What would a series of Detroit Tigers player profiles be without the Big Man himself, Miguel Cabrera?
It might seem like this perennial powerhouse has been with the team forever, but he has only been a Tiger since 2008. It is amazing to consider that this 32-year-old MVP, Silver Slugger, and Triple Crown winner has been in the big leagues for 13 years. And, since he has won nearly every award known to baseball (except the Gold Glove), what in the world could he do in 2016?
One thing he could do is prove his nay-sayers wrong. Those who call him “old” or “out of shape” could easily be proven wrong in 2016. It is crazy to see what the best hitter in baseball can do with a bat when he is in extreme pain and now that he is feeling good, the Miggy Magic could strike more than gold. Could he reach another Triple Crown? Could he lead the Detroit Tigers to a World Series? If Cabrera had his way, the answers would be yes.
As a Tigers fan, there is nothing like watching Miguel Cabrera. His ability to play the game of baseball is one for the books. And, there will be books written about him and what he did with the bat and ball. Over the years, Cabrera has averaged .321/.399/.562 and a .961 OPS. And, he’s not done.
His oWAR is currently 72.1. His dWAR is less than impressive at -13.5, but most people come to watch his antics with opposing players rather than his actual defense at first base. It’s his ability to hit that brings in the crowds. His swing has been studied, copied, and practiced by hitters of all ages and abilities, but only Cabrera makes it look easy.
His work ethic is legendary. Those iconic swings look like they just come naturally to him; but, in reality, he is a workhorse. Brad Ausmus has said about Cabrera: “He puts work in to keep (his swing) there. It’s not like his swing is something he was born with.”
Cabrera may have to work to keep that swing, but he doesn’t have to work hard to maintain his gregarious personality. Anyone who has watched him on first base can see how much he loves playing around with his opponents. His on-field pranks with fellow Venezuelan Jose Altuve are absolutely hilarious and so are his interviews on the MLB Network. He even manages to make the grumpiest players have fun when they reach first base, like the time he made sure to touch Adrian Beltre‘s head each time he reached Miggy’s spot.
What can the fans expect to see from in 2016? If Cabrera has anything to say about it, a lot of wins. He spent the off-season working out in full health, rather than recovering from surgery on his ankle, foot, and core muscles. With his legs in shape and with his powerful upper body, Cabrera could be even more of a threat than he has been in previous years. He hit .338 with 18 home runs while suffering from foot and ankle issues in 2015. He told reporters: “I mean, play 160 games. That’s my goal. I’m trying not to miss too many games. I’m trying to play every day.”
In the world of Miguel Cabrera, if he says it, his fans, teammates, and opponents had better believe it. My prediction for Cabrera in 2016: lots of hits with a batting average over .330, more than 25 home runs, and some intense laughter.