Miguel Cabrera turns 29 years old today.
It’s hard to believe that he’s so young, given that he’s already had 8 seasons where he’s qualified for the batting title with an OPS+ of at least 129.
Check out who has the most such seasons through their Age 28 season:
|1||Mel Ott||10||1928||1937||19-28||Ind. Seasons|
|2||Ty Cobb||10||1906||1915||19-28||Ind. Seasons|
|3||Mickey Mantle||9||1952||1960||20-28||Ind. Seasons|
|4||Jimmie Foxx||9||1928||1936||20-28||Ind. Seasons|
|5||Rogers Hornsby||9||1916||1924||20-28||Ind. Seasons|
|6||Miguel Cabrera||8||2004||2011||21-28||Ind. Seasons|
|7||Albert Pujols||8||2001||2008||21-28||Ind. Seasons|
|8||Alex Rodriguez||8||1996||2004||20-28||Ind. Seasons|
|9||Ken Griffey||8||1990||1998||20-28||Ind. Seasons|
|10||Frank Robinson||8||1956||1964||20-28||Ind. Seasons|
|11||Hank Aaron||8||1955||1962||21-28||Ind. Seasons|
|12||Tris Speaker||8||1909||1916||21-28||Ind. Seasons|
These guys all started in the majors at a young age and not a single one of them flamed out early. In fact, as you probably noticed, every player on that list who is eligible for the Hall of Fame is in the Hall of Fame, and it would seem that Griffey, Pujols, and A-Rod are pretty much locks already.
I have no doubt that if we look at raw numbers, Cabrera will rank toward the top in homers and RBI thanks to the era in which he has played. It would be fun, though, to project how Cabrera will end up.
Here are the players to post an OPS+ of at least 140 in a minimum of 5000 PAs through their Age 28 season:
Nice company. Among the players on that list who are now retired, here’s what they did from their Age 29 season onward:
First of all, WTF Hank Aaron. All he did after that great start was post a 155 OPS+ over 8,000 more plate appearances. Holy cow.
The weighted average performance of this group is an OPS+ of 144 over 4,948 additional plate appearances from their Age 29 season onward.
Miguel Cabrera had a 144 OPS+ in 2009, a season that produced 34 HR, 103 RBI, and 34 2B in 685 PAs.
Through his Age 28 season, his totals were 277 HR, 984 RBI, and 346 2B.
Using the above data to project his Age 29 onward, he’d have an additional 245 HR, 744 RBI, and 245 doubles.
That would project Cabrera’s final career totals to 522 HR, 1728 RBI, and 591 doubles. That would put him 18th career in homers, 22nd in RBI, and 16th in doubles. That seems about right.