCS MVP as he hit .500 in the series vs. St. Louis and tied an LCS record with 14 hits. Scutaro's current 10-game hitting streak is tied for the longest in Giants postseason history. He is 12-1 to add a World Series MVP. Only one second baseman in history has won the MVP and that was the Yankees' Richardson in 1960.
San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval also was a strong candidate for NLCS MVP as he hit .310 with two homers and six RBIs vs. the Cardinals. "Kung Fu Panda" has an RBI in five straight games, matching a team postseason record set by Barry Bonds in 2002. Sandoval is also 12-1 to win World Series MVP.
Verlander is the only pitcher in this series with individual MVP odds. All other pitchers would be at 12-1 under "any other player." Could one of the closers take home the hardware? That hasn't happened since the Yankees' Mariano Rivera was named MVP of the 1999 Fall Classic.