Cooperstown bound first baseman Miguel Cabrera is now 37 and is not getting any younger. When it comes time for him to say goodbye to the game of baseball, I hope he gets a red carpet treatment that puts Derek Jeter’s farewell tour to shame. A career .313 hitter, Cabrera is also approaching his 3,000th hit and 500th home run. He is third in WAR among active hitters, trailing only Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. At 6’4″, 249 lbs, Cabrera is an excessively large human being. But his size is not what makes him a special player. What does is his ability to fit a small man’s swing into a large man’s body.
As players age, Father Time tends to catch up with them. Most veterans lose a lot of bat speed and ability to generate power in their lower half as they get older. Cabrera is no different. He has aged gracefully and is certainly not the superstar he quite was, but his swing is still absolutely clinical. Any young player who wants to model their swing after an MLB player needs to look no further than Cabrera.
This is his second home run from last night. This was a hanging slider from sidewinder Sergio Romo, Cabrera sat on it and crushed it into the second deck. Notice how Cabrera creates separation between his hands and his front foot in his load. This puts him in a strong power position and allows him to pause for a split second to pick up the spin of the ball. Once Cabrera recognizes the hanging slider, he throws his bat head directly to the ball and extends through impact to drive it into left field. Cabrera’s bat path is a textbook example of how to make solid and consistent contact with a baseball. If you were to draw a straight line from Cabrera’s back elbow to his point of contact with the ball, his bat would travel directly along that line. He wastes no movement that de-routes the plane of his swing and makes no jerky motion that forces him to hit up or down on the ball. Not bad for a 37-year-old huh?
With that out of the way, let’s see how every other hitter did Wednesday:
Danny Jansen (C, Toronto Blue Jays)—4-4, 2 HR, 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI. Have a day, Danny Jansen! Toronto’s catcher was a key member of the demolition crew that dismantled the Yankees 14-1. After picking up just four total bases over his previous eight games, Jansen collected 11 last night. The Jays hope for Jansen to continue mashing tonight, where a win clinches a playoff berth.
Salvador Pérez (C, Kansas City Royals)—3-5 2 HR, 2B, 2 R, 5 RBI. Who says catchers can’t hit? Pérez turned in a vintage performance last night, collecting five RBI in the first three innings. Pérez went deep in both the first and the third, then followed that up with a double in the fifth. Pérez has been red hot lately, reaching base safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
Franchy Cordero (OF, Kansas City Royals)—3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI. Pérez wasn’t the only Royal who had an explosive bat last night. Cordero told Pérez “whatever you can do I can do better” as he matched his teammate’s stat line with a multi-homer five-RBI night of his own. This was Cordero’s first game returning from the Injured List, and he will look to finish the season strong for Kansas City.
Randy Arozarena (OF, Tampa Bay Rays)—3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. The young outfielder did his part in securing Tampa Bay its first division title in a decade. Arozarena belted two home runs and added a single that he would eventually score on. Coming into the COVID-shortened season, there were questions about whether Arozarena would be good enough to make the team. He has ended up playing 20 games and showcasing speed and power against left-handed pitching and hopes to carve out a larger role next season.
Jake Cave (OF, Minnesota Twins)—2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. With two dongs of his own, Cave ended up becoming the sixth player to hit multiple home runs last night. 2020 has been a year many of us want to forget, but I’m sure Cave wants to move onto 2021 more than most. The Twins outfielder has struggled mightily this year, and only had two home runs to his name prior to last night.
Austin Hays (OF, Baltimore Orioles)—3-4, HR, R, RBI. The young outfielder was the lone bright spot for Baltimore last night. The O’s were decimated by a score of 9-1 by the cellar-dwelling Red Sox, with the lone run coming off the bat of Hays in the seventh inning.
Brandon Lowe (2B, Tampa Bay Rays)—2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Lowe seemingly gets better every year, and his efforts were rewarded with a nice offensive performance in last night’s playoff-clinching win over the Mets. The biggest knock on Lowe coming into the season was his inability to hit left-handed pitching, but he has put those worries to bed. Lowe is actually hitting lefties better than he is righties this season, with a batting average of .298 and .262 against each, respectively.
Photo By Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire