1. Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
Oct 3, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) double against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning of game two of the 2014 ALDS playoff baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
MLB Debut: June 20, 2003
Age: 31 years old
Team Record (2014): 90-72 (AL Central champions)
A look at last season:
Miguel Cabrera is still one of the best players in the majors. It hurts me to rank him ahead of Abreu, but out of respect for all that Cabrera has done, and will still most likely do in the majors, he has to be ranked as the best first baseman in the AL Central … slightly, though.
Cabrera didn’t win a third consecutive AL MVP award last season, but he was still very good in ’14, finishing with a .313 batting average.
Cabrera also had an OBP of .371, SLG of .524 and his OPS was .895. Yes, his numbers were worse than the previous two seasons, but he’s managed to bat over .300 the past six seasons.
The ’15 season of Cabrera will go a long way in showing what direction his career will be moving towards … another couple seasons of MVP-caliber baseball, or he may come down to earth, and the lives of AL Central pitchers will be a little bit easier.
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2015 Baseball Prospectus Projections:
BP projects the numbers of Cabrera will be a little better in ’15, and I can’t disagree.
The publication says the two-time AL MVP will bat .318 with a .399 OBP and .557 SLG. Within those stats, Cabrera has projections of 92 runs, 37 doubles, two triples, 31 home runs and 25 home runs. All of that is said to equal 103 RBIs for the Tigers slugger.
If Cabrera can stay healthy when he begins the ’15 season (he could be ready for Opening Day after right ankle surgery), then he’ll be a very dangerous foe for all AL pitchers in ’15, and I don’t think anyone can disagree with that statement with a straight face.
They Said It:
This quote is from USA Today:
"“He’s (Cabrera) been feeling good, he continues to feel better and better all the time so he feels real good about it. He wants to be in the lineup and play … We don’t want to push him. We want to make sure he takes his time and feels comfortable until healing is all good.” – Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski on Cabrera in an USA Today article this week."