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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cabrera, Kershaw, Ramirez all have a lot to prove

Few players have been as consistently excellent at the plate as Miguel Cabrera in his prime.

That seems like a long time ago now.

Cabrera hit only 12 home runs last season and has just 31 over the past three years. He’ll turn 37 in April, and there are plenty of indications that the Detroit star is in the middle of a protracted decline. From 2005-13, Cabrera batted at least .320 eight times in nine seasons — and hit at least 30 home runs in all but one year.

At this point, the Tigers would probably settle for a 20-homer season and an average around .300. That would be a step up from last year, but it remains to be seen if Cabrera — whose big contract lasts until at least 2023 — is capable of halting this slide in production.

Like bread dough?

QLE Posted: March 12, 2020 at 01:12 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alex bregman, clayton kershaw, edwin diaz, jose ramirez, khris davis, miguel cabrera, trevor bauer

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2020 at 02:12 AM (#5929811)
An odd collection in the headline (the article contains other examples of guys who need to "prove" something). Miggy hasn't been good since 2016. Even his solid 157 PA in 2018 was really just an awesome 10-game hot streak (472/558/806 in 43 PA). Kershaw though remains excellent but just misses 6-10 starts a year. Jose Ramirez is a guy whose excellence kinda came out of nowhere for 2 years (as opposed to the HoF peaks of Kershaw and Miggy) but his "disappointing" 2019 was an atrocious 1st half (652 OPS) followed by an excellent 44 games (1105 OPS) then he missed a month. He still has to "prove" his 140 OPS+ days were for real rather than his 2015-16 performance but for now he's an excellent player who just had a terrible half-season.

The others are Edwin Diaz, Khris Davis, Trevor Bauer and Alex Bregman (who is under a whole different kind of pressure than the others).
   2. Itchy Row Posted: March 12, 2020 at 10:16 AM (#5929867)
I was 1 for 3 on the headline. I guessed Asdrubal Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez. I did get the right Kershaw.
   3. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: March 12, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5929886)
I had no idea who the Ramirez was.

None of these guys has #### to prove. They’ve had long and successful careers achieving many great things. Two of them are Hall of Famers and the third had a hell of a career. Hanley is done and I suspect Miggy is too. Kershaw is still going strong, not what he was but still very good and he’s been more durable the last years than I realized
   4. Cris E Posted: March 12, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5929986)
What is Miggy proving anything for, his next contract? He's got a few years left on his current deal, so at this point it's about winding down with dignity, not showing some bored columnist what he can do.
   5. Hank Gillette Posted: March 12, 2020 at 03:59 PM (#5930073)
Cabrera is 185 hits short of 3000. If Detroit continues to play him the way LAA continue to play Pujols (because there is a lot of money owed), he should be able to limp over the line, but it probably won’t be pretty.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2020 at 04:07 PM (#5930078)
Cabrera is still one of Detroit's best hitters, believe it or not. Injury might cause him to limp over the line, but he also might just happily cruise along with superficially OK numbers, playing plenty of games and blowing past 3,000 with ease.
   7. Cris E Posted: March 12, 2020 at 04:10 PM (#5930080)
Let's see, 3.5 seasons remaining on the contract, depending on when 2020 starts, and 185 hits. 185/3.5 = 53 hits per year. If he only hits .200 through 2023 he needs fewer than 1000 AB, about 265 per year. The real risk to him making it is the Tigers improving/caring enough to push him to the bench. It could be tight.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2020 at 05:10 PM (#5930123)
The Ramirez is Jose Ramirez. Sure "prove" is an obnoxious way to prove it but nearly 15 WAR over 2017-18 and two 3rd place MVP finishes and just 3 WAR last year. Those big years kinda came out of nowhere then last year was half terrible half amazing so it is an interesting question as to just how good he is now so "something to prove" in that sense makes sense.

On Miggy, he really seems to be hanging by a thread. He did manage to produce a solid BA last year so 3000 hits looks a pretty safe bet but the power disappeared almost completely. It has fallen off so badly that he might not make it to 500 HR which is shocking. If the BA drops (or he gets hurt again and it affects his skill level), we're looking at a line of 250/300/340 which is even a good bit worse than Pujols. It's been ugly but at least Pujols has managed the superficial numbers of 20+ HR and 90+ RBI (thanks Mike).

From 34-36, Pujols had 8 WAR; Miggy had 0. Miggy's 34-36 was a bit better than Pujols 37-39 but it doesn't bode well for Miggy 37-40. Maybe I'm underselling him -- the BA over the last 700 PA does suggest that there's still sufficient bat speed there so maybe if he can pull the ball more or add some launch angle, he can get some power back and settle in more at 250/310/420 or something. I've speculated (too often probably) that part of Pujols' problem was that he failed to adapt to the fact he was no longer the hitter he was -- his K-rate has barely budged, until last year his LD% has remained healthy when it seemed that maybe he needed to trade contact rate for hard contact. Miggy might still be at a point where he can make that tradeoff.

But yeah, Detroit's got nothing else going on, he's surely not blocking anybody, so keep trotting him out there -- I'm not sure he should be in the middle of the lineup but they probably don't have any options there either. (And to ensure my pessimism doesn't get confused with insanity, he's an obvious HoFer regardless of what happens at this point.)
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2020 at 08:27 PM (#5930201)
Cabrera had a couple of doubles a few days ago against the Nationals in a game I was at. Surprised me by making it to 2nd on one. He’s hitting .345/.406/.690 for the Spring, which is also a surprise. Wouldn’t put that much stock in it … but if you can’t be optimistic in Spring Training, when can you?
   10. Darren Posted: March 13, 2020 at 09:54 AM (#5930283)
but if you can’t be optimistic in Spring Training, when can you?

Well, no more spring training so no more optimism. Sorry.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2020 at 08:14 PM (#5930484)
I have no idea of what is really going on with Miggy, but those numbers the last three years, look like some type of injury more than a decline... you don't decline from 155 ops+ to 93 without some underlying reason, even age doesn't take that much of a toll.

And considering that, yes in baseball terms, he's old, but in reality physical terms, he's fairly young, and if he's able to work through whatever injury that is the issue (and heck it could just be needing a new pair of contacts) then there is no reason to think he can't put up a 120 ops+ season or so. But if he's Albert Belle (or Andruw Jones) himself over the past three seasons, that is a different story.

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