Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cabrera and Fielder Can be Best Tigers Duo Ever

Newly acquired first baseman Prince Fielder joins soon to be third baseman Miguel Cabrera to form what is probably the best offensive one-two punch in the majors.  It won't be the first dynamic duo in Tigers history though.  Fearsome twosomes such as Deadball stars Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford and Depression era greats Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg quickly come to mind.  So, I am going to rank the best Tigers hitting pairs in franchise history.

Hitting performance can be measured by Batting Runs (BR) which was discussed in an earlier post.  In Summary, Batting Runs is the estimated number of runs a player would contribute to an average team beyond what an average player would have contributed in his place.  For example, Cabrera had 71 Batting Runs in 2011.  So, he contributed 71 runs above what an average player would have been expected to contribute in the same number of outs.  The Batting Runs statistic is described in more detail towards the bottom of the linked article.

The table below lists all seasons where the Tigers had a pair of players combining for 80 or more Batting Runs.  To be certain that both players had great seasons, each was required to have 35+ Batting Runs.

Table: Top Tigers Batting Duos by Batting Runs

Year
Player 1
BR
Player 2
BR
Total
1961
Norm Cash
85
Rocky Colavito
51
136
1911
Ty Cobb
76
Sam Crawford
50
126
1917
Ty Cobb
75
Bobby Veach
41
116
1921
Ty Cobb
52
Harry Heilmann
60
112
1937
Charlie Gehringer
44
Hank Greenberg
67
111
1940
Hank Greenberg
64
Rudy York
42
106
1925
Ty Cobb
48
Harry Heilmann
55
103
1922
Ty Cobb
56
Harry Heilmann
46
102
1934
Charlie Gehringer
50
Hank Greenberg
49
99
1935
Charlie Gehringer
36
Hank Greenberg
62
98
1909
Ty Cobb
62
Sam Crawford
35
97
1913
Ty Cobb
52
Sam Crawford
36
88
1946
Roy Cullenbine
41
Hank Greenberg
43
84
1919
Ty Cobb
43
Bobby Veach
40
83
1914
Ty Cobb
42
Sam Crawford
39
81
1926
Harry Heilmann
42
Heinie Manush
38
80
Data Source: Baseball-Reference.com

The best combined Batting Runs total by two players in Tigers history was 136 by first baseman Norm Cash (85 BR) and outfielder Rocky Colavito (51) in 1961. The pairs appearing most frequently on the list were Cobb and Crawford (four times from 1909-1917), Cobb and under-rated slugger Harry Heilmann (three times from 1921-1925) and Gehringer and Greenberg (three times from 1934-1937).

Where might Cabrera and Fielder fit on this list in the future? They have already had three seasons where their combined totals would have made the table: 127 in 2011, 101 in 2009 and 96 in 2007.  In fact their 2011total would have been the second highest total ever for the Tigers.

Indeed, Detroi's new power duo has a good chance to be one of the best or perhaps the best hitting pair in franchise history.  

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