Detroit Tigers: Injuries cut short a strong season from Miguel Cabrera

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ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 14: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers reacts to the homerun by Ian Kinsler in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 14, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 14: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers reacts to the homerun by Ian Kinsler in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 14, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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With the season drawing to a close, we are going to provide year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Olde English D in 2018.

The Detroit Tigers have nearly completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.

As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.

Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!

Injuries cut short multiple Tigers seasons, including Jose Iglesias (graded here) Michael Fulmer (graded here) and John Hicks (graded here). None were felt more than the injury that cost the Tigers their superstar slugger, Miguel Cabrera, way back in June.

Miguel Cabrera

Miggy only played in 38 games this season, coming to the plate 157 times. His numbers in those plate appearances were studly, as he slashed .299/.395/.448 with a 14.0% walk rate, a 17.2% strikeout rate and a 128 wRC+. His power was limited, as the big fella only managed three home runs and eleven doubles. His back injury likely hampered some of his power, but his trademark plate discipline was still intact, and he still hit the ball hard at a 46.3% clip.

His 13.6% HR/FB rate was a bit lower than his career norm, but the primary culprit was a career-high 54.6% ground ball rate – along with a 20.4% fly ball rate, well below his next lowest mark.

For Miggy to return to his power-hitting ways in 2019, he’ll need to find more loft in his swing. If he does, which I imagine a full year to heal and a move to the DH spot will help, he should be in line for 25+ home runs once again next season.

Grade

Obviously it’s tough to grade a player who missed so much time. His actual performance, relative to what his expectations are, is something like a C or C-. The injuries could lower that, although that hardly seems fair. I’ll go C-, since three home runs and only 38 games played are certainly below average, even if the circumstances are outside of his control.

Grade: C-

Next. The Five Best Trades in Franchise History. dark

Check back here daily for more player grades! And if you’d like to discuss any grades, please leave us a comment on our Facebook or Twitter page.

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