Currently historic: Cabrera hyperbole

We are really coming down to the wire now. The average team has 37 or so games left, which means three things for this column: First, career achievements are getting sparse as many slip over into next season. Second, seasonal achievements are getting much more likely. More than 75 percent of the season is gone and many of these players are still going strong. Third, if a player does fall off the pace, it’s hard to get back, as sample sizes are quite large and it takes a lot to move numbers back up once they’ve slipped down.

Okay, let’s get going…

Yu Darvish has been phenomenal this year. Just phenomenal. This week, he’ll likely pass his strikeout total from last year and he’s pretty much a shoo-in to lead the league. But he’s not getting to 300. I wanted to happen, I really did. And it might next year or the year after, but not this year.

However, it’s not time to stop tracking Darvish. He slipped a little last week, but his K/9 rate of 11.96 still ranks him ninth all-time. Barring something strange, he is going to have a historic season; it’s just a matter of seeing where he ends up.


So, apparently, whatever magic potion was sprinkled on the Cardinals at the beginning of the season has worn off. Correspondingly, Adam Wainwright‘s season is becoming less impressive. His K/BB numbers still put him in the top-25 all-time, but only barely.


Miguel Cabrera is having the kind of season that… Miguel Cabrera’s numbers are like….

I give up. Cabrera good. Okay? Okay? What else can be written about the man? I don’t know. He currently leads the league in two Triple Crown categories (never done after a Triple Crown win), all three slash stats (Sabr-Triple Crown), is with shouting distance of slugging .700. Is leading the league in hits and is second in walks. It’s ridiculous.

But he still might not be the best player in the league and he still isn’t the best hitter most of us have seen (unless you’re five, in which case, you are a very precocious young person, well done). Joe Posnanski wrote about this recently and rather than try to do better than he did, I’ll just link him. Miguel Cabrera is a great ballplayer. A Hall of Fame ball player. But even for those players, the hyperbole occasionally gets out of hand.

Mike Trout, who may be a better baseball player than Cabrera, is also quite the hitter. He’s leading the league in walks and only four off the pace in hits.

Oh, and there’s this. Mike Trout is about to become the greatest 21-year-old ever. He has accumulated 19.1 WAR this year. He is just behind Mel Ott (19.3). Every player in the top ten (21 and younger division) is either in the Hall of Fame or not eligible yet (Ken Griffey and Alex Rodriguez). Now, that is deserving of hyperbole. It typically takes about 60 WAR to get into the Hall, and Trout is already a third of the way there. That is simply insane. Joey Votto didn’t even get an at-bat until he was 23, and here Mike Trout is knocking on the door of 20 WAR.

Speaking of Votto, he’s get the polish ready for his fourth straight OBP crown. He’s also still trying for the walk/hit combo Cabrera and Trout are chasing. It seems less likely for him, largely because he walks so much (he has 14 more walks than the number two man in baseball, teammate Shin-Soo Choo). We pretty much know how his season is going to end at this point, but we have to keep tracking him just in case.

Chris Davis seems destined to hit either 58 or 59 homers this year. Right now, he’s on pace for the former. Sixty sure would be cool.

Manny Machado is on pace for 56 doubles, which isn’t really of note, but 60 is still a possibility, and that would be something.


Last week, the Astros were on pace to strike out 1,537 times. This week, they’re on pace to strike out 1,538 times. That would best the old record by eight.

Baltimore lowered its error pace to 48. The Rays lowered theirs to 58. The Yankees, however, had a rough week in the field and their one week stint here is over.


The strikeout race is getting close. We’ve lost another player and have at least one more in jeopardy.

Chris Carter, 165 Ks, 214 K pace: Carter is getting really close. He needs only 35 more to hit (or, I suppose, miss) 200. He could do that with two bad weeks.

Mike Napoli, 158 Ks, 202 K pace: Napoli didn’t really strike out much this week, mostly because his foot is acting up. Here’s hoping he gets back on the field soon.

Dan Uggla, 146 Ks, 191 K pace: Uggla’s DL stint puts the kibosh on his attempt to fail at kiboshing a baseball 200 times.

Chris Davis, 151 Ks, 196 K pace: Davis climbed just a bit this week. Almost there.


And now the list, which like its prime mover, is enhanced:

Alex Rodriguez categories:
Home runs: 649, currently fifth, 11 behind Willie Mays.
RBI: 1,956, currently sixth, 36 behind Lou Gehrig.
Hits: 2,916, currently 37th, 11 behind Al Simmons.
Total bases: 5,423, currently ninth, 112 behind Carl Yastrzemski.
Hit by pitch: 169, currently 15th, three behind Carlos Delgado. You may have heard about the time he was hit by a pitch this week.
Times on base: 4,294, currently 27th. He passed Gary Sheffield this week and is now 32 behind Al Kaline.

Todd Helton (583) hit two doubles and is tied with Robin Yount for 17th. Next up, Rafael Palmeiro

Adrian Beltre also hit two and needs 12 to reach 500.

Stolen bases:
Juan Pierre (611) is not doing anything on the bases right now.

Michael Bourn isn’t either. He still needs seven to reach 300.

Showing up:
Mariano Rivera (1,099) needs 22 more appearances to catch John Franco for third. I think that ship has now sailed. Au revoir, Mo. Enjoy your ride off into the sunset.

Bartolo Colon‘s next start will be his 400th.

Thanks for reading. As always, stats are through Monday’s games.

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  1. Marc Schneider said...


    I grant your point about Cabrera and other hitters.  But I do feel that the controversy with Trout last year has somehow tarnished Cabrera.  Whether or not he is the best player or should have won the MVP, he is awfully damn good hitter.  It seems as if the effort to define Trout as the actual MVP last year-a very logical case to be sure-implied a diminishment of how good Cabrera is and that’s a shame.  He is a historic hitter.

  2. S. Urista said...

    > But I do feel that the controversy with Trout
    > last year has somehow tarnished Cabrera

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

  3. Dave Cornutt said...

    The Pittsburgh Pirates need to score 127 more runs to reach 90,000 runs in franchise history.  Averaging out their runs per game this season, if they maintain that pace they will score that 90,000th run in the final week of the season.

  4. Cus said...

    From my perspective, the arguments that Trout is actually the best hitter in baseball always fall flat because they notehis speed. Doesn’t logic suggest that a guy who does what Cabrera does and can’t run is necessarily better at hitting than one who can? Trout may be the best player/offensive player, etc. but his speed influences his average and BABIP etc. too much to say he is actually better than Cabrera. Speed is also way less trainable than other baseball skills and Cabrera should not be criticized for lack of it.

  5. Brad said...

    OK, I agree the Miggy as the best hitter (or right handed hitter) of all-time is really pushing it.  Miggy isn’t top ten all-time right now.  He might get there, but he isn’t even the best since 2000.  Pujols from 2000-2010 was a notch above.  I can’t count Barry because at 30 his stats were less than Pujols and Cabrera and he didn’t go crazy until after he turned 35.  How do you put up .322/.517/.724/1.241 after the age of 35 when your career numbers were .288/.409/.559/.968 prior to that? Thats a 12%/26%/30%/28% increase all after 35.  Couldn’t be done without PED’s.

  6. Jason Linden said...


    Is anyone arguing that Trout is a better hitter than Cabrera? I don’t think so. I’m certainly not. Player? Yes. Hitter? No.

  7. Simon Foster said...

    A-Rod is tied for 1st in Career Grand Slams (23, Lou Gehrig). That’s ONE record that I care whether he breaks or not …

  8. Paul E said...

      Agreed. But, what about a 3 year period or, for that matter, 7 or 10? I guess we could argue as to what is the best measure as far as player peaks are concerned…..but, yeah, probably real difficult to argue if the players aren’t contemporaries.

  9. Gyre said...

    Since whoever is considered a better hitter of all time isn’t facing current pitching, it’s really impossible to say ‘the best’.  Modern pitching has an enormous amount of ball movement compared to the past, there aren’t farmboys on the hill trying to throw it past the hitter anymore.

    I look at in about 5 year periods, for the last 5 years, who was better?

  10. jqp2699 said...

    “I can’t count Barry because at 30 his stats were less than Pujols and Cabrera”

    This isn’t quite fair to Bonds.He was brought up while still offensively raw because of his obvious skills and defensive vale and speed and didn’t hit his stride until 25. But between 25 and thirty he posted seasons with OPS+ of 170, 160,204,206,180 and 170 Pujols never topped 200 (His high is 192) and Miggy’s high before this season is 179. Bonds also stole 223 bases during that period, won five OPS+ crowns (As opposed to Alberts 4, though Pujols is hurt in his early years because he’s competing against…drum roll please….Bonds,led the league in OBP four times (Pujols once, Miggy thrice) and SLG three times (Pujols 3, Miggy twice. He also led the league in IBB four times,same as Pujols.Interestingly, Cabrera’s never led the league.

    I think it’s fair to say that Bonds was a comparable hitter.More importantly he was just getting going.Ignoring the past 1997 years, his age 31-35 years were spectacular, whereas Albert has slowed considerably and Cabrera doesn’t exactly have the best body type for aging well.

    I’m not saying this knock either Cabrera or Pujols.they are both great great hitters. But Bonds was the best player in the game for a decade,the most complete package since Mays and it gets forgotten in the hubbub of his post 2000 seasons.

  11. jqp2699 said...

    “Ignoring the past 1997 years,”

    Errrr,that should say post 2000.And I missed some parenthesis’ too. Apologies

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