For the first time ever in his 13-year career, on the 4th of July, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera has landed on the DL with a calf strain that he suffered as a base runner taking off from first to second base. The injury is expected to sideline Cabrera for 6 weeks. It’s nothing short of amazing how Cabrera has gone so long without ever incurring an injury that he was unable to play through, but he is now 32 years old and with this calf injury and the ankle injury that he played through for a good portion of the 2014 season, there appear to be some chinks in his armor at a time where we should be expecting him to exit his offensive prime anyway.
With his ankle injury last year, he still was able to hit .313 with 25 HR, 109 RBI, and 101 R, but remarkably, that was his lowest batting average since 2009 and his lowest HR total since 2006. This season he is batting what would be a career best of .350, but with just 15 HR before the injury, he was once again on pace for one of his lowest HR totals and with the injury, it’s all but guaranteed that it will be one of his worst HR outputs of his career.
Cabrera is still obviously a great hitter and he will have several more years left in the league where he will produce much better than the average player. But here is what I said about him in the pre-season rankings:
“You know how we saw the beginning of the decline of Albert Pujols in his age 31 season in 2011 when he “only” hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 HR, 99 RBI, and 105 R? Well, we saw something similar from M-Cab last year in his age 31 season. Perhaps it can be contributed to the bum foot that he was playing on, which has since been surgically repaired. Even so, there is a decent chance that he continues to experience an assortment of injuries as he is now on the wrong side of 30. So I’m pretty sure his best days are behind him, but of course he still is a better hitter than most of the league.”
So let’s go ahead and categorize this into the “assortment of injuries” column.
The Tigers will surely miss his bat, and it will be interesting to see how the offense responds to Cabrera’s absence. With J.D. Martinez so hot right now, it’s possible that he can shoulder the load to carry the team. But at some point, the Tigers offense should experience some rough times without Cabrera.
For fantasy squads, it’s nothing short of heartbreaking to lose a 1st round pick to the DL for a significant amount of time. First it was Giancarlo Stanton a couple weeks ago and now it’s Cabrera. Their production simply can’t be replicated, so you just have to make due with what you can.
Let’s check out Sunday’s action now.