It’s a feat that hasn’t happened in the majors in the last 45 years. The Triple Crown–leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs–is one of the most difficult accomplishments in all of sports. With a hot six weeks of baseball, Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera has a chance to join the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby in accomplishing the rare feat.
The Triple Crown has only happened 15 times in the history of the game. So why is Cabrera’s phenomenal year being overlooked by the national media? I don’t have a specific answer to that question. ESPN’s Keith Law recently said Cabrera wouldn’t even be on his MVP ballot. Really? I can understand that maybe Cabrera doesn’t have the pizazz that commands constant national media attention, but he should be on everyone’s MVP radar. Even though Angels’ rookie Mike Trout is having an equally impressive season, if Cabrera can find a way to win the Triple Crown, the MVP will take care of itself.
So what does Cabrera have to do to get the Triple Crown? Coming into Monday night’s action, he’s the league leader in RBIs with 104, second in batting average at .331 and fourth in the league in homers with 31.
Let’s look at the RBI category first. Basically it’s a race between Cabrera and the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton. Hamilton trails Cabrera by just two RBIs. The Twins Josh Willingham is third with 89. As long as Cabrera maintains his current pace, this category should be the easiest for him to win.
Batting average will be a bit more difficult. Trout leads the AL with .343 average. Cabrera is in second, but is 12 points back. If the rookie cools off down the stretch (which is entirely possible) Cabrera will be the favorite for the batting title. The Yankees’ Derek Jeter is 10 points behind Cabrera and Twins catcher Joe Mauer is 4th batting .317.
The last and most difficult category for Miggy to win will be the home run title. Although he is only four back of White Sox slugger Adam Dunn for the league lead, he is at a distinct disadvantage because of the park he plays in. Hamilton and the Yankees’ Curtis Granderson are also both ahead of Cabrera. Dunn, Hamilton and Granderson play in three of the top four American League ballparks for giving up the long ball.
The good news for Cabrera is that out of the teams remaining 35 games, 22 are against Kansas City, Minnesota and Cleveland. Minnesota is 29th in pitching in all the majors, Cleveland is 28th and Kansas City is 22nd. He’ll have an opportunity to pad his stats not having to face the tougher pitchers in baseball.
Cabrera could be in the midst of one of the most historic seasons in baseball history. Many people in Detroit recognize Cabrera as the best pure hitter in baseball today. If Cabrera is able to capture the Triple Crown, he’ll cement his place as one of the best hitters in MLB history, and finally get the national respect he deserves.