May 19, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) heads to the dugout after hitting a home run in the fifth inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Image Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sport

Dugout Dirt: Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera

Two articles got my attention this week. One was the article by Joe Posnanski about Albert Pujols. The other was Bob Nightengale‘s column relating to Miguel Cabrera.

May 21, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (5) before the game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium. Image Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

First, let’s look at Pujols. Since leaving St. Louis, he hasn’t been the same. In 11 seasons as a Cardinal, Pujols hit .328/.420/.617 with 445 home runs. In one season and almost two months, the veteran is hitting .277/.338/.494 with a total of 37 home runs. The 30 home runs that Pujols hit during his first season in the American League set a new career low for the veteran ballplayer. His previous low was 32 home runs during the 2007 season.

While Pujols had a slow start in 2011–his last as a Cardinal–he finished the year with a then-low .299 batting average and 99 RBIs. Until that point, there was never a season in which Pujols did not reach 100 RBIs or a batting average of .300. In his first season as an Angel, he set a new career low with a .285 batting average. Unfortunately, this season looks to be worse. Much worse. He’s hitting .247 in 44 games. His power just is not there any more.

This brings us to Miguel Cabrera. Say what you will about Mike Trout and Bryce Harper but there is no doubt in my mind that Miguel Cabrera is the best player in baseball right now. He’s put together a career that, until recently, has been under the radar.

He’s 30 years old and this is his 11th season in the big leagues. A seven time All-Star, the veteran took home the 2011 and 2012 batting titles. He won the 2012 AL Triple Crown–the first player in any league to do so since 1967. His .384 batting average in 2013 has him on pace to take home a third consecutive title. Amongst active players, Cabrera is in fourth with a .320 average (Pujols is second with .323). He is on pace to have his 2,000th career hit towards the tail end of the 2013 season or the very beginning of 2014.

Both should join the 3000 hit and 500 home run clubs. Both will ultimately retire with their batting average north of .300 but the question remains as to how many more seasons Pujols will play. The numbers show that he is past his prime. A Cabrera at bat is more exciting than Pujols at the moment.

Tags: Detroit Tigers Los Angeles Angels St. Louis Cardinals

comments powered by Disqus