What is now the third installment of looking at Miguel Cabrera’s greatness (Pre-2015 season & Pre-2016 Season), it’s become fun to look at what Miggy had accomplished in the previous season and what to look forward to now in 2017.
The original reason for the first post was that I wasn’t sure if Miggy was being taken for granted in Detroit and definitely was not getting the exposure he should have been nationally. I believe that’s changed a bit over the last couple of years now, however it is still worth pointing out that when is all said and done, we may be possibly looking at one of the ten greatest right-handed hitters of All-Time.
With that, Cabrera finished up his age 33 season, one of which we saw Miggy play in 158 games, which was great sign after his injury prone 2015 season. Cabrera tallied a .316 batting average, collected 188 hits, score 92 runs, gathered 31 doubles, a triple, and 38 homers, while knocking in 108, and walking 75 times. This was all good for an OPS of .956 and a WAR of 4.9. Mix in an All-Star game, a Silver Slugger Award, and finishing 9th in MVP voting, and I’d call it another successful season. This is the 9th time in 14 seasons, that Cabrera has hit at least .300, hit 30 homers, and knocked in 100 runs.
Cabrera’s career numbers now total up to a .321 average, .961 OPS, 1,321 runs scored, 2,519 hits, 523 doubles, 446 homers, 1,553 RBI, 1,011 walks, and a WAR of 69.6. This was Cabrera’s 11th All-Star game, 14th time appearing on MVP voting (has not missed yet), and collected his 7th Silver Slugger.
When looking at Baseball-References Hall of Fame indicators (See below for definitions), all signs point to Cabrera being a Hall of Famer if he retired today…
Black Ink: 43 with the average HoF’er at 27
Gray Ink: 241 with the average HoF’er at 144
Hall of Fame Monitor: 262 with the average at 100
Hall of Fame Standards: 61 with the average at 50
JAWS: 11th best first baseman of all-time currently
***Baseball-Reference Hall of Fame Stats simple definitions are: Black-Ink Test (a point system for leading in “important” stat categories), Grey Ink Test (which is the same as Black-Ink, but points for top 10 finishes), Hall of Fame Career Standards (again, points for stats), and Hall of Fame Monitor (similar to Career standards). You can learn more here***
WAR: With Cabrera’s 4.9 WAR in 2016, he moved from 136th all-time to 102nd. A 5.0 WAR is what Miggy has been averaging the last few years and with another 5 WAR in 2017, he would move up to 79th, right behind Tiger great Lou Whitaker (74.9) and just ahead of Luke Appling (74.4) and Reggie Jackson (73.8). Cabrera would also pass up other baseball greats such as: Frank Thomas, Paul Waner, Harry Heilmann, Alan Trammell, and Derek Jeter
Hits: In 2016, I wrote a blog entry on if Miggy could catch and surpass Pete Rose to become the all-time hit king and although not likely, with another 198 hits in 2016, Cabrera moved from 141st to 96th all-time. Although Cabrera won’t break 3,000 hits for another 2+ years if healthy, he can still move up the all-time list to 68th with 175 hits. This would push Miggy past guys like Ernie Banks, Reggie Jackson, Vladimir Guerrero, Tim Raines, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, and Harry Heilmann
Home Runs: Miggy smashed 38 homers in 2016, proving he was healthy once again, in doing so, is giving himself a real good shot at passing the 500 homer mark early in 2018. As it stands, Cabrera is 40th and moved up 4 spots after 2016; with another 30 homers in 2017, he could jump up to 30th. This would place Miggy right behind Lou Gehrig and have him surpassing the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Chipper Jones, Stan Musial, and Willie Stargell.
RBI: This one is starting to get real interesting after another 100+ RBI season in 2016 for Cabrera (108). There are currently only 4 players who have more than 2,000 RBI (Cap Anson, Alex Rodriguez, Babe Ruth, and Hank Aaron), and I’d say Cabrera has a real good shot of being the 5th and an outside shot of holding the all-time record, depending how long he plays. With the 108 runs driven in for 2016, Cabrera now sits 45th all-time and with 100 more in 2017, we could see him jump up to around 30th (Adrian Beltre would need to be about 18 less for this to happen) and passing up guys like Al Kaline, Rogers Hornsby, Harmon Killebrew, Mike Schmidt, Ernie Banks, and George Brett to name a few.
Doubles: Cabrera is very well known for his ability to spray the ball around the park with power and collecting doubles and homers while doing so. Although 31 doubles in 2016 were nowhere near a career high of 52 a few years back, it was enough to move Miggy from 69th to 46th heading in to 2017. Another 30 doubles in 2017 would push Cabrera further up the charts to 29th and passing up players such as Ken Griffey Jr., Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Joe Medwick, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Tony Gwynn, and a bunch of others.
Slugging Percentage: New for this year and not a counting stat by any means, but Cabrera currently ranks 14th all-time with a slugging percentage of .5621. He’ll never get close to the leaders Babe Ruth (.6897), Ted Williams (.6338), or Lou Gehrig (.6324), but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain this percentage throughout the rest of his career.
Total Bases: Another stat that I am going to keep an eye on is total bases. Miggy currently has 4,414 total bases which is good for 55th currently. On average Cabrera has been adding 341 total bases a season and with that again in 2017, he would tier Chipper Jones for 32nd and would pass up guys like Rickey Henderson, Cap Anson, Mickey Mantle, Frank Thomas, Rogers Hornsby, Ernie Banks, and so on. A matter of fact, if Cabrera could somehow keep up that average of 341 bases a season, he would finish his career in 2nd, right behind Hank Aaron’s 6,856 (Cabrera would have 6,801)
As you can see, Cabrera is in line to pass up some big names as he approaches some key milestones in his career and has a shot at being part of an elite club in a few of these categories. It’s going to be another fun season of watching Cabrera, that’s for sure!