Miggy to the max

Baseball Fates, please note (please?): I’m just playing around here! None of these things will actually come to pass; it’s just a way of expressing how hot he’s been so far.

Miguel Cabrera finished Thursday’s game #45 with a .391 BA, .701 slugging, 1.168 OPS, 14 HRs, 55 RBI, 39 Runs, 72 hits, 129 total bases, and an OPS+ well north of 200.

 

The projection multiplier from 45 to 162 is 3.6, so….

  • Heads up, Hack? Bourn’s gift to Miggy (plus Thursday’s daily dinger) put him on a pace of 202 198 RBI. [whoops!]
  • You, too, Babe? Cabrera’s on pace for 464 Total Bases. Ruth’s 1921 record is 457.
  • The last qualified season of .680+ slugging: Bonds, 2004. Same goes for OPS of 1.120 or better or OPS+ of 200 or more.
  • Last with 250+ hits: Ichiro, 2004, record 262 hits. Cabrera’s pace is 259 hits, which would be #2.
  • Last with .380+ BA: Gwynn, 1994. Last in a full season: Brett, 1980. But Brett also played just 117 games that year. The last to hit .380 with 500+ ABs: Carew, 1977.
  • Besides Ruth ’21, the only guy with 450+ Total Bases was Hornsby, 1922 (450 even). Last with 400+ Total Bases: Sosa, 2001.
  • Cabrera’s batting .391 with a 50-HR pace. No one ever has batted .380+ with 45+ HRs. The most HRs with a .380+ BA is 42 by Hornsby ’22 (.402 BA). The highest BA with 45+ HRs is .378, by Ruth in ’21 (59 HRs) and in ’24 (46 HRs); Ruth is also #3 (.376, 54 HRs in 1920), and tied for #4 (.373, 46 HRs in ’31) along with Gehrig (.373, 47 HRs in ’27).

__________

Cabrera over Detroit’s last 162 regular-season games (161 G for Cabrera):

  • .355 BA, 1.092 OPS, 50 HRs, 159 RBI, 125 Runs, 222 Hits, 419 Total Bases, 97 strikeouts.

Of the twenty-five 50-HR seasons since 1990, only Bonds, Belle and Luis Gonzalez did it with less than 100 Ks.

No Tiger has ever reached 400 Total Bases; Greenberg holds their top 4 marks, from 397 to 380.

__________

With runners in scoring position, Cabrera is 31 for 59, with 7 HRs, 44 RBI, 12 walks, 4 strikeouts and 2 GDPs, .525 BA, .932 SLG, OPS well over 1.500. The searchable records (since 1945) for seasons of at least 150 PAs with RISP:

  • BA: .469, Brett, 1980 (61 for 130)
  • SLG: .944, Bonds, 2001 and 2004; he also has the #3 mark of .882 in ’02. No more than 89 ABs in those years, but that wasn’t his fault; he had more walks than ABs for those years combined in RISP spots.
  • OPS: 1.698, Bonds, 2004 (he’s also #2 and #3, both over 1.550, in 2001-02).

Using a 100-AB floor instead, we get:

  • SLG: .907, Mantle, 1961 (18 HRs in 107 ABs).
  • OPS: 1.443, Mantle, 1956.

The searchable record for HRs with RISP is 20, by McGwire (1998) and Jim Gentile (1961). The record for RBI is 125 in 1999 by … see Postscript below.

__________

Age-30 records, since 1901 (BA-qualified):

  • BA: .393, Harry Heilmann. Cabrera’s .391 would be 2nd.
  • SLG: .723, Hack Wilson. Cabrera’s .701 would be 4th.
  • OPS: 1.177, Hack Wilson. Cabrera’s 1.168 would be 3rd.
  • OPS+: 209, Ty Cobb. Cabrera’s 201 would be 2nd.

__________

Postscript:

I’m thinking of a right-handed masher who, in 2008, hit 37 HRs with over 120 RBI and just over 330 total bases, ending that season with a new team and league than he’d been with the year before. He was a regular from a young age and a consistently potent hitter. He averaged a 141 OPS+ in several seasons through age 26, without reaching 160 in any year. At 27, he exploded with a league-best OPS+ in the 170s and his first RBI title. His OPS+ was over 160 each year from age 27-30, averaging 176. He batted over .340 twice, and hit over .330 for the period.

These statements all fit both Miguel Cabrera and Manny Ramirez.

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Doug
Editor
9 years ago

So, this Cabrera dude is pretty good, huh! Shows what dropping a few pounds can do.

Seriously, it does seem like he’s either shed some pounds or some fat, or both. Which is a good sign for his maturity, and for continuing to play at a high level for a long time to come.

Detroit’s other big name slugger – seems like his game is already headed downhill and will be picking up momentum fast, unless he starts taking better care of his body.

brp
brp
9 years ago
Reply to  Doug

The weight loss and improved (somehow) hitting both seem to coincide pretty well with him getting his drinking under control. As far as I know, anyway.

Timmy Pea
Timmy Pea
9 years ago
Reply to  brp

“There’s nothing wrong with drinking.” Hack Wilson
“Drinking’s been good to me.” Errol Flynn

Hartvig
Hartvig
9 years ago

A couple more things about Cabrera. One is that many of those seasons used to measure his performance against come in years with extremely high offensive levels verses where we are now. I doubt he can sustain these numbers but I don’t find it at all unlikely that he can surpass his triple crown figures, particularly his batting average. The second thing is the amount of power that he can generate out of such a smooth, controlled swing. One of those balls that he hit out to dead center came on a swing that looked so easy that I thought… Read more »

Timmy Pea
Timmy Pea
9 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

That’s a great point Hartvig about his his swing. I don’t watch him that much, but when I checked out his recent highlights, I was amazed at how easy he swings.

Mark in Sydney
Mark in Sydney
9 years ago

It is an impressive season, so far. I think, John, that the last of the top bullets is the one that will bite. If you had to choose between BA and HR for Cabrera, which one would you choose? 0.380+ or 50+ homers?

Hartvig
Hartvig
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark in Sydney

For me it’s a sliding scale of course- I’d take 0.370 and 45 homers in a heartbeat- but if I had to choose just between those two I would go with the 50 homers.

PP
PP
9 years ago

I noticed the Millville Meteor is picking up the pace too. 28 XBHs in 47 games (Cabrera has 27). I’m thinking #1 and #2 contenders for MVP again? If so, would it go to Trout this year? I still think voters would go for the overwhelming triple crown stats.

PP
PP
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Just saw Trout’s homer in his cycle game. 463 feet dead center. How Mark Trumbo of him. Didn’t know he had that kind of power.

Russell
Russell
9 years ago
Reply to  PP

I’m surprised that Trout’s dWAR is also negative like Miggy’s, -0.6 vs -0.7, respectively. How can such a physical specimen like Trout be playing bad defense? Is he running into walls like Bryce? Or he hasn’t quite caught as many HR balls over the wall as he did last year. Also, how much does he need to do to get back to positive WAR? i.e. how many baserunners does he need to throw out or spectacular catches does he need to make? Is it because the Angels overall outfield defense is better that he doesn’t have to make so many… Read more »

bstar
bstar
9 years ago
Reply to  Russell

Russell, Trout is already within one full win of Miggy, 0.9 WAR behind Cabrera (1.9 to 2.8).

As for the defense, I thought it was maybe Trout playing left field the first few weeks of the season. But it appears his -6 DRS consists of -4 runs in CF and only -2 in left, so I don’t know what is going on there.

Evan
Evan
9 years ago

I’m not a fan of errors as a stat but, as long at it exists, doesn’t Michael Bourn have to be charged with one?

Ed
Ed
9 years ago
Reply to  Evan

Evan – One would think so but the rules say otherwise. Rule 6.09h: (h) Any fair fly ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over the fence into foul territory, in which case the batter shall be entitled to advance to second base; but if deflected into the stands or over the fence in fair territory, the batter shall be entitled to a home run. However, should such a fair fly be deflected at a point less than 250 feet from home plate, the batter shall be entitled to two bases only. Not sure I agree with… Read more »

Ed
Ed
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

John – I don’t see how the official scorer has a role in this. The rule I cited makes it clear that if the ball is tipped over the fence in fair territory, it’s a home run. (the ball that Carlos Martinez bounced off of Canseco’s head was also a home run for the same reason).

Ed
Ed
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Yeah John you’ve lost me on this one. A home run has a specific definition in baseball. A home run is a home run is a home run. There’s no room for Clinton-esque definitions here. Baseball chose to use the phrase “home run” in that part of the rule book, rather than saying “shall be entitled to home plate”. I don’t see how the Official Scorer can overrule that. The fact that somewhat similar plays are handled differently is irrelevant in my opinion. Those were choices that baseball made at some point for reasons that are likely lost to history.… Read more »

KalineCountry Ron
KalineCountry Ron
9 years ago

Never thought I would see a better all around Tigers hitter with pure hitting with Average and Power than Kaline. Miguel Cabrera is in even more rarified company of all time greats. A pure hitter with maybe 2/3 infield hits a year and foul pole to foul pole Power, the likes of which for a righty batter to right and right center, I have not seen a better home runs distance hitter. Question regarding Cabrera and Fielder with 96 rbi between them in Tigers first 45 games. Has there been a more productive in that stats Tigers duo in 45… Read more »

trackback

[…] Miguel Cabrera‘s season forward going on today. Saw Buster Olney doing it on Twitter. They’re doing it at High Heat Stats today too. If you play the on-pace game, Cabrera could have, like, 200 […]

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
9 years ago

“With runners in scoring position, Cabrera is 31 for 59, with 7 HRs, 44 RBI, 12 walks, 4 strikeouts and 2 GDPs, .525 BA, .932 SLG, OPS well over 1.500…” His RISP rate stats are not sustainable over an entire season; 31-for-59 is an insane .535 BA, which is 66 points higher than Brett’s 1980 all-time high of .469 (no wonder he had 118 RBI in 117 games). I don’t see him getting 192 RBI. As great as Cabrera is, he’s not Bonds-great, so he’s probably not going to slug .932 either. If he keeps up this super-hot streak, he’ll… Read more »

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

@18/JA – Wow, that was quite a rigorous analysis of high-end BA’s. However, I was referring _more_ towards Cabrera’s chances of continuing his RBI pace of about 200, on track to break Hack Wilson’s record of 191. My point is that since his BA with RISP is a totally unsustainable .535, much higher than Brett’s all-time high BA of .469 w/RISP in 1980. Since Cebrera’s BA w/RISP is probably going to fall considerably, so is his RBI total. He could still hit .375-.380, but he’s very unlikely to get 190 RBI. I’d say he’s likely to get 165-170 RBI, IF… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
9 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

Most RBI in his team’s first 45 games is Jimmie Foxx with 68 in 1938.That projected to 233 RBI in a 154 game season. He wound up with 175 RBI in 149 games played.

mosc
mosc
9 years ago

So last year through 45 games: .358/.433/.685/1.118 (14 HR) .368/.422/.753/1.175 (20 HR) vs this year through 45 games: .391/.467/.701/1.168 (14 HR) The guy on the top was a better defender (miggy is -0.6 dwar already) and stole a couple bags. If that wasn’t enough hints, The top line is the first 45 games of Matt Kemp’s 2012 season. Slight lead for Miggy with the bat buy nothing an 0 for 5 game 46 wouldn’t swing the other direction. The second guy from 2012 is Josh Hamilton who blasted absurd power numbers out of the gate. Miggy’s great but there is… Read more »

Ed
Ed
9 years ago

Meanwhile Justin Verlander has 3 straight non-quality starts. That appears to be his longest such streak since the first 4 games of 2009.

no statistician but
no statistician but
9 years ago

After 45 games in 1956 Mantle was batting .411, with 70 H, 45 R, 20 HR, 50 RBI, .833 SLG, 1.333 OPS. He cooled down somewhat, but still won the Triple Crown. I say this periodically, but yeah, it’s a long season.

PP
PP
9 years ago

After 45 games in 1999 Manny was 13-59-.348 with 40 runs and 115 total bases. He had 98 RBIs after 81 games, though after 45 games he was at a 213 pace.

bstar
bstar
9 years ago

Watching Miggy this year has been amazing. But one thing that’s begun to bug me a bit is people are starting to compare him to Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds in his steroid years without comparing him to the recent player who’s outdone Miggy every year of his career. That player is Albert Pujols. Remember him? Let’s look at the careers of Pujols and Cabrera, year for year. Miggy debuted at age 20, a year before Albert, so we can’t begin a comparison until age 21. age: Miggy – rWAR / Albert – rWAR (higher WAR in bold) age 20:… Read more »

bstar
bstar
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

OK, forget the age-by-age comparison. Look at the first graph on the link I provided from Fangraphs. It lists a players’ nth best season in decreasing order of production. You’ll notice a distinctive WAR gap for Pujols above Miggy every year. Pujols by this comparison outdoes Cabrera by a minimum of 1.9 fWAR (8.7 vs. 6.8 fWAR in their 2nd best season) to a max of 5.4 fWAR (7.0 vs. 2.6 fWAR in their ninth best season). But you’re right, this is really strictly about hitting. But from what I’ve read and heard recently, the two names that are getting… Read more »

bstar
bstar
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

OK, sorry, you’re right. I was thinking you were projecting Cabrera’s RBat to be 97 for the entire year and THEN his Rbat 4-yr avg. would be 63. My fault.

So Miggy is averaging 63 Rbat per 162 for 3 1/3 years. Pujols averaged 63 Rbat per 162 for nine seasons (2002-2010).

Doug
Editor
9 years ago

Putting it all together, Miggy’s probably headed to one of the top 5 all-time seasons. Only these three had 200 hits, 50 HR, 150 RBI and a .350 average. Rk Player OPS+ HR RBI H BA Year Age Tm G PA AB R 2B 3B BB SO OBP SLG OPS Pos 1 Babe Ruth 238 59 171 204 .378 1921 26 NYY 152 693 540 177 44 16 145 81 .512 .846 1.359 *78/13 2 Jimmie Foxx 207 58 169 213 .364 1932 24 PHA 154 702 585 151 33 9 116 96 .469 .749 1.218 *35 3 Hack Wilson… Read more »

PP
PP
9 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Without checking WAR totals I can extend the list to 6 by adding Ruth’s ’20, ’23, and ’27 seasons. Miggy’s not touching any of those.

PP
PP
9 years ago
Reply to  PP

The list being without 200 hits.

Hartvig
Hartvig
9 years ago
Reply to  PP

I think what Doug is getting at here (in spite of the OPS+ being the first category shown) is actually more it terms of the impressiveness of the triple crown slash line. Without context, some Triple Crown winners records don’t look all that impressive: Ted Williams winning with 32 homers and 114 RBI’s in 1947, Frank Robinson winning with a 0.316 batting average and 122 RBI’s in 1968, Medwick winning with 31 homers and Klein winning with 28 in the 1930’s when their American League counterparts in each of those years had 46. I suspect that in the end Cabrera… Read more »

Doug
Editor
9 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

You are correct, sir. The OPS+ wasn’t part of the query. Just included it in the displayed results to provide some of that context you talked about. Ruth’s 1921 season stands out on the short list above because he was the only one doing this crazy stuff – the revolution he was creating was just him at that point. His 1920 season was even higher at 255 OPS+, and he had 217 in 1919 with .322/.456/.657 and “only” 29 HR. When Ruth hit 54 HR in 1920, 2-5 on the list were at 19, 17 15 and a bunch at… Read more »

PP
PP
9 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Gotcha. Looked those Ruth seasons over this morning. Crazy black numbers all along the line, was what I was remembering, with high BAs though 2 seasons in 130s RBIs and one with 41 homers. He did miss the triple in ’23 though he hit .393, good for 2nd. Cabrera certainly has the potential to have a .350-50-150 season with 220 hits, for sure.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
9 years ago
Reply to  PP

The closest Ruth came to the Triple Crown was in 1926; Heinie Manush led with a .378 BA to Ruth’s .372, three or four hits less.

The one year Ruth led in BA, 1924, he somehow had only 121 RBI and lost to Goose Goslin’s 129.

For all his great years, Willie Mays never really came close to the TC (probably 1955).

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
9 years ago

18 players have accumulated 55 or more RBI in their first 45 games. Listed below are the players with their seasonal and projected totals. Projections are for 154 or 162 games depending on the season. For Joe Carter I used 115 games which was the Toronto total in 1994. Player……….Year..45 games…Season…Projected Jimmie Foxx…..1938….68……175…. 233 Chuck Klein…..1930… 60……170…. 205 Cy Williams…..1923… 60….. 114…. 205 Manny Ramirez…1999… 59….. 165…. 212 Al Simmons……1929… 59….. 157…. 202 Hank Greenberg..1937… 57….. 183…. 195 Zeke Bonura…..1937… 57….. 100…. 195 Manny Ramirez…2001… 56….. 125…. 202 Bob Meusel……1925… 56….. 138…. 192 Ted Williams….1942… 56….. 137…. 192 Joe Carter……1994…… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Highest percentage of team RBI by a player is 22.75% by Nate Colbert of the 1972 Padres, followed by Wally Berger of the 1935 Braves at 22.61%.

Doug
Doug
9 years ago

As John said, rates that you only see on bad teams.

bstar
bstar
9 years ago
Reply to  Doug

The last guy I remember getting some ink for driving in a high percentage of his team runs was Adrian Gonzalez at 18.6% in 2008. Sure enough, the Padres were 63-99 that year.

Luis Gomez
Luis Gomez
9 years ago

Any chance Joe Mauer´s hit can be ruled an error? What a nice performance by Sanchez.

Luis Gomez
Luis Gomez
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

I know most of the teams (if not all of them) have baseball academies in the Dominican Republic, but what about Venezuela? Do MLB teams have baseball facilities over there? The number of players from Venezuela have increased considerably in the last decade.

Luis Gomez
Luis Gomez
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe some HHS reader from Venezuela might help us.

I just checked BRef page on Venezuelan-born players. Out of 292 players from Venezuela only 114 were pitchers (39 %). Among them, 38 All Star players but only 7 of them are pitchers (18 %).

RichW
RichW
9 years ago

This GIF on Fangraphs is a visual reminder of Cabreras amazing talent.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/miguel-cabreras-ridiculousplate-coverage/

AlvaroEspinoza
AlvaroEspinoza
9 years ago

Yeah but Mike Trout is on pace for 36 SB’s, and Cabrera only 3 or 4, IF he can keep up the pace!!

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
9 years ago

Don’t look now, but since this article was posted just last Friday, not only has Miguel Cabrera cooled off considerably, Chris Davis has passed him in a number of categories.

Cabrera stills leads in RBI, BA, hits (tied) and runs, but Davis has passed Cabrera in OBA, SLG (by a lot), OPS, total bases, HR, and most importantly, OPS+(219/189) and Adjusted Batting Wins (3.1/2.6).

Another lesson on the perils of extrapolating entire seasons from small partial-season samples…