Miguel Cabrera Needs His Own Thread

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Is he headed for the DL? I couldn't really tell from what I read.

clemenza, Thursday, 25 July 2013 13:49 (seven years ago) link

HR first AB after four or five games off.

clemenza, Sunday, 28 July 2013 00:11 (seven years ago) link

First swing!

Andy K, Sunday, 28 July 2013 00:32 (seven years ago) link

how and where would one ideally pitch to miguel cabrera

besides four wide ones

mookieproof, Sunday, 28 July 2013 01:22 (seven years ago) link

I saw highlights of his tête-à-tête with Salazar last night--very entertaining. First three times up, Salazar struck him out, challenging him every time. In the second or third AB, there was a pitch where Cabrera (good-naturedly) signaled out to the mound that he just missed the last pitch by a bit, and maybe he'd like to come in with another one in the same spot. Salazar does, strikes him out. Fourth time up, Salazar still pitching, Cabrera knocks him out with a 420-ft. HR.

clemenza, Thursday, 8 August 2013 16:03 (seven years ago) link


Andy K, Friday, 9 August 2013 01:33 (seven years ago) link

Forgot about Salazar pointing up after contact.

Yeah, there it goes.

Andy K, Friday, 9 August 2013 15:05 (seven years ago) link

That's a great piece. I wish I could find video of Cabrera joking around about the pitch he just missed--did you see that, Andy?

clemenza, Friday, 9 August 2013 15:06 (seven years ago) link

The only thing I recall from one of the at-bats is Cabrera doing his nod of respect (as if to say, "Hey, all right -- you are providing me with a challenge") between a couple pitches.

Andy K, Friday, 9 August 2013 15:26 (seven years ago) link

Two HRs off Rivera in the same series.

Andy K, Sunday, 11 August 2013 20:12 (seven years ago) link

This post is meant for me and me alone. Please, move along.

I was trying to estimate his chance of another Triple Crown, and I figure it's 5% at best. If you took Chris Davis out of the equation, I'd say he'd be up around 80 or 90% at this point.

He's probably close to locking up the batting title--put him at a conservative 85% there. RBI, 45% (and 45% for Davis, and 10% for the rest of the league). But home runs, he'd have to make up six in the remaining games. Even if Davis were to settle into a 30-HR pace the rest of the way--which doesn't seem that unreasonable--he'd still hit 9 or 10, putting him around 50. Cabrera needs 14 more for 50, which would mean continuing his current pace. The chances of both those things happening, or something close in either direction? I don't know--10-15%? 85% x 45% x 15% = 6%. But Cabrera won't play every game, and he walks a lot, and Davis may stay hot, so knock that down even more.

clemenza, Monday, 12 August 2013 00:35 (seven years ago) link


stark on where miggy ranks with the greatest RH hitters ever

k3vin k., Thursday, 15 August 2013 17:04 (seven years ago) link

He should have 3000 hits in 5-6 years, which is pretty remarkable.

van smack, Thursday, 15 August 2013 19:57 (seven years ago) link

He's got a decent shot at a couple of very short lists:

2000 RBI: Aaron, Ruth, Anson (and A-Rod, if he can get another 50)
6000 Total Bases: Aaron, Musial, Mays (A-Rod still needs close to 600)

The RBI mark is easier--seven more seasons of typical performance (110 a year). TB, he'd need probably need eight more--he'll cross 3,500 this year. He turns 31 next April. But at the same point, Pujols was at 1,230 RBI and 3,580 TB--basically the same. Things change.

clemenza, Thursday, 15 August 2013 20:28 (seven years ago) link

also the rbis are dependent on the team around him

what do we know about miggy, except that he likes a drink? does he watch a ton of video? does he spend half his waking life in the cage? is he a savant?

mookieproof, Thursday, 15 August 2013 23:34 (seven years ago) link

Saved his teammates in combat in China; loves to play solitaire.

cops on horse (WilliamC), Thursday, 15 August 2013 23:41 (seven years ago) link

Tigers' analyst just pointed out that his front leg and foot moved and/or landed differently on recent HRs off Rivera, Danks.

Andy K, Thursday, 15 August 2013 23:57 (seven years ago) link

also the rbis are dependent on the team around him

Less so than most players, I think. I checked his ten 100-RBI seasons, and four of the teams were below the league average in runs, six were above. (All but one Marlins team below, all but one Tigers team above; many of them on either side were fairly close to the league average.) Provided he's healthy, he doesn't strike me as someone who's only going to knock in 80 because the players in front of him aren't anything special.

clemenza, Friday, 16 August 2013 00:29 (seven years ago) link

What I'm saying is that his RBI consistency doesn't seem especially a function of anything other than him being his normal self when hitting with baserunners:

Career: .321/.399/.570
Runners on: .332/.411/.577
RISP: .337/.433/.570

Now, I don't know whether he's batted more often than average with baserunners on over the course of his career--with Florida, probably not, with the Tigers, quite probably yes.

One thing that surprises me looking at his splits is how much better he is against finesse pitchers than power pitchers:

Power (1,300+ AB): .277/.394/.495
Finesse (2,500+ AB): .350/.421/.615

That's a sizable gap. I thought great power hitters were almost always great fastball hitters.

clemenza, Friday, 16 August 2013 00:43 (seven years ago) link

where are you getting the power/finesse splits from?

mookieproof, Friday, 16 August 2013 01:57 (seven years ago) link

It's all on Baseball Reference, in the Career Batting Splits section:


They have three categories: power, average power/finesse, finesse. There's got to be some subjectivity at work there in the grey area.

Not to press the point, but I was thinking about who Cabrera's been hitting behind this year: Austin Jackson/Andy Dirks and Torii Hunter. Jackson and Dirks have been mediocre at best in the lead-off spot: Jackson's .264/.332/.411 (not good at getting on base, decent power), Dirks is .278/.300/.371. Hitting #2, Hunter is .305/.340/.463--good power, nothing special in getting on. Cabrera's knocking in a run a game because of Cabrera: .391/.506/.807 with runners on (wow), .437/.555/.899 with RISP (really wow).

clemenza, Friday, 16 August 2013 02:11 (seven years ago) link

Esoteric to the point of being meaningless, but a nice short list anyway:

"Cabrera became the third player since 1921 to have at least 40 homers and 120 RBIs while batting .350 or better through 116 games, joining Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, according to STATS."

clemenza, Monday, 19 August 2013 01:53 (seven years ago) link

surprised their aren't more players on that list, in particular early 2000s barry bonds!

Z S, Monday, 19 August 2013 01:59 (seven years ago) link

As Mr. Shasta used to lecture, Barry walked too often to rack up RBI. (I post that, by the way, knowing full well how phony such constructions are, when you set the bar at x/y/z so that somebody who has just barely reached each benchmark qualifies.)

clemenza, Monday, 19 August 2013 02:07 (seven years ago) link

Can we start having the "is Miggy already a HOFer?" discussions yet?

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 19 August 2013 07:53 (seven years ago) link

Who is going to argue he isn't a HOFer? I mean I could see how he doesn't make it (drugs basically) but otherwise I think even if his career ended tomorrow (or fizzled completely a la Pujols so far) it'd be hard to imagine him not making it.

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Monday, 19 August 2013 12:01 (seven years ago) link

he's passed the mean on the basic ink/monitor tests, is 18th at 3b by JAWS:


Pie Traynor is 58th on that list!

Miss Arlington twirls for the Coal Heavers (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 August 2013 12:05 (seven years ago) link

yeah he could retire today and be a worthy candidate

k3vin k., Monday, 19 August 2013 12:48 (seven years ago) link

If he retires today, I think he'd easily get a Koufax pass. Or, the more appropriate analogy, Kirby Puckett. I know that not everyone thinks Puckett should be in, but I would have voted for him. Cabrera's 11 seasons are clearly superior to Puckett's 12. (They're somewhat close in WAR.) And on the assumption he plays out the string, his decline would have to be historically precipitous to gum things up.

Another thread, but the case that might be more contentious than anybody would have guessed three years ago will be Halladay's if he doesn't make it back. Analytically, he still gets in easily--I would certainly vote for him. But you can see where there'd be resistance.

clemenza, Monday, 19 August 2013 13:51 (seven years ago) link

Halladay is not as solid 'analytically' as Schilling or Mussina

Miss Arlington twirls for the Coal Heavers (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 August 2013 14:16 (seven years ago) link

Clemenza made all the points I was going to make ... some people would argue that his career wasn't long enough, like with Puckett, and memories are short. Edgar Martinez is having a hard time getting into the HOF because people are misled by his relatively short career and relatively unimpressive counting stats instead of remembering how dominant he was in his prime (well, that and the DH thing). And if Halladay never pitches effectively again it'll be the same story with him too.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 19 August 2013 14:20 (seven years ago) link

Cabrera also has the resume-padding (what I like to call the "non-analytical") stuff that some of you dismiss covered: an MVP (probably a second) and a few Top 10 finishes, two batting titles (probably a third), the Triple Crown, even a World Series winner some people have probably forgotten he was part of.

I'm sure Schilling and Mussina will both go in, as they should. I'd take Halladay over either, although Schilling had the best two- or four-year peak. Anyway, I think Halladay will be okay now that I think about it. The obvious stumbling block is the 201 wins. But a) Pedro had slipped my mind, and his induction will make that less of a problem, b) a low win total coupled with a high winning percentage is less damaging, and c) wins are becoming less and less important every year in general, and five or six years from now, I imagine their importance to a HOF resume will be minimal if there's enough clear counter-evidence.

clemenza, Monday, 19 August 2013 14:55 (seven years ago) link

I wouldn't use Pedro as an example there, because he had the best peak of all time.

Cabrera has all the awards and intangibles, definitely. But suppose he fell off a cliff like Pujols and has six or seven years of OK to good production marred by injuries (or if you want to use an existing example, suppose his career follows Ken Griffey Jr.'s in his thirties). By the time he comes up for election, it'll be a good 12-15 years after his prime, and people usually forget how good a player was after not seeing him at the top of his game for so many years. If he really does turn out like Griffey and piles up enough counting stats to make his election a no-brainer, then great, but if he ends up with 450 HR, 1500 RBI or so then who knows.

Anyway, this is why I like to have these discussions while guys are still in their prime.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 19 August 2013 15:13 (seven years ago) link

I was trying to think of possible career paths for Cabrera, and couldn't think of any relevant third basemen. But since he's just impersonating a third basemen anyway, there are a couple over at first who looked like good HOF bets through their age 30/31 seasons, but look like non-starters now.

If he has a fairly quick, productive exit, Delgado. Delgado had one of his two best seasons at 31, so consider his decline to start at 32. Cabrera today + Delgado age 32-37 = 2,710 hits, 530 HR, .307/.388/.556.

A longer, less productive exit, McGriff. Cabrera today + McGriff age 31-40 = 3,316 hits, 592 HR, .305/.385/.532.

Either one, he's in. (Usual caveat already noted above.) I think he'd really have to go into free-fall to play himself out of the HOF at this point. It'd have to be either something like Mattingly, where he's retired by the time he's 35, or he'd have to turn into, I don't know, Sid Bream overnight. But I understand your what-have-you-done-for-me-lately argument--that does matter (cf. Andruw Jones).

clemenza, Monday, 19 August 2013 16:00 (seven years ago) link

i think the discussion's more useful with players who aren't all-time greats like cabrera - there's just no way, short of him being busted for PEDs or something, that he's not elected to the HOF.

k3vin k., Monday, 19 August 2013 16:03 (seven years ago) link

agree with Kev here.

Porto for Pyros (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 19 August 2013 16:23 (seven years ago) link

One guy who's at a critical juncture right now is Sabathia. He was never going to have a strong sabermetric argument--better than Morris, obviously, but that still wasn't his path--so he had to get to 300 wins or reasonably close. If he doesn't reverse course quickly, I'd say his chance is gone. Verlander, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and say this year's a blip.

clemenza, Monday, 19 August 2013 18:02 (seven years ago) link

i mean it'd be one thing if he were a sabermetric secret like idunno blyleven or tulowitzki these days, but the same body that has witnessed miggy have the first triple crown season in 35 years and is about to give him 2 straight MVPs is the one that will be considering his HOF candidacy. they aren't just going to forget!

k3vin k., Monday, 19 August 2013 18:22 (seven years ago) link

yeah i was just thinking about CC yesterday, his advanced numbers are actually very good aren't they, particularly his FIP numbers, but he definitely needs a couple more all-star seasons at least to be safe

k3vin k., Monday, 19 August 2013 18:26 (seven years ago) link

maybe we need a HOF chances musing thread

k3vin k., Monday, 19 August 2013 18:26 (seven years ago) link

thought we did somewhere...

Porto for Pyros (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 19 August 2013 18:28 (seven years ago) link

This is the most general one, I think:

hall of fame, next vote...

clemenza, Monday, 19 August 2013 18:29 (seven years ago) link

wait, that first one is just the recent tulo/reyes/hanram one

christmas candy bar (al leong), Monday, 19 August 2013 18:30 (seven years ago) link

Andruw Jones and Beltran should both be HOFers, but then again the Hall is a total joke to me until Bonds and Clemens get in.

Miss Arlington twirls for the Coal Heavers (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 August 2013 18:32 (seven years ago) link

sir, i have bad news. it's about your lungs. they...they're changing. chronically.

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 21:23 (one year ago) link

“Okay, now, the symptoms you describe point to ‘bonus eruptus’, it’s a terrible disorder where the skeleton tries to leap out the mouth and escape the body.”

omar little, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 21:27 (one year ago) link

a bizarre way to say "old" or "arthritis"

easy ball shooter (Spottie), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 21:33 (one year ago) link

I think I have this affliction

d'ILM for Murder (Hadrian VIII), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 22:51 (one year ago) link

There was a four-year stretch when, after final game each season, would ask Cabrera what injuries he was dealing with down stretch. And only then would he answer. The guy just played, especially when they were playing in October. https://t.co/YHtuMpTtvj

— Jason Beck (@beckjason) June 4, 2019

“The only advice I can say to young kids is take care of their body when they have to," Miguel Cabrera said. "When they have something, stop playing for a week and come back. Don’t play through pain, because you’re going to pay the price later.”

— Jason Beck (@beckjason) June 4, 2019

Andy K, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 22:55 (one year ago) link

also do your homework and stay in school

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 23:50 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Speaking of Cabrera, his 2019 is one of the oddest superstar decline years that I can remember. If you told me back when Cabrera signed his contract extension that he’d be a terrible major leaguer in 2019, I would have believed you (as did the projections). But I wasn’t quite prepared for the shape of the decline; I did not see Cabrera’s decline phase being “really, really slow Vince Coleman.” I expected Cabrera to look more like Albert Pujols does now, maintaining his power but eventually losing everything else. Instead, Miggy has retained his ability to hit singles but has only hit 10 homers in a run environment where records are being shattered left and right. Just for a quick comp list for 2019, I looked up every season within five points of Cabrera’s in BA, OBP, and wRC+, within 10 points of OBP, and with at least 80 strikeouts.



I am also Harl (Karl Malone), Friday, 6 September 2019 05:13 (one year ago) link

Kind of gruesome...He's signed for three more seasons; he might need that to reach 500 HR.

clemenza, Friday, 6 September 2019 18:06 (one year ago) link

nothing more fun for fans than watching aging vince coleman try to reach a round HR number!

I am also Harl (Karl Malone), Friday, 6 September 2019 18:08 (one year ago) link

signed for 4 more seasons iirc

omar little, Friday, 6 September 2019 18:11 (one year ago) link

Kinda puzzled why Fangraphs is so surprised by his "decline" (3 seasons of fairly level shitty/replacement level)? Or is it "odd" to be that shitty for 3 seasons?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 6 September 2019 18:15 (one year ago) link

i feel like your question is answered in the quote.

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 6 September 2019 19:17 (one year ago) link

I worded my post poorly:

Miggy's 2019 did not forge much of a different vector from his 2018 (injury) nor his 2017 (terrible) seasons. Expecting an outlier on the tailend of 3 seasons of lackluster performance is a bit reckless imho... tho I'm not a baseball blogger.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 6 September 2019 19:55 (one year ago) link

eleven months pass...

As was noted in this Chris McCosky pievce last October, Miguel Cabrera's right knee is not going to get better. It's the core reason why he's not hitting. He's in shape, he has the fire -- but not the right knee. It needs, probably, replacing. No go there. https://t.co/dXTIH507P2

— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) August 26, 2020

A ballplayer getting his knee replaced isn't a ballplayer returning to big-league duties. Thus, it seems, the script is nearly written: Tigers will get him to 3,000 hits, try to get him to 500 HRs. And then there will be a parting. All because the knee can't adequately function.

— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) August 26, 2020

Andy K, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 13:53 (one month ago) link

Needs 165 hits for 3000 and 19 HRs for 500.

At .198/.297/.327 this year, and has looked as overmatched as those numbers indicate.

Hasn't appeared desperate, at least -- no major deviation in his swing percentages. Making less contact outside the zone.

I dunno.

Andy K, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 15:23 (one month ago) link

talking out of my ass here, but i find it hard to believe that a knee replacement would make things worse than they already are

mookieproof, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 15:32 (one month ago) link

You don't need great knees to hit a HR from the DH spot (Joey/Albert Belle, Bo Jackson, Kirk Gibson, Mo Vaughan, Don Mattingly, David Ortiz, etc.). But getting those 165 hits might be the bigger challenge if he can't run at 80% or less of his peak speed.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 15:43 (one month ago) link

.198/.297/.327 is going to be even worse when pitchers start challenging him more often (he has a walk rate of 11.9%, somehow)

The GOAT Harold Land (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 15:52 (one month ago) link

xp you can be slow as hell and still be a good contact/non-slugger:

here's the bottom 10 in sprint speed:


The GOAT Harold Land (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 15:53 (one month ago) link

well, maybe not a good contact hitter, but still able to get "hits"

The GOAT Harold Land (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 15:55 (one month ago) link

Yes, exactly! That's his current "speed". After a knee replacement, you can best believe he will be slower than Pujols & Yadi (he's marginally faster than them now).

Also, just say Miggy collects a hit, he immediately becomes a baserunning liability: much easier to get a double play off of the slowest runner in baseball, he will not be able to slide in to 2B to break up the double play, in fact he will be a huge injury risk every time he has to slide, he will not be taking an extra base on a gapper (1st - 3rd, 2nd - Home). Baserunning liability = more out chances for the defense = less run production for DET.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 16:39 (one month ago) link

yeah, i guess i agree it's liable to get pretty ugly. what your'e describing is pretty much albert pujols for the last several years

The GOAT Harold Land (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 18:36 (one month ago) link

talking out of my ass here, but i find it hard to believe that a knee replacement would make things worse than they already are

― mookieproof, Wednesday, August 26, 2020 11:32 AM (five hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

recovery is tough and you need to be on blood thinners for a few months. it’s not impossible but for someone his age it’s asking a lot

k3vin k., Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:49 (one month ago) link

i'm on blood thinners right now and am totally fine to DH until my cat bites me and i bleed to death

mookieproof, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:54 (one month ago) link


k3vin k., Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:59 (one month ago) link

four weeks pass...

Heating up.

Andy K, Friday, 25 September 2020 01:25 (three days ago) link

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