FanPost

Is Miguel Cabrera's 2013 the best ever for a Detroit hitter?

Jason Miller

Miguel-cabrera-flattens-baseball-photo-570x427_medium

via gamedayr.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com

Yes, that is Miguel Cabrera. Yes, he hit the ball so hard that it flattened.

Cabrera's massive tater in the first inning today was the first hit in a 4-4 day. His season line now sits at an otherworldly .368/.457/.679. Seriously, look at that stat line. For comparison, a 'roided up Barry Bonds hit .336/.458/.677 in his MVP 1993. We've reached the point where Cabrera can be compared straight-up to Bonds in his prime.

Does that mean Cabrera's 2013 is the best ever for a Tigers hitter?

To decide how Miggy in 2013 stacks up against other Tigers' seasons, I went over to Fangraphs. The stat I used is wRC+, a cumulative stat that weights batting outcomes and finds how many runs a hitter produces in the time an average hitter produces 100 runs. wRC+ balances out the run-scoring environment. Miguel's line is more impressive than Bonds' 20 years before him because Bonds played in the high-scoring '90s, while Cabrera plays in the Age of the Pitcher. It also balances for a much more competitive playing field witnessed now than during the days of Ty Cobb, who we will be seeing soon.

The Top 10 Hitting Seasons in Detroit History

1. Miguel Cabrera 2013- 205*

1. Ty Cobb 1910- 205

3. Ty Cobb 1917- 200

4. Norm Cash 1961- 193

5. Harry Heilmann 1923- 190

6. Ty Cobb 1911- 189

7. Ty Cobb 1912- 188

7. Ty Cobb 1909- 188

9. Ty Cobb 1913- 186

10. Ty Cobb 1915- 185

*The link, as of July 7, will say 200 for Cabrera, but that was before his performance against Cleveland.

First of all, I must give props to Ty Cobb for appearing on this list 7 times. The Georgia Peach was remarkably consistent on a year-to-year basis, snagging spot after spot in the top 25. He was a hitting machine and there is an easy argument to make that he is the best player in the history of the franchise.

But he has no season better than Cabrera in 2013.

Cobb played in the era of white-only baseball leagues. Many of the best athletes in the world were barred from playing baseball in the 1910s. Picture Cabrera not having to hit against Felix Hernandez. I'd imagine his stats would rise. Now think of Cobb having to hit against a 1910 equivalent of Anibal Sanchez. I'd imagine his stats would drop.

Incredible seasons like this were fairly common back in the age of Cobb. Players like Ruth, Wagner, Crawford, and Jackson absolutely dominated in a way we can't really imagine these days. With the increased league parity, finding players with a wRC+ deviating from 100 is harder. The top 3 wRC+ values from 1910 were 205, 194, and 170. In 2013, they are 205, 191, and 161. I mean, if it wasn't for Chris Davis, would anyone even be in the same league anymore? Cabrera's increased separation from the other top hitters is further proof that his season is historic.

Therefore, we reach our conclusion. By wRC+, Miguel Cabrera is on pace to have the best batting season in the history of the Detroit Tigers. It passes the smell test, as well. Remember that next time you see him. This isn't just any old franchise player; this is THE franchise player.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.