Tigers manager Jim Leyland found himself clarifying comments he made last summer when asked about ace Justin Verlander's MVP candidacy.

He didn't hold back on the topic Thursday, though.

Speaking on the radio with Mike Stone of WXYT 97.1, Leyland said Miguel Cabrera is his pick for MVP in 2012 — though he cautioned, "We've got time to play."

"Yes, take it to the bank, mark it down," Leyland said, when asked if Cabrera was the best hitter in the game. "He's really unbelievable."

Cabrera, 29, is threatening to become baseball's first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

He's tied with Josh Hamilton for the American League in RBIs (95), he's tied for fourth in home runs (29) and he's second in batting average (.323), behind only the man who's his biggest competition in the MVP race: Mike Trout of the Angels.

Trout, who just turned 21 this week, is having a remarkable rookie season, batting .345 with 20 homers, 60 RBIs and a league-best 87 runs and 36 stolen bases, despite not being called up to the major leagues until late April.