Batting Third: First-baseman Miguel Cabrera
Last year was a down-year for the 2012 Triple-Crown winner. But Miguel Cabrera, and the Detroit Tigers are hoping for a resurgence. The lineup feels different when he’s hot. Everyone seems to perform better when he’s raking.
Cabrera dropped off BIG TIME last year. He went from .316/.393/.956 with 38 home runs to .249/.329/.728 with 16 long balls. That’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen from the two-time MVP.
While players regress as they age, Cabrera’s 34. Losing over 50 points off his batting average isn’t normal. Cutting home run numbers in half is ridiculous. He’s regressing, but is bound to have a couple good years left, at least.
Baseball-reference agrees. They have him hitting .284/.367/.482, with 22 home runs and 72 RBIs. It’s a slight uptick from last year. While it may not be the production Tigers fans are used to, it’s better than having him perform at a replaceable level.
The elite years are behind him. He won’t He won’t hit .330 with 30+ long balls anymore. But Cabrera will still produce. He may have a .300 with 25 home run season.
Then again, perhaps the projections are realistic. Cabrera is more human, and isn’t as scary as years past. He doesn’t have a young Victor Martinez behind him. Teams may opt to walk him instead of pitching to him.
If Martinez leaves the team, Cabrera will shift to DH. The Tigers need his bat, and don’t want him to get injured in the field, if possible.