Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cabrera At It Again

Once again, Miguel Cabrera is far and away the best hitter in baseball
Last year, Miguel Cabrera became the first man in 45 years to lead his league in home runs, RBI, and batting average. This year, he could become the first player ever to win the Triple Crown in consecutive seasons.

Only two men have ever won multiple Triple Crowns, and their names are Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby. Williams accomplished the feat five years apart, in 1942 and 1947, but might have won in 1943 had he not been serving his country during World War II. He nearly won in 1941, when his .406 batting average and 37 home runs paced the major leagues, but his 120 RBI fell five short of Joe DiMaggio's league-leading total.

Hornsby also came tantalizingly close to becoming a repeat Triple Crown winner. He won his first in 1922 but came within an eyelash of winning the year before. Rajah won the batting crown (.397) and RBI title (126) in 1921 but his 21 long balls were bested by High Pockets Kelly's 23. Hornsby won his second Triple Crown in 1925.

While it's still way too early to be talking about a serious Triple Crown run, the reigning MVP's hot start has put him on track to make history. Cabrera currently leads the major leagues in both batting average  (.384) and RBI (49) while ranking third in home runs (12), tied with Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Reynolds but just one behind league-leaders Chris Davis and Robinson Cano.

Cabrera is raking right now, and while his batting average is guaranteed to drop off he's still a good bet to win his third straight batting title. As for his power, it's possible the best is yet to come given how well he finished last season--36 home runs and 105 RBI from this date forward. While it's going to be almost impossible for him to sustain his current level of run production (he's on pace for 185 RBI thanks to his absurd .509/.586/.912 batting line with runners in scoring position), he could benefit from even more RBI opportunities once Austin Jackson returns from his hamstring injury early next week.

Until then, look for him to do some serious damage when the last-place Minnesota Twins come to the Motor City for a four-game set this weekend.

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