We all know that Miguel Cabrera, but how great can he truly be? To start, Miguel is one of the best hitters if not the best of our generation. Baseball-Reference already has Cabrera as a sure thing Hall of Famer right now and when comparing him statistically place him closest to Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Albert Pujols when they were 32.
So when it came up in a broadcast the other night about Miguel Cabrera and his chances at surpassing Pete Rose’s all-time hit record of 4,256, I thought I’d look in to it.
Looking at Rose’s career, it is truly amazing the amount of 700+ plate appearances (15) and 200+ hit (10) seasons that he had. Furthermore, what impressed me is the 3 200+ hit seasons at the age of 35 and over.
With this season in full swing we’ll focus on what Cabrera has done up to the 2016 season, which is a total of 13 full seasons. Injuries have definitely played in to the numbers this past season, but what Cabrera has done to this point is still impressive as he’s collected a total of 2,331 hits by the end of last season, which is an average of 179 per season (187 when taking out rookie season). The average would be higher but a rookie shortened season and last year’s 511 pate appearance season ate in to it.
When comparing Rose to Miggy after 13 season, Rose does have more hits with 2,547 (196 avg per), but just one incredibly good season or 2 so-so seasons ahead of Cabrera. The big difference here though, is at after 13 seasons; Miguel is 32 compared to Rose being 34. When looking at Rose after his age 32 seasons, Cabrera actually has 179 more career hits. The issues of course and similar to Hank Aaron, Rose played until he was 45 and didn’t truly slow down until he was 42. As a matter of fact, Rose from age 33-45 collected 2,104 hits for an average of 162 hits a season.
Now Cabrera is under contract until after his age 40 season and then has two vesting options which could push him to 42 (however unlikely they’ll vest), so with 10 more seasons and if Cabrera’s body holds up, he’d need to collect 1,925 more hits (has 83 at this point this season) and would actually need to increase his season average to 192.5 hits over the next 10 years.
If Cabrera somehow made it to age 45 like Rose (and I highly doubt it), we could see a more reasonable result at 148 hits needed on average to pass Rose.
My conclusion of Cabrera topping Rose is that it’s plausible but highly unlikely that Miguel, as special as he is, can stay healthy enough and will not play long enough to take out Charlie Hustle