The Historic First Halves of 2013

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

A look at how Miguel Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Davis, and Matt Holliday made history with their first half performances.

Last year, Miguel Cabrera hit .330/.393/.606 (166 wRC+, 164 OPS+) en route to his first MVP award. While there was considerable debate about whether he actually deserved the honor -- and we won't delve into that at all today -- his performance was impressive nonetheless. Fangraphs estimated his value at 6.8 Wins Above Replacement (a career high), while Baseball-Reference had him at 7.3 wins.

Cabrera is at it again, and in fact, he seems to have even turned it up a notch. Last year's first half saw Miguel Cabrera hit .324/.382/.557 across 380 plate appearances, good for a 151 wRC+ and +24.4 weighted runs above average. This season, he's hit .365/.458/.674 in 428 plate appearances, good for a 204 wRC+ and a whopping +54.1 weighed runs above average. Cabrera's statistical accomplishments are historically significant in several ways:

  • With +53.6 adjusted batting runs (via Baseball-Reference), Cabrera's 2013 season is already among the top 25 offensive seasons by third basemen throughout history. By some measures (like adjusted batting runs), Cabrera is on his way to having the greatest offensive season ever by a third baseman.
  • Cabrera's 110.6 runs created are the eighth most by any hitter ever in the first half of a season.
  • Despite terrible glovework, Cabrera leads his league in WAR by both Fangraphs' and Baseball-Reference's measures. It appears as though he's on his way to becoming the worst defender to lead his league in WAR. Derek Jeter led the league in rWAR in 1999 with -11 fielding runs; and Rogers Hornsby did it a couple times with bad fielding numbers (-11 and -13 fielding runs in 1928 and 1922, respectively). Cabrera has already cost his team 10 runs with the glove according to Baseball-Reference.
Who else made first-half history, or is on their way toward making history?

. . .

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Julian Levine is a writer for Beyond the Box Score.

You can follow him on Twitter @GiantsNirvana.

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