Blengino: On Miguel Cabrera’s legacy when it’s all said and done

From SABR member Tony Blengino at FanGraphs on April 1, 2014:

The week leading up to Opening Day 2014 turned out to be quite historic, with the clear two best players in the game locked into long-term contracts guaranteeing them nearly a cool half-billion. Obviously, the prognosis for the respective long-term efficacy of the two deals varies dramatically, with Cabrera’s extension locking up his age 33-40 seasons, compared to Trout’s doing the same to his age 23-28 campaigns. This week, let’s take a step back and put these two greats into some sort of historical perspective, then use that perspective to research their aging curves in order make some educated judgments regarding the Tigers’ and Angels’ investments. Today, let’s look at Miguel Cabrera. 

First, let’s take a look at how Miguel Cabrera gets it done. We’ll focus primarily on the bat, as A) Cabrera’s complementary skills are negligible at best, and B) Let’s face it, even with a five-tool guy like Trout, these teams are paying for the bat first when they give out such deals. Below is a grid of Cabrera’s percentile ranks indicating the respective frequency of the six key batted ball outcomes – K’s, BB’s, popups, fly balls, line drives and ground balls – over the last six seasons. Batted ball authority is not taken into account at all here, but these numbers alone – from 1, indicating lowest in the majors, to 99, indicating the highest – paint a very accurate portrait of a hitter qualitatively. They’re his technical merit scores, if you will.

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Originally published: April 1, 2014. Last Updated: April 1, 2014.