- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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From ESPN Stats & Information, players with a .360 average, 42 home runs and 128 RBIs through 130 team games:
Miguel Cabrera, 2013
Lou Gehrig, 1934
Babe Ruth, 1930
Lou Gehrig, 1927
Babe Ruth, 1921
Well ... that there is some company.
Of course, the list is cheating a little bit, since it cuts off right at Cabrera's markers and doesn't include a player who, say, hit .375 with 41 home runs and 127 RBIs through 130 games. Here are the totals for those players through 130 games:
Cabrera, 2013: .360, 42 HR, 128 RBI, .360/.450/.685
Gehrig, 1934: .362, 42 HR, 152 RBI, .362/.454/.706
Ruth, 1930: .360, 44 HR, 131 RBI, .360/.498/.758
Gehrig, 1927: .386, 44 HR, 159 RBI, .386/.486/.807
Ruth, 1921: .383, 52 HR, 147 RBI, .383/.518/.863
As you can see, Cabrera doesn't quite match those guys overall, but it's still pretty awesome to have a season that fits in with Ruth and Gehrig seasons from the 1920s and 1930s, when scoring was high and all the highest single-season RBI marks were established; and those two weren't exactly facing a constant onslaught of pitchers who throw 95 mph like Cabrera does (except when he faces the Twins).
When we look at some of the advanced metrics, Cabrera is still having an all-time great offensive season. Since 1901, there have been just 49 seasons where a player posted an adjusted OPS+ of 200 (via Baseball-Reference.com). Cabrera is currently at 202 and, as I've written before, the most recent of those 200 OPS+ seasons all come with a cloud hanging over them -- Barry Bonds from 2001 to 2004, Sammy Sosa in 2001 and Mark McGwire in 1998. Before that, Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell did it in 1994, Bonds in 1993 and 1992 and George Brett in 1980. The only others in the expansion era were Willie McCovey in 1969 and Mickey Mantle and Norm Cash in 1961.
McGwire, Bonds in '93, McCovey and Mantle/Cash all had their big seasons in expansion years, by the way, when there is a temporary watering down of pitching. Throw in that Thomas and Bagwell did it in the strike-shortened season and Brett did in a year when he played just 117 games, and that makes Cabrera's season even more impressive, assuming he keeps this going through September.
It's one of the most impressive offensive seasons of the past 50 years and, yes, one of the best we've ever seen, a small notch above what Albert Pujols did at his peak, although a notch below Bonds' freak show.
From ESPN Stats & Information, players with a .360 average, 42 home runs and 128 RBIs through 130 team games:Miguel Cabrera, 2013Lou Gehrig, 1934Babe Ruth, 1930Lou Gehrig, 1927Babe Ruth, 1921Well .