Miguel Cabrera, Hall of Famer

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

This was more or less decided after the 2013 season, but Miguel Cabrera is going to the Hall of Fame. Despite being injured for the better part of the season, somehow he’s running a 149 wRC+ and 5.1 WAR in 2014. Not to make too much of arbitrary cut points, but that’s his 9th 5+ WAR season and has pushed him over 60 WAR for his career.

You basically need two things to get into the Hall, a great peak and a decent among of longevity (or total value). Cabrera’s peak is unassailable and his total value has now crossed the rough threshold of players who typically make the Hall (60 WAR). Of course, these aren’t perfect rules and WAR is just an estimate, but Cabrera is 31 and has about 11 years left on his contract. Even if he’s a 3 win player for the next 5 year and then becomes terrible, he’s making the Hall in a walk. And he’s almost certainly going to be better than that.

He has a 152 wRC+ which leaves him about 28th all time, right around Joe DiMaggio, Manny Ramirez, and Hank Aaron. Through age 31, he’s 35th in WAR, around guys like Gary Carter, Wade Boggs, George Brett, and Honus Wagner(!). In other words, Cabrera hits all of the major nails directly on the head and will do better with the voters because his defense drags him down and voters overweight offensive achievement.

The last Tiger to get voted in by the BBWAA was Al Kaline in 1980. Maybe Tram and Lou will get in via the Veteran’s Committee before Cabrera, but otherwise the only question will be if Verlander makes it and if he beats Cabrera to the podium.

Assuming he stays reasonably healthy and doesn’t test positive for PEDs, Cabrera is going in as a first ballot Hall of Famer and the first living Tiger to make it close to 50 years..

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