Is Miguel Cabrera The Most Undervalued Triple Crown Winner Ever?

By Carter Roane
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers fans are very lucky to be able to experience one of the greatest right handed hitters that has ever played baseball. The sad part is even though Miguel Cabrera is a well-known name, he may not be all that appreciated for the special talent that he is and what he has accomplished.

Last year, Cabrera won the Triple Crown which is a remarkable feat. No one had won the Batting Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski did in 1967. Needless to say, if you are under the age of about 45, you have never seen a player win one in your lifetime. In these modern times of baseball, it seems as though most players focus on batting average or power but typically not both. Wade Boggs and Ichiro Suzuki are two players that come to mind who had power but seemed to focus a lot more on their batting averages. Cabrera is a unique talent because he can do both and he does it very well. The best comparison I can make to his unique skill set for a right handed batter might be Manny Ramirez. The thing that was baffling about Cabrera’ season last year was the fact that when he won the American League MVP, sabermetricians were absolutely offended that he beat out Mike Trout. I mean, really offended.

Now, Trout had an amazing year for a rookie, especially if you want to factor in WAR. Had this been any other season over the last forty years or so, it would have been no contest. And those numbers don’t lie. However, neither do Cabrera’s numbers. Cabrera had won the Triple Crown and some stat geeks made it sound like Trout was beaten out by some stiff. He batted .330 with 44 home runs and 139 runs batted in. He did all this while playing third base, a position he hadn’t played for a few years. Trout means everything to his team, and he is one of the best players in all of baseball. However, I think Cabrera is just on a higher playing level than everyone else at the moment.

Flash forward to 2013. Statistically, Cabrera might be having a better year this season than he did last season, hitting for a higher batting average. He was the first player in history to have 30 home runs and 90 runs batted in at the All-Star Break. However, he is not getting a lot of attention that a player of his skills should. I mean, who do we hear more about? Yasiel Puig. And yes, he is extremely talented, but he’s no Cabrera. Unfortunately, we have heard a lot of talk about Alex Rodriguez and his escapades. We hear about the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and the amazing story of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cabrera might not even make the top five in compelling baseball storylines, and that is bizarre because he has a small chance to do something really remarkable this season.

He has an outside shot, which has become even more outside because he has been hurt recently, of winning another Triple Crown. If he does manage to do that, he would be the third player ever. You may have heard of the first two. A couple of guys named Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby. Pretty good company.

Here’s hoping Cabrera gets healthy again and makes another run for the Triple Crown. Maybe the sabermetricians will give him credit where credit is due.

Carter Roane is a Boston Red Sox writer for Follow him on Twitter@CarterGRoane, “Like”him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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