A shortened season could help benefit Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers as we continue our 40-man roster preview.
The cliche/narrative that happens every spring training among the media is “He is in the best in his life”. In this case for the Detroit Tigers’ next candidate for the Hall of Fame Miguel Cabrera, he is in the best shape he has been in a while and it’s actually true.
Looking slimmer heading into summer camp, Miguel has been taking reps at 1st base with C.J. Cron. He looks happier, and its not just lip service by the beat writers or the Tigers, it was on full display as his charm comes through.
Also, in live batting practice, taking Matt Boyd deep also helps the confidence of Tigers’ fans.
Am I the same guy who said last month with the new DH rule coming to the National League to trade Miguel? Yes, I am. Keep in my mind my logic behind it was simply how Detroit has shown in the past few years to trade players when they start to heat up or to save money if a team was to take on his contract. But as I thought it more, with this shortened season, father time saves Miguel a bit.
In 60 games last season, he batted .289/.357/.376 with an OPS of.733 and a BAbip of .357. While the power numbers were down, it would be easy to agree Detroit could use this type of production in a shortened season. I started to think about previous seasons with just 60 games of production. Here’s from 2015 to 2018, keeping in mind in 2018, he was limited to only 38 games due to injury.
2015-.330/.436/.577 with an OPS of 1.013 (Totals through June 12, 2015)
2016-.289/.371/.518 with an OPS of .889 (Totals through June 10, 2016)
2017-.267/ .368/ .443 with an OPS of .812 (Totals through June 23, 2017)
2018- .299/.395/.448 with an OPS of .843
What is realistic for Miguel in terms of home runs as he inches closer to 500? (Sitting at 477) He hit 12 in 136 games last season and with some actual protection in C.J Cron and Jonathan Schoop in the lineup, he could match that total. Detroit’s offense was one of the worst in the American League last season and those three bats provide at this point, the power Detroit has on paper.
Take away the batting practice sessions we have seen on social media and the stories about his happiness for a second and think about this. What we are seeing in these last years is perhaps one of the greatest players to put on the Olde English D. The whole pandemic may not allow baseball to not even happen come July 24. But lost among the shuffle is another opportunity for us to watch Miguel play. He currently is sitting at a 69.5 bWAR, which would ranked him 104th of all time in terms of WAR and fifth among active players (Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, some guy named Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke)
A healthy Miguel Cabrera could make this shortened season a much more bearable one to watch. We often talk about the Tigers’ future because of the prospects. The idea of Miguel being traded was so he could go out as a winner. But maybe, just maybe, as Miguel gives a nod towards the future in wishing Spencer Torkelson was on his side of the locker room, Detroit could have something that has been lacking around the ballpark. Hope. If the big man can see it, perhaps we can too.
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