Friday, March 8, 2013
Top stats to know: Detroit Tigers
By Justin Havens, ESPN Stats & Information
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Miguel Cabrera became the 1st Triple Crown winner in baseball since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
The Detroit Tigers started slow in 2012, posting a 26-32 record before finishing the year with 88 wins and a playoff berth. Their postseason run came to a sudden halt, however, at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. But the most memorable aspect of Detroit's season was the performance of Miguel Cabrera, who claimed the Triple Crown and the AL MVP.
Cabrera finished with 44 HR, 139 RBI and a .330 BA. Over the past 70 years, only two players had reached all three of those in a season: Manny Ramirez in 1999 and Todd Helton in 2001. Before that, other players to compile those numbers: Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Hack Wilson.
Born in Venezuela, Cabrera was the 1st Hispanic player ever to win the Triple Crown and also the 1st Triple Crown winner ever to be born outside of the U.S.
But Detroit will be relying on more than just his stellar play this season. A look at some others who should make an impact:
Outfielder Austin Jackson took a big step forward last season, posting an .856 OPS after recording a combined .718 OPS in 2010 and 2011. He's also striking out less frequently, with a strikeout rate of 21.7 percent last season compared to 26.1 in 2010 and 2011 combined.
He's also a considerable asset on defense. Among outfielders since 2010, Jackson's +47 in regards to defensive runs saved is behind only Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward in the majors.
Jackson had an all-around strong season, with a Wins Above Replacement of 5.2. As you can see by the table to the right, that was among the best at his position last year. At just 26 years old, he should be a major contributor for years to come.
DH Victor Martinez missed the entire 2012 season recovering from a knee injury, and his return this year could come as a huge boost. Martinez had six seasons with a .300 BA and .800 OPS from 2005-11, tied for the most in the majors during that span.
His 720 RBI between 2004 and 2011 also ranked 7th in the American League in that span.