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May 26, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Miggy's Decline?


Matt Collins

Through 33 games, the Detroit Tigers stalwart is having his worst season since he broke in as a 20-year-old in 2003. He just turned 34, but have physical issues caught up the likely Hall of Fame slugger?

For more than a decade, Miguel Cabrera has been one of the truly elite hitters in all of baseball. Despite consistently great performances, fantasy owners in recent seasons have been wary of using first-round picks (or equivalent money in auctions) on the future Hall of Famer, with concern for his imminent decline engrained in discussions of his value. Repeatedly, he’s proven that kind of talk to be silly, and that he’s still an elite hitter. Still, time eventually catches up with all of us, and even Cabrera isn’t immune to the aging curve.

With that in mind, it’s worth considering how Cabrera has struggled to start the season. At least, he’s struggled relative to the standards he’s set for himself. Through his first 139 plate appearances, he is hitting .264/.360/.430 for a TAv of .267. Prior to this season, his lowest TAv not including his rookie year was .295, and that was way back in 2008. He’s ranked as the 32nd first baseman on the Player Rater, right between Mike Napoli and Wilmer Flores. To put it simply, this is not the kind of performance at the plate that we’ve come to expect from Cabrera. Is this the start of that decline we’ve long been worried about—or is it just a blip on the radar?

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August 14, 2012 9:50 am

Overthinking It: Anthony Gose is Not Ready Right Now


Ben Lindbergh

Blue Jays blue-chip prospect Anthony Gose has been bad in the big leagues, but has he been so bad that we should start to doubt his skills?

Last month, I wrote an article about 2012 Red Sox draftee Shaq Green-Thompson, who had begun his professional career by going 0-for-16 with 16 strikeouts. I wasn’t sure whether to write it. Baseball players go through slumps, and baseball writers write about them. That’s the way this works. But Thompson was just a couple months out of college, and his struggles were so acute that to draw any extra attention to them seemed cruel. The Red Sox source I quoted was concerned that I was out to “crush the kid.” I wasn’t, but I was worried about what would happen when other sites picked up the story. Ultimately, I decided to write about Thompson, but I tried to do it in a way that dwelt on his strengths, explained his struggles, and focused on what his streak said about baseball. It was still the first and only time I’ve felt bad about writing about a baseball player.

Eleven days later, Deadspin picked up on the story (via some other site, which made me feel a bit better). By then, Thompson’s stat line looked even worse. A flurry of Thompson tweets and articles followed. Not all of them were nice. Thompson went on to finish the short season 0-for-39 with 37 strikeouts. He’ll be better at football, which he’ll play this fall. Maybe he’ll return to baseball next summer. Or maybe he’ll decide not to come back and risk causing any more crises of conscience.

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May 3, 2007 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: Hummingbirds and Sloths


Dan Fox

Do pitchers who work quickly have an advantage? Dan tracks the evolution of game time through two kinds of mound creatures.

"Baseball's poetic and lyrical celebrants are fond of pointing out that baseball is the only major team sport without a clock. What these people don't understand is that, until about 1945, baseball did a have clock. It was called the sun."
--Bill James in The New Historical Baseball Abstract

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The Red Sox infield isn't hitting and the Reds' staff isn't pitching. Trevor Hoffman saves this from being the most depressing PTP ever.

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