After winning the triple crown last season, you would assume Miguel Cabrera would have to slow down. That simply isn’t the case.
Cabrera improved his average with runners in scoring position to .545 in the first inning of last nights game by pulling a single through the left side of the infield. Only Mike Napoli has had more chances to hit in such situations, so it’s not as if it is a small sample size compared to the rest of the league.
Cabrera has gone 24-44 with runners on second or third base. He gets even better than that if there are two outs — his average in those situations is .647. Basically, if your average player feels pressure, you can assume the opposite is true for Cabrera. Usually, getting a hit a third of the time is considered very good. Cabrera is trying hit closer to half of the time.
He has only struck out twice in those situations, which is key because even if he is unable to hit, he at least gives the runners a chance to advance by putting the ball in play. Four of his six home runs have come with runners in scoring position.
If he continues his torrid pace, he will hit somewhere in the neighborhood of 185 RBIs. Between him and Prince Fielder, the two have combined for 69 of the Tigers’ 162 RBIs. Needless to say, they would be in a much different spot without either of them.
Cabrera is attempting to put his name in a class of his own. No one has ever won back-to-back triple crowns. I don’t see the RBI or average being a problem. Cabrera can figure out a way to hit in any situation, against any type of pitcher. He can hit the ball wherever he wants, which means you can’t shift on him or he will try to make you look bad by hitting it where the defense isn’t.
Cabrera has been making a case at being the best hitter in baseball history since he hit a walk-off homer the first day he made it to the majors. He has a very long way to go before he’s done, and he’s already put himself in the conversation.