Pretty soon, you'll forget that Miguel Cabrera had any early-season struggles.
Though the start to Cabrera’s 2014 season left a lot to be desired, he’s rounding into MVP form over the last three weeks, and is now hitting .298 with an .846 OPS this season, with the second-most RBIs in the American League (33). That’s in large part because he’s hit .372 since April 22.
Let’s dig deeper to found out what’s been the key to his turnaround.
Covering the outer half
The most noteworthy change for Cabrera has been in his ability to get to the pitch on the outer half of the plate -– as he did on the home run against Hunter.
Cabrera vs Pitches on Outer Half
OPS Ranks Since 2009
Through April 21, Cabrera was hitting .167 with a .222 slugging percentage against pitches on the outer half. Since then, he’s hitting .371 with a .686 slugging percentage against those pitches.
You can see the difference in the hot zone images below.
This is more like what we're used to from Cabrera, who has ranked in the top 5 in OPS against pitches on the outer half in each season since 2009.
Cabrera has 11 go-ahead home runs in the ninth inning or later since the start of the 2008 season.
No one else in the majors has more than eight such home runs in that same span.