He’s only 30 years old, but is it possible that Miguel Cabrera is the best right-handed hitter ever?
“Oh, gosh,” FOX MLB analyst Tim McCarver said on The John Feinstein Show. “Well, I think it’s unique. Before you rank him as whether he’s the best right-handed hitter you’ve ever seen, which I think he certainly ranks in that degree, it’s as important to think about how he does it, I think. I don’t think that I’ve seen a right-handed batter that allows the ball to get deeper than Cabrera does – and by that, I mean as deep into the strike zone. And that’s why he hits a lot of balls to right field.”
McCarver contrasted Cabrera with Henry Aaron, a career .305 hitter with 755 home runs. Aaron, however, would often hit off his front foot, which is extremely rare for an elite hitter, as most hitters can’t generate enough power when doing that. Cabrera, meanwhile, has extraordinary balance and allows the ball to get deep into the zone before taking his hacks. That’s why Cabrera is so effective at hitting the ball to right field, and that’s why he’s so effective at hitting home runs – even at Comerica Park, which is not a home-run hitter’s ball park.
Cabrera’s ability to use the entire field is a major reason he won the Triple Crown last year, and it’s a major reason why he could win it again this year. Entering play Aug. 28, Cabrera leads the American League – and all of baseball – in average (.357) and RBIs (130) and is second in home runs (43). Chris Davis, who leads the majors, has 46.
“It’s a fascinating discussion,” McCarver said, “but he is at the top of the list of the great hitters ever, no question.”
Feinstein also asked McCarver for the best, most compelling storyline of the year – on or off the field.
“Well, the Biogenesis story, unfortunately, has occupied (a lot of the) news about the game,” McCarver said. “But as with all news, you become almost numb to it after awhile. And there is such a thing as doing a baseball game, from an analyst standpoint, without having to bring it up all the time – and that’s comforting
“But the biggest story, without a doubt, to me, is the story of the Los Angeles Dodgers,” McCarver continued. “Yasiel Puig, there is no doubt about it, that he is a talented young man, however unbridled. And yet, he took an organization that was anything but unbridled prior to the last three to five years – it was the (epitome) for how to run an organization – and now this young Cuban defector comes onto the scene with an unbridled style of play and all of a sudden changes the fortunes of this team when this team was in the tank.”
The Dodgers, who started the year 30-42 and were mired in last place, have since gone 47-13 – much of it coinciding with Puig’s debut in June. He is hitting .347 with 13 home runs, 30 RBIs and eight steals on the season. He’s also made highlight reels plays and catches on an almost-nightly basis.
“I mean, they were given up for dead this year; they were floating in the water,” McCarver said of the Dodgers. “And (then) Puig (came) along. I think it’s one of the great stories in the last 50 years.”