Miguel Cabrera Will Reclaim The MVP Trophy in 2015
Miguel Cabrera is one of the most valuable players in baseball. He was when the Tigers were World Series favorites, and he will be, now more than ever, this season, when they take the field as a team with questions abound. Anyone expecting a typical regression, from an atypical player, will be in for a surprise in 2015. And, it will be during this season, in the face of a closing window, where Cabrera will truly define his status as a once in a generation player, and reclaim the MVP trophy from Mike Trout.
The anxiety in Detroit is certainly warranted. Cabrera is coming off two consecutive seasons where injuries slowed him in the postseason, and that was when the Tigers were viewed as perennial contenders. Now that the playoffs are no guarantee, Cabrera’s enormous extension could become a focal point of criticism if he were simply another star. However, the Tigers’ first baseman lives outside the parameters of baseball normality. He is one of the truly great hitters of all time, and he has a triple crown to prove it.
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Take a few things into account. First, note that since Miguel Cabrera’s MLB debut, 12 years ago, he has not spent one single day on the disabled list. And, that in that time, he has played in 95 percent of his teams games. Second, consider that since becoming a Tiger in 2008, Cabrera has the highest WAR of any player during that span.
Anyone betting against a bounce-back year from Cabrera is betting that one of the most durable, valuable players in the league bucks his trend of consistent excellence. Excellence, which was not deterred by bone chips so large that Dave Dombrowski was “shocked” at seeing them after surgery. In what many considered a down year for the jovial slugger, he hit .313 with 25 homeruns, and 109 RBIs. Production that any team would take in their lineup. In fact, Seattle just signed Nelson Cruz for 58 million dollars, and he had a lower average, less RBIs, and an OBP that was almost 40 points lower.
In 2015, Cabrera will have the opportunity to prove he is ready on Opening Day, or at the very least, ease his way back into the lineup a few weeks into the season. And, he will be surrounded by a better lineup than he had even when Prince Fielder was around to protect him.
There is no telling whether or not further injuries await him, but the chances are that he will be penciled in on the lineup no matter what, and without those bone spurs, his run production could be historic. Dombrowski himself said that he would not be surprised if Cabrera “put up the biggest numbers this year that he’s ever put up.”
The Tigers’ general manager added, “You start looking at the Ted Williams, the Stan Musials and the Hank Aarons. Well, Miguel Cabrera is in that conversation. … So I don’t know why he can’t be a productive hitter till he’s 37, 38, 39. In fact, I’ll be surprised if he isn’t.”
Take the field against Miguel Cabrera, if you would like, but the odds will not be in your favor, and in a year where the Tigers need their leader the most, he will be his most valuable.
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