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Miguel Cabrera and Recency Bias

People tend  to be biased towards recent events, for instance since 2010 it`s been well established that Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the world, just to give you some perspective on how that is unrefutable, since the beginning of the decade, he has compiled a 52.9 WAR total, the second in that list is Max Scherzer at 39.7, and that`s with a 20 game edge to Max, his 2.20 ERA paces starters and among those with at least 1000 IP, the second is Sale at 3.02, only Clayton has a WHIP under 1.

 

I could go on and on but you get my point, and yet year after year whenever someone puts on a great stretch everybody jumps on the bandwagon, first it was Harvey in 2013 than Arrieta in 15 then Scherzer and Sale this year and time and time again after a while, Clayton gives us a reminder, hey I’m here, 1 great year from Harper and everyone was ready to put him as better than Trout. Now here`s the player I want to talk about Miguel Cabrera, as late as 2013 most old-timers were still clinging on to the notion that Miggy was the best player in the game, now all of a sudden, one bad year and, Who is Miguel Cabrera? He`s been demoted to the Pujols category.

 

We all know the albatross that his contract is, and first, let`s take a moment to rant about the stupidity involved in his extension at the time of the deal he was pushing 31 and had 2 more years left on his deal, meaning he`d essentially be 33 by the time he hit FA, as in he would have started his new deal turning 34 right at the beginning of that season, who signs a 33-year-old 1B to a 242 Million deal over 8 years, keep in mind that money figure was even bigger relative to the market of 2014, everyone at the time knew the Tigers handcuffed themselves.

 

Now let`s give some hope to Tigers fans all around that think Miggy is done, when comparing a player`s:

xwOBA(Expected weighted on-base average) to his actual wOBA.

You can see a lot of valuable information, it can tell you Eduardo Nunez got really lucky last year given that he outhit his xwOBA by 0.073 points, which means he`s bound for some regression, now looking at the other end of the table the far and away unluckiest hitter in 2017 was one Miguel Cabrera, his xwOBA was 0.382 his wOBA was 0.322 that`s a 0.060 difference, the second  in that category was Mitch Moreland with a 0.036
His career numbers put him at a .400 wOBA, so something around .382 is more in line with what you should expect from him next year, other numbers that don’t mean as much, but back up my theory, are his batted ball stats:

 

 

2017 Soft%: 9.9     Medium%: 42.5     Hard%: 47.5.

Career Soft%: 11.3     Medium%: 49.3    Hard%: 39.4,
This shows he was hitting the ball as hard as he ever had, perhaps even more interesting are these numbers:
2017 LD%: 27.3     GB%: 39.8     FB%: 32.9.

Career LD%: 22.4     GB%: 41.3     FB%: 36.3.
While it is true that he had a downtick in FB% in the year of the Flyball, all of that and then some were turned into Line Drives, hence his career high LD%, so to all of you who have ruled out Miggy, I say not yet, he still has a lot left in that tank, and while it`s obvious he`ll never live up to that  contract you might still get some value in these next few years.

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