A Brief Note on Miguel Cabrera and Matt Tuiasosopo

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

In studying the Tigers offensive statistics so far, I spent some time looking into Jhonny Peralta, whom I have generally defended, but decided that his extremely good numbers so far (3rd in SS WAR) are driven somewhat by a high BABIP which isn’t very interesting.

Then I thought about writing about why Matt Tuiasosopo, the Tigers RH platoon OF, should play a little more but realized there isn’t really any extra PA for him unless you’re willing to bench Victor Martinez, whom I’m not giving up on at all.

Yet in the course of this perusal of Tuiasosopo’s numbers, something very amazing caught my eye. He’s crushing the ball, but that’s not what I mean. There is a belief, one which I share, that a baseball player can do pretty much anything across 60 plate appearances, or a 10 to 14 day stretch. Tuiasosopo has 51 PA at this moment in time. So I’m not shocked that he’s doing well. I’m shocked at how it compares to someone else on the team. First, for reference, he’s Tui’s line:

.366/.490/.561, 189 wRC+ (51 PA, 2 HR, 7 R, 15 RBI, 19.6% BB)

That’s excellent. It’s a small sample, but it’s excellent. He’s 89% better than league average at the plate so far this year. It won’t continue, but that isn’t the point. The point is that Tuiasosopo’s best 51 PA – his small sample peak – still don’t measure up to Miguel Cabrera’s entire season.

Cabrera’s line, despite covering 197 PA or a quarter of a season rather than 10%, is better. Here it is:

.387/.457/.659, 199 wRC+ (197 PA, 11 HR, 34 R, 47 RBI, 10.7% BB)

Cabrera isn’t getting on base at the same rate as Tuiasosopo, but he’s outslugging him by a lot. Cabrera is 99% better than league average at the plate this year. This post is meant to illustrate how awesome that is. Tuiasosopo is crushing the ball over a small sample and he still isn’t on Cabrera’s 200 PA pace (In Cabrera’s last 55 PA, he’s at 220 wRC+ BTW). That’s nuts.

Miguel Cabrera’s wRC+ for the season is better than Babe Ruth’s career wRC+. Now obviously that won’t continue. He won’t be Babe Ruth (although for a second I did actually think about removing the word “obviously”). But right now he’s outhitting everyone. Even great hitters. Even players who are having the best couple weeks of their lives.

Chris Davis is the next closest qualifier to Cabrera with a 182 wRC+. If you drop the threshold from qualified to 50 PA, Tuiasosopo is as close as anyone gets. To find someone with a higher wRC+ than Cabrera, you have to find your way to Matt Adams’ 43 PA.

And just for fun, even though it isn’t a meaningful number, over the last week Miguel Cabrera leads baseball with a 344 wRC+. It’s a small sample, but that’s just silly.

Miguel Cabrera has the 29th best career wRC+ of all time at 150. This is his peak. It has to be. The last three seasons have been his best three and this one looks like it might top them all. We may be watching one of the best dozen or so hitters of all time at his absolute best.

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