Here's what's wrong with Miguel Cabrera


The first rule of the Don't Worry About Miguel Cabrera Club is that you don't talk about worrying about Miguel Cabrera. The second rule of the Don't Worry Ab-- you know what, you get the idea. Miguel Cabrera is the purest hitter on the planet. He was not so much "born" as he was "fashioned by the gods" by mixing the DNA of Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams with the essence of maple, ash wood, and pine tar. He crushes ten baseballs per day with his bare hands, sucks the juice out of them for breakfast, and tosses away the empty husks while you stare open-mouthed, holding a cold slice of breakfast pizza.

Oh, also, Miguel Cabrera is hitting .232 right now, which is the strangest combination of typed words in the entire history of typed words. There are people on Twitter who have had apparently slammed their own heads in car doors enough times to say things like, "man he sure is starting to look more and more like Ryan Howard," which is a statement so stupid that now I'm slamming my own head in a car door just trying to forget I ever read that.

Look, there's a line that divides long-term worrying from short-term freaking out, and that line must be respected. Short-term freaking out is what you do when Miguel Cabrera strikes out with the bases loaded twice in the same [expletives deleted] game (like he did on Tuesday). Yes, absolutely, tap into your inner Rage Monster and start yelling compound curse words never before heard by human ears. But then do the sane thing and remember that this is a weird slump that will be soon be broken -- it is as certain as death, taxes, and Tigers closers being unreliable dickweeds.

So Miguel Cabrera is hitting .232 at the moment, after 14 games. Let's take a look back in the deep, dark annals of baseball history to see when was the last time Cabrera ah here we go, it was 2014.

In 2014, still rehabbing from offseason surgery, Miggy had a slow start. And even in that semi-weakened physical state, after finishing 14 games with a slashline of .232/.295/.375, he then did an about-face and spent the next 24 games slashing .347/.381/.602 with six home runs and 30 RBI. 

I feel like maybe you spaced out a bit just now and didn't really appreciate those numbers.

Thirty. Runs. Batted. In.

In. Twenty-four. Games.

Miggy takes batting practice before every game, and he's still launching the majority of those balls to their bleacher-y graves, so it's not like he's forgotten which end of the baseball bat to grip. He knows how to hit. Which makes this graphic so astounding that it should probably be immediately classified as four of the Seven Wonders of the World:


That's Cabrera's current zone map, showing his batting average on pitches thrown in those specific locations. 

Look at the four squares covering inside-high, inside-middle, middle-high, and dead-middle. That's where you don't throw pitches to Miguel Cabrera if you want to have a career as a pitcher. Miggy has seen 33 pitches in that four-square space this season, and he doesn't have a single hit on any of those pitches. How about that middle-outside square? The spot where he normally drives the ball into the right field seats? He's seen 14 pitches there this season, and has hit two of them.

For comparison, here's that same map from last season:


First of all, LOL at the low-and-inside, not-even-in-the-damned-strike-zone area where he hit .308 anyway. But second, that's a normal Miguel Cabrera map, with plenty of red to go around. 

So I guess the question you have to ask yourself is whether you believe Cabrera is just a few plate appearances away from fixing his timing issue and going on a 30-RBI tear, or whether you believe the greatest hitter on the planet has literally forgotten how to hit baseballs thrown over the heart of the plate.

(Hint: it's not the second one.)
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