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Tracking Miguel Cabrera’s milestones

Tigers’ legend could finish top 10 all time in hits, RBI, doubles

Detroit Tigers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Commissioner of Baseball has named Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Albert Pujols of the St Louis Cardinals to their respective American and National league all star teams as “Legend” selections.

Half way through the 2022 baseball season, Cabrera has continued on his Hall of Fame career path, passing up some of the game’s all time greats on just about every major offensive statistical list. After 81 games in the current season, the slugger was batting .308 over 274 plate appearances, racking up 78 hits, three home runs, seven doubles, and 31 RBI.

While his power numbers are down from his staggering career metrics, Cabrera led the Tigers in batting average, on base percentage, Runs batted in, weighted on base average and weighted runs created (minimum 150 plate appearances). The mid point of the season fell on July 6th, after the team had just completed a four game sweep of the Cleveland Guardians. Pick a different cutoff point and you’ll get slightly different numbers, but we’re here to see where Cabrera’s storied career numbers might wind up if he remains on his current pace.

The milestones have been falling by the wayside all season as Cabrera, already over 500 career home runs, notched his 3,000th hit, his 600th double, while assuring that he will finish the 2023 season with a lifetime batting average above .300. The methodology for these projections is fairly simple. Triple his production for the first half of the season to guesstimate for the last three half seasons before he retires. Let’s dig in and project.

Hits: Cabrera had 78 hits for the first half of the season, and 3,065 for his career, which puts him at 25th on the all time list. At the current rate, he would add 234 hits to that total, bringing him to 3,299 for his career. That would put him 13th all time, passing such legends as Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez, Tony Gwynn, George Brett, Cal Ripken, and Willie Mays. It would leave him 27 hits behind Albert Pujols (who isn’t done yet) in 10th place on the all time list.

Home Runs: It’s no secret that Cabrera’s home runs have been rare in his golden playing years. He has just three dingers this season, even after notching 15 in his chase for 500 in 2021. Another nine homers would give him 514 for his career, ranking 23rd all time. That is just seven shy of the trio of Frank Thomas, Willie McCovey and Ted Williams that could put him in the top 20 all time.

Runs Batted In: Despite leading the team at the half way point, Cabrera’s 31 RBI are off the pace of 75 that he drove in in 2021, but still enough to put him on track for 1,928 for his career, which would be 10th all time. This is the only metric that we’ll cover where he is on pace to finish in the top ten.

Doubles: Cabrera has seven doubles in the first half, leaving him on track for 625 for his career, or 13th all time in major league baseball. He currently ranks 16th with 604 two baggers, just one behind Paul Waner and Paul Molitor, and 20 behind Hank Aaron. He would need another 18 doubles to crack the top ten all time.

Total Bases: Cabrera currently ranks 17th all time with 5,218 total bases, and he’s moving up the list. He is on track to finish 14th with 5,312 at his current pace.

Amazing combinations:

  • Only 14 players in MLB history have hit 500 home runs and driven in 1,800 runs
  • Just 8 players have 500 homers and 1,900 RBI, Cabrera would be number nine
  • Only seven players have 500 home runs and 3,000 hits (Aaron, Mays, A Rod, Murray, Pujols, Palmiero, and Cabrera)
  • Only five players have 500 homers, 3,000 hits, and 1,800 RBI
  • Only two of those five, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, also have a .300 career batting average
  • Cabrera is the first player to hit his 500th home run as a member of the Detroit Tigers
  • He is one of just three players to rank in the top 5 in home runs with two different franchises

Plate appearances: With 274 plate appearances in the first half of the 2022 season, Cabrera is on pace to log 548 for the season, and another 822 before he retires. As of July 6, 2022, he had 11,267, putting him 33rd all time. At the current rate, he would finish with 12,089 plate appearances, which would be 19th on the all time list. Among those on the list in between are Al Kaline at 11,597, along with Reggie Jackson, George Brett, and Palmiero at 12,046.

Batting Average: Cabrera has already accomplished each of the time honored milestones mentioned here, with the exception of a career .300 batting average. That won’t be known for certain until his career is over The fact that he has remained on a .300 pace, with a current lifetime average of .310, virtually assures that he will finish above .300 for his career.

The .300 guarantee: Even if Cabrera slumped badly, hitting just .200 over 759 at bats (not plate appearances) to finish out his career, that would add 152 hits, leaving him 3,217 for 10,644 for his career, which is a batting average of .3022. And, by the way, Cabrera’s 9,885 at bats are (obviously) just 15 shy of 10,000, and he will become just the 30th player in MLB history to reach that milestone.

The career .300 batting average is something that only two of the seven players in the 500 HR- 3,000 hit club have accomplished. Soon it will be three: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Miguel Cabrera. Only Aaron and Cabrera also have 600 doubles.

As a Tiger, Cabrera has 367 home runs. He won’t come near Kaline’s franchise record of 399, but he is six shy of Norm Cash’s 373- second all time in Tigers’ history.

Some of Cabrera’s ranks as a Tiger:

  • Third in slugging pct, behind Hank Greenberg and JD Martinez
  • Fifth in OPS
  • Ninth in games played
  • Eighth in At Bats
  • Ninth in Runs scored
  • Eighth in hits (142 behind Trammell)
  • Fifth in total bases, doubles, and RBI