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.
- Shin-Soo Choo became the fourth player ever to rack up 20 hit-by-pitches in the first half of a season. Ron Hunt's record of 50 HBP in a single season seems out of reach, but he has a great shot at cracking the top-ten leaderboard. ZiPS projects him to finish out the season with 28 HBPs, which would tie him for eighth all time.
- Chris Davis became the seventh player ever to post an ISO north of .400 in the first half of a season. His company? Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire, Frank Thomas, Reggie Jackson, and Lou Gehrig. Sheesh.
- Matt Holliday grounded into 22 double plays in the first half, which ties him for the third-most GIDPs by any player in the first half of a season (and the most by any player not named Jim Rice). Given his lack of speed, his relatively high groundball rate (48.7%, compared to a league average of 44.6%), and the opportunities with strong-OBP guys like Matt Carpenter hitting in front of him, he has a decent shot at Jim Rice's record of 36 GIDP in a single season. ZiPS currently projects Holliday for 32 GIDP, which would tie him for third-most all time.
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All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.
Julian Levine is a writer for Beyond the Box Score.
You can follow him on Twitter @GiantsNirvana.