Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cabrera versus all-time Great Tigers

I've spoken my piece on Cabrera's fielding deficiencies but there is little question about his abilities as a hitter. Where does he stand versus the all-time best Tiger hitters? Table 1 presents the Tigers all-time leaders in OPS+ for players with at least 2,000 plate appearances. OPS+ is OPS (on base plus slugging) adjusted for league average and for ballpark. For example, Ty Cobb has an OPS+ of 171. This means his OPS was 71% better than league average. Adjustments need to made for league average because an OPS of .850 in 2007 , for example, is a lot different from an OPS of .850 in 1968 when pitchers dominated. Although these are all Tigers, adjustments need to made for ballpark because Bennett Park, Navin Field, Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park all have very different configurations and effects on the game.

Table 2 shows the all-time Tigers leaders in OWP (Offensive Winning Percentage). OWP is a Bill James statistic that projects what a team's winning percentage would be if each player on the team provided identical offense to that player and the team had average pitching and fielding. It is tracked in Lee Sinnis' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia. It is based on the Runs Created statistic and thus includes stolen bases as well as hitting. In comparison to OPS, it also gives more weight to walks.

In his five years with the Marlins, Cabrera has an OPS+ of 143 which places him behind just four Tiger greats: Ty Cobb (171), Hank Greenberg (161), Harry Heilmann (148), and Sam Crawford (144). Cabrera's .671 OWP would be sixth among Tigers all-time behind: Cobb(.789), Greenberg (.729), Heilmann (.708), Crawford (.689), and Norm Cash (.673).

So, Cabrera comes to the Tigers as their best hitter since Norm Cash who played for the Tigers between 1960-1974 and arguably the best since hank Greenberg (1930-1946). Whatever way you look at it, he should be the best Tigers hitter in a long time. One of the good things about Cabrera is that he is just 24 years old and is likely to get even better. If they can get him signed long term and he keeps producing as expected, he should go down as one of the greatest Tiger hitters ever.


Table 1: Tigers lifetime OPS+ Leaders

Player

Years with Tigers

OPS+

Ty Cobb

1905-1927

171

Hank Greenberg

1930-1946

161

Harry Heilmann

1914-1929

148

Sam Crawford

1903-1917

144

Miguel Cabrera

*********

143

Norm Cash

1960-1974

139

Mickey Tettleton

1991-1994

134

Al Kaline

1953-1974

134

Dick Wakefield

1941-1949

131

Carlos Guillen

2004-2007

130

Rocky Colavito

1960-1963

130

Bobby Veach

1912-1923

130

Ray Boone

1953-1958

130


Table 2: Tigers lifetime OWP leaders

Player

Years with Tigers

OWP

Ty Cobb

1905-1927

.789

Hank Greenberg

1930-1946

.729

Harry Heilmann

1914-1929

.708

Sam Crawford

1903-1917

.689

Norm Cash

1960-1974

.673

Miguel Cabrera

*********

.671

Dick Wakefield

1941-1949

.655

Al Kaline

1953-1974

.651

Mickey Tettleton

1991-1994

.646

Carlos Guillen

2004-2007

.635

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Stat Counter

Site Meter