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Entries in Miguel Cabrera (27)

Monday
Aug122013

The Miguel/Mariano Epic At Bat of August 9, 2013

There have been many a hypothetical conversation of who would win in a match-up between the best hitter in baseball versus the best reliever. 

How great would it be?

When hypothesis turned to reality, it was even better than we could have ever imagined.

Let's take a look at Miguel Cabrera facing Mariano Rivera

Friday night, August 9, 2013, at Yankee Stadium

It's the 9th inning, two down and Austin Jackson is on second with the Tigers trailing, 3-1.

Miguel Cabrera steps in to face Mariano Rivera

At the time of the at bat, Miggy was 0-for-5 versus Mo, with one strikeout.

  1. 0-0 - Foul on a 91 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate. This at bat could have been, should have been over here, but Lyle Overbay alligator-armed it as he approached the dugout railing.
  2. 0-1 - Foul on a 92 MPH Four Seamer - Inside - Cabrera grounds it foul.
  3. 0-2 - Ball on a 91 MPH Cutter - High - Mo tries to expand the zone and get Cabrera to chase a pitch around his neck. Miggy doesn't bite.
  4. 1-2 - Foul on a 93 MPH Four Seamer - Inside - This pitch was in on his hands and Cabrera slams the foul off the top of his knee.
  5. 1-2 - Foul on a 93 MPH Four Seamer - Inside - This time Cabrera fouls the pitch off of his foot.
  6. 1-2 - Ball on a 92 MPH Cutter - Outside - After pounding him on the inside, Rivera tries to get Cabrera to chase a cutter on the outside. It's not close; Cabrera shows no interest.
  7. 2-2 - Fly Ball Home Run on a 93 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate  - This is the pitch that people will talk about for years to come. 

If you stop the video, you can watch Cabrera make the adjustment of greatness.

While thousands of times in his MLB career, batters have stepped into Mariano's cutter only to be jammed resulting in a swing and a miss, a foul, or a broken bat that leads to a weak grounder. But Cabrera, on that beaten leg, opened his stance. He took a step toward third base so that he could get the fat part of the bat on the ball and then slam it to dead centerfield and over the fence. Even though the pitch was on the lower inside part of the plate, Cabrera was able to keep his weight back, his hips back, and extend his arms in a magnificent display of hitting.

A "Wow!" Mo-ment

When you watch the replay, watch Mariano's reaction. He says, "Wow!" as he can't even believe it.

Treasure this at bat, I can guarantee you, it will be spoken about for years to come including when each of these players are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

 

If you can't see the video, head here.
Wednesday
Jul172013

Under the hood: the first pitch of an at bat

There are pitchers counts and there are batters counts, but with batters overall hitting .254 at this point of the season, we can see as per usual at .336 that the first of pitch of an at bat is definitely a hitters count.

Batting averages by count

SplitPAABHHRBA
First Pitch 11929 11209 3762 504 .336
1-0 Count 7310 7088 2356 305 .332
2-0 Count 2729 2658 889 147 .334
3-0 Count 2208 168 59 16 .351
0-1 Count 9846 9481 2961 261 .312
1-1 Count 9387 9134 3023 306 .331
2-1 Count 5614 5508 1928 270 .350
3-1 Count 4767 2277 793 160 .348
0-2 Count 9371 9210 1404 96 .152
1-2 Count 15776 15539 2598 218 .167
2-2 Count 14868 14670 2652 270 .181
Full Count 13740 9696 2103 251 .217
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/17/2013. 

First pitch hitting stars 

Nine to Know: First pitch pitching stars 

First pitch hitting stiffs 

First pitch pitching stiffs

First pitches - Team Stats

 

  • The Texas Rangers are hitting .393 on first pitches.
  • The Colorado Rockies are hitting .375 on first pitches.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals are hitting .371 on first pitches.
  • The Cincinnati Reds are hitting .296 on first pitches.
  • The San Diegoe Padres are hitting .301 on first pitches.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks are hitting .310 on first pitches.
  • Batters are hitting .273 against the Oakland A's on first pitches.
  • Batters are hitting .282 against the Kansas City Royals on first pitches.
  • Batters are hitting .291 against the LA Dodgers on first pitches.
  • Batters are hitting .393 against the Seattle Mariners on first pitches.
  • Batters are hitting .369 against the NY Mets on first pitches.
  • Batters are hitting .367 against the Milwaukee Brewers on first pitches.

 

 

Monday
Jul012013

Posey, Molina, Miggy Among MLB's Best Junk Ball Hitters

In general, swinging at pitches thrown out of the strike zone is about as sound a strategy as playing in traffic. Batters are hitting a paltry .177 and slugging .238 this season when they go after stuff thrown off the plate -- not far off the .148 average and .195 slugging percentage that pitchers have managed when swinging themselves. Put another way, taking a cut at junk thrown out of the zone makes you about as effective a hitter as the man throwing the pitch.

While swinging at would-be balls is disastrous for most hitters, some still manage to do damage even when they go after pitches only Vlad Guerrero would think are strikes. Buster Posey and Yadier Molina aren't just the best catchers in baseball -- they're also the game's best bad-ball hitters in 2013. Miguel Cabrera, whose league-leading 203 OPS+ is highest for a Tigers hitter since Ty Cobb, has also been excellent when he goes fishing out of the strike zone. Posey, Molina and Miggy rank in the top five in slugging percentage when swinging at pitches thrown out of the zone.

Highest slugging percentage vs. out-of-zone pitches (through Friday's games)

Posey doesn't chase pitches all that often -- 21.9% of the time, which is well under the 27.3% MLB average. But when he does, he usually expands his zone horizontally and hammers pitches thrown in on the hands or off the outside corner.

Posey's slugging percentage by location against out-of-zone pitches

Molina, meanwhile, chases at a slightly higher than average clip (28.3%) and inflicts pain on pitchers who venture too far inside. Eight of his nine extra-base hits on stuff thrown out of the zone have come against inside pitches.

Molina's slugging percentage by location against out-of-zone pitches

Cabrera goes after more off-the-plate pitches than Posey or Molina (28.8%), but he's similar to San Francisco's All-Star backstop in that he crushes stuff thrown inside or off the outside corner. Miggy has four home runs on pitches thrown out of the strike zone, tying him with Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Davis and Adrian Gonzalez for the major league lead.

Cabrera's slugging percentage by location against out-of-zone pitches