By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
This week’s Thursday topic is all about Miggy. His slow start is concerning readers, especially Ray W., who asked us to address the issue.
In typical fashion, Holly and Kurt attack these questions independently without the knowledge of the other’s response, making for interesting contrasts … most of the time. Will their answers differ?
Thanks to Ray for the following question.
Do you have concerns about the offensive performance thus far of Miguel Cabrera?
I have that whiplash feeling again. Miggy’s not hitting as well as expected………..but they’ve only played 12 games……yet are we holding him to higher standards because of his history and great talent?
Bottom line: there are reasons to be concerned….and not. But what I can say is I don’t think his slow start has anything to do with injury or age because lots of top players aren’t hitting well right now. Mike Trout is hitting .220 with 16 strikeouts in 50 at-bats.
Cabrera’s been so good for so long that we sometimes confer super-human traits on him – and maybe, just maybe, because he is finally healthy after 3 years, we are hoping that he will make up for lost time.
I tried to go back into Miggy’s history of April offensive stats but realized that you can’t properly compare seasons of injury and recovery vs. healthy. But what I did see is that his power tends to trend on the lesser side in April with 1-2 HRs as the norm but his other stats were much better, even when playing injured.
But two things have grabbed my attention. The first is Miggy’s uncharacteristic bad timing at the plate. Swinging at bad pitches and the timing is really off. I don’t believe that such a talented player could lose so much so quickly – but could it simply be related to his mechanics being off after 3 years of compensating for core and ankle injuries?
The second is more troubling, however fixable. Miggy is not focused and not as motivated as he should be – and he’s not the only player.
If you’re a regular reader (or at least have read our bios), interpreting and teaching body language is part of my consulting career. And I don’t like what I see. Cabrera appears to be somewhere else – his gaze is not focused, he seems distracted, he appears to be somewhere else. His movements do not show confidence, his head is often down and there is a palpable lack of energy in all his movements.
Miggy is a classic example of a guy who is very talented, but easily distracted and in need of something or someone to keep him motivated towards a specific goal. Considering that he is not the only one suffering from this malady, there’s hope if the team recognizes what needs to be done.
Many readers in response to the question on Tuesday about players who have disappointed so far this season, cited Miggy as one of the biggest disappointments. But I never even considered him when deciding on the answer.
I was bothered over Tuesday night’s 4-strike out performance and especially the at-bat in the 8th with the bases loaded when he was dispatched by Kelvin Herrera in just 3 pitches. It was very un-Miggy like. You expected at least a good battle in that situation. A battle Miggy would normally win.
But I won’t draw any drastic conclusions after 11 games. Miggy has started slowly before and is too skilled for it to continue much longer. The one thing I do wonder about is his weight. He looks heavier to me this season and if he is, it may be affecting his bat quickness.
But I think I may be grasping at straws and looking for a reason that’s not there. When players slump, they normally aren’t seeing the ball real well. When they are hot, it looks like a beach ball.
I believe this is an opening month slump, nothing more. He is definitely fighting his swing and looks a bit lost; common traits for a slump. It’s kind of like the first night of golf when you haven’t picked up a club since October. Things seem foreign.
But, this is still Miguel Cabrera. He appears healthy and it’s the third week of April. So, I think it’s just a matter of time before the dangerous hitter we know and love resurfaces.