Archive for the ‘Miguel Cabrera’ Category

World Series - San Francisco Giants v Detroit Tigers - Game 4

Regular readers of Getting Blanked’s “My Approach” series are acutely aware of an unsurprising trend: nearly all big league hitters think Miguel Cabrera has the best approach in baseball. He’s the baseball version of Kobe Bryant: your favorite player’s favorite player.

As the accolades rolled in, it became abundantly clear the My Approach series required a Miguel Cabrera instalment. Not that he doesn’t deserve an entry without the praise of his peers, but the overwhelming reaction demanded contact with Cabrera.

His resume speaks for itself: Miguel Cabrera is a fast-tracking Hall of Fame hitter who earned a World Series ring at 20, has four Silver Sluggers to his name and claimed the first Triple Crown in 45 years.

He’s in the middle of one of the best offensive peaks in baseball, with his age 27-30 seasons ranking among the greatest of all time.

Rk Player OPS+ PA From To G H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Babe Ruth 201 2300 1922 1925 513 637 120 30 147 417 455 322 30 43 .351 .483 .693 1.176
2 Ted Williams 199 2732 1946 1949 598 739 160 23 138 523 606 180 5 2 .349 .496 .642 1.138
3 Barry Bonds 191 2395 1992 1995 555 599 122 17 150 411 447 115 274 128 39 .314 .444 .631 1.075
4 Ty Cobb 191 2423 1914 1917 551 761 128 58 16 326 314 138 254 79 .373 .462 .517 .979
5 Lou Gehrig 189 2836 1930 1933 617 837 156 53 153 648 418 199 42 50 .350 .448 .652 1.101
6 Rogers Hornsby 186 2339 1923 1926 522 760 150 39 92 413 288 139 16 22 .382 .462 .635 1.096
7 Stan Musial 181 2743 1948 1951 610 834 158 50 135 471 371 148 19 5 .354 .444 .635 1.079
8 Nap Lajoie 179 1775 1902 1905 417 590 137 33 21 301 87 60 81 .360 .399 .522 .921
9 Miguel Cabrera 178 2436 2010 2013 559 707 153 2 140 460 318 83 343 12 5 .339 .426 .616 1.042
10 Mickey Mantle 178 2431 1959 1962 573 583 71 17 155 386 452 30 441 56 7 .298 .428 .589 1.016
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/9/2013.

Everyone knows how good a hitter Miguel Cabrera has become. He hit a very high level as a 21-year old playing every day and has not looked back.

Getting Blanked discussed his preparation, his ability to make contact and using all fields in a very special edition of My Approach.

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There is no real debate: Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball right now. Joey Votto might be close but, honestly, Cabrera is able to hit the ball out of the park with more regularity than the Reds prolific walk machine cum doubles addict.

Miguel Cabrera is so good because of his ability to hit essentially any pitch thrown to any location for power to any part of the ballpark. Like the above video, for instance, which Miguel Cabrera drives deep to the right field side of center.

Cabrera doesn’t get it all and appears to catch a stinger in his right hand in the process (as if he caught it on the end of the bat a little). The ball is a high drive that drives Michael Bourn all the way to the track. It appears Bourn has a bead on it until…he doesn’t. Clank, straight over the fence for a home run. One of the cheapest home runs you’ll ever see.

This is one that will live for the ages on the internets and on clip shows. The sheepish grins on the faces of both Cabrera and Bourn underlines the absuridity of the situation. Bourn is a sure-handed center fielder to boot, just not this time.

Enjoy your notoriety Michael Bourn. Just be glad you aren’t Jose Canseco – that guys a piece of shit who also had something weird happen in the outfield one time. But mostly he’s scum.

World Series - San Francisco Giants v Detroit Tigers - Game 4

Supposedly ladies love the long ball. But strikeouts are fascist. So it’s hard to figure out who’s happy and who’s not when it comes to the “strikeout or home run” state of the game today. Look at how crazy it’s gotten, thanks to Doug Niblock’s excellent work at High Heat Stats:

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New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game Three

Some wise old lawyer once said “tough cases make bad law” and they were right. As I understand it, the clearer the better when trying to establish new precedents and regulations. Baseball statistics on the internet are not law. The do change the way we talk about and think about the game of baseball.

The “we” in this case is fans, media, commenters, everyone. The proliferation of advanced statistics is nearly complete. It is not a matter of whether or not stats are “here to stay” in the greater sports conversation, it is the rate at which they adopted by the majority.

No matter how often we reference WAR or wOBA or whatever else, they are not yet consumed by the majority of sports fans. For this, we can point to any number of reasons. The most significant of which might simply be apathy. The “average fan” just doesn’t care to concern themselves with measures more complicated than those they learned by osmosis as a youth.

There remains a significant portion of the sporting population who does care about stats but remains reluctant to pick up the WAR mantle. They will come in time but, for now, remain skeptical.

You know this person – they condemn WAR as a “junk stat” and gleefully profess their own mathematical emancipation before worrying about the ERA of their favorite team’s fourth starter.

WAR is for them and it will find them, in time. But bringing more folks under the “advanced stats umbrella” requires throwing it widely and not full of holes.

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Sure, it’s just Spring Training and the wind is blowing out and the smaller ballpark makes the home run look that much more impressive, but damn if this Miguel Cabrera megajack off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon isn’t a sight to behold. High into the sunny sky, appearing to land just beyond [insert Central Florida landmark here.]

Baseball highlights, ain’t nothing like them!

The concept of value is taking a pretty severe beating this week. Reaching a working definition of “valuable” means parsing its use in an “awards” sense versus its use in statistical abstractions, making for muddy waters indeed. A given player’s role on a winning team, the weight given to defense, base running, and everything else not done in the batters box is suddenly up in the air.

Does defense and base running matter? Are positional differences not worth considering? Allow me the indulgence of a simple thought experiment.

If we are to believe base running and defense don’t matter, and that Miguel Cabrera carried the Tigers, let’s use our imagination to put that thinking to the test.

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There are worse crimes in the deep annals of BBWAA vote butchery than voting Miguel Cabrera as the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2012. SB Nation ran down some of the worst winners and extraneous votes from throughout the years. Cabrera’s win does not belong anywhere near such a list.

Miguel Cabrera is not a bad MVP selection by any stretch of the imagination. He won the freaking Triple Crown, a feat unseen in baseball since 1967. His team made the playoffs – though his team plays in a very weak division and the best pitcher in baseball (and Cy Young runner-up) and a $200 million dollar slugger rank among his team mates.

Some twists of fate coupled with Cabrera’s incredible performance placed him atop three key statistical leaderboards, fast-tracking him to immortality (key if largely irrelevant in an “on the field” baseball sense) and delivering Miguel Cabrera the 2012 MVP award. I don’t care how cosy your ballpark: .330/.393/.606 is really, really good! 200 hits is good, 44 league-leading home runs is great.

Cabrera spent the season at or near third base, giving his all at the hot corner. While no one confuses him for Brooks Robinson, his portly friend Prince and many other top sluggers could not pull off the same trick after more than four years on the other side of the diamond.

The problem, if there is one, is that Mike Trout’s season was better. Mike Trout is probably a better baseball player than Miguel Cabrera. He did not hit for as much power as the Tigers third baseman but he reached base at a higher rate than Cabrera, a higher rate than all but two hitters in the AL.

He also ran the bases better than anyone else, he played defense in the outfield better than anyone else, and hit for more power than anyone has any right to expect of a base-stealing fly catcher – Trout’s 30 home runs ranked him 13th in the American League. In 2012, in the eyes of many around the game, Mike Trout was the most valuable player in baseball.

But Mike Trout was not voted MVP – that goes to Miguel Cabrera. Congratulations.

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