There’s the regular statistics, the ones lit up every Major League scoreboard. As of Monday, Cabrera leads the majors in batting average with .377, 26 points above any other player in the league. Miguel has 57 RBI’s, 11 more than anyone else. He’s tied for second with 14 home runs. Cabrera is on pace to be a real contender for the Triple Crown after he won the elusive title in 2012 for the first time in 45 years.
Then, there’s the advanced statistics. Offensively, Cabrera has a WAR value of 3.2, giving Detroit three more wins than a replacement player. No other player in the majors is higher than 2.9.
It’s also estimated that Cabrera has “created” nearly 60 of Detroit’s runs – more than any other player.
According to one statistic – offensive winning percentage – a team made up entirely of Miguel Cabreras would win 85.8% of their games – more than an entire team of any other player. Really. That’s an actual, measurable stat.
Just looking at the numbers, Miguel Cabrera is having an insane season. That’s before you actually look at his play, and watch what he’s doing.
Watching Cabrera hit on a daily basis is simply stunning. Every game, Miguel seems to drive balls anywhere he chooses, with a swing that looks effortless. It’s like watching an All-Star player against minor leaguers, a college kid against a high school team.
Take May 19. Miguel hit three home runs.
What’s more, each home run was uniquely different – a low changeup hit to right-center, a line drive homer to centerfield, and an inside pitch to left-center. All different, yet all hit perfectly.
Not only that, but the second home run was a literal line drive to center, the lowest-angled home run ever officially recorded that went over a fence.
Is Miguel Cabrera among the best ever?
Disregarding the statistics, and disregarding the regularly amazing things we’ve seen, there’s one other side to Miguel Cabrera that needs to come up. Baseball, throughout its history, has had its share of mythical legends, players known only by their potentially puffed-up exploits. Men who could do anything, hit the ball anywhere, make anything happen.
Does Miguel Cabrera fit into that group? Well, Miguel can hit high, arching home runs (multiple HR’s hit over 450 feet). Miguel can hit line-drive home runs. And as we saw on Wednesday night, Miguel Cabrera can hit a home run right out of a fielder’s glove.
If the Triple Crown did not jumpstart that discussion, these recent home runs will, as Miguel is now #100 on MLB’s all-time home run list. From now on, every home run will move him up that list. If last year’s home run total of 44 is matches this season, Cabrera will end 2013 in 74th-place, passing Joe DiMaggio towards the end of the year. Another 44 home runs in 2014 would make Cabrera 49th on the all-time list, and put him in the 400 home run club.
In the discussion on total hits, Cabrera likely will reach the 2,000-hit plateau this season. If that happens, he’d be the 9th player in baseball history with that many hits at age 30.
With that many hits in just eleven major league seasons, it’s not that crazy to imagine Miguel contending for the all-time league lead. With eleven more monster seasons, Miguel would have 4,116 hits after 22 major league seasons. That would be good enough for third all-time.
The players to whom he statistically compares at various ages are Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr., and Frank Robinson, according to Baseball-Database.com. That’s an elite club in and of itself, but Miguel can pass them all.
Consider this: 2012 was the first year that Miguel was clean of any widely-reported off-field demons. In 2012, Miguel Cabrera had a clean mindset, and he had the greatest hitting campaign of the modern era. If anything, Miguel Cabrera might even be getting better in 2013.
Factoring in the adjustment back to his original position of third base, and considering that baseball players peak between the ages of 28 and 32, Miguel Cabrera may have his best years ahead of him.
Miguel Cabrera may go down as the greatest Tiger or even the greatest athlete in Detroit history. Best hitter in baseball history? It’s possible.
Gordon Fall has been around the Detroit sports scene for his entire life and even entered the world with a Red Wings hockey stick in hand. With a variety of connections around the Detroit area, Fall will be presenting the unspoken, yet optimistic truth of our city’s sports scene.