Craig Remsburg column: Tigers’ Cabrera is a delight to watch
Early one day this past week, my oldest son, Clint, was rummaging around the kitchen looking for – what else? – some food.
“You know what, dad?” he asked during his exhaustive search. “You should write a column about Miggy. He’s awesome.”
I always suspected we thought alike when it comes to sports, since I had decided a couple of days earlier to do just that for today.
The Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball, bar none.
You can have Chris Davis’ home runs, or Mike Trout’s combination of batting average and stolen bases, or Paul Goldschmidt’s homers and RBIs.
They’re all good players, but Cabrera is in a class by himself. The reigning Triple Crown winner was batting .354, with 40 homers and 123 RBIs heading into the weekend.
He also had a .447 on-base percentage and a .676 slugging percentage.
According to STATS LLC, he’s the only player in Major League Baseball history with at least 1,962 hits, 410 doubles, 361 homers and 1,243 RBIs at the age of 30 years and four months.
That bears repeating. The ONLY PLAYER in the history of baseball to have achieved those numbers.
MLB fans – and Tiger followers, in particular – are seeing someone special in Cabrera. They’re truly blessed to be able to watch one of the great hitters of all time perform.
Game-in and game-out, he’s more than likely going to produce a hit that will have a major impact in the outcome of the game.
“He’s the best player in baseball,” Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost has said. “It’s as simple as that.”
A righthanded hitter, Cabrera will hit missiles to left, bombs to dead center and ropes to right.
It doesn’t matter where a ball is thrown. He’ll adjust to how a pitcher “tries” to get him out, often connecting on pitches he isn’t supposed to hit.
He’ll sometimes face two or three different pitchers in a game, making it even more difficult to get in the “groove” with the opposing team’s starting pitcher.
“It’s uncanny the way he has the ability to kind of sense what’s coming,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said this past week.
And Cabrera has been hitting the cover off the ball the last month despite being dogged by injuries, most notably a persistent hip-abdominal problem, a sore knee and pain in his shin.
He can’t run – only jog – to first base. It’s painful to see. But game-after-game, he’s in the lineup, ready to give his best.
It’s a little surprising Leyland has not made Miggy a designated hitter once in a while to give the star player off his feet.
The manager could put current DH Victor Martinez behind the plate to catch and have either Ramon Santiago or Don Kelly play third in place of Cabrera to give the slugger more time to heal.
There’s no doubt the desire to keep Cabrera in the lineup. But he’s such a pivotal figure in the Tigers’ chase for an AL Central Division crown that it’s tough to put him on the bench.
Let’s only hope Cabrera becomes 100 percent healthy if the Tigers make the playoffs. Opposing pitchers may not be able to get him out then.
We’re lucky to be watching one of the greatest hitters in MLB history. Players of his ability have been few in the history of the game.