Friday, April 10, 2009

Cabrera Doing Nothing To Quiet MVP Talk (Mine)

A few weeks ago, I pumped for Miguel Cabrera as league MVP. My reasoning was that, with one year in the American League under his belt -- a year in which Cabrera himself admitted to being uncomfortable in the beginning -- Miggy would really inflict some damage. After all, Cabrera smacked 37 homers and added 127 RBI in all his discomfort.

What I didn't know was that Cabrera would clinch the award before the season's first weekend was barely underway.

Cabrera has begun the 2009 season as if the opposing pitchers tinkled in his corn flakes.

The Texas Rangers were Miggy's latest victims, today on Opening Day.

Cabrera drove in six more runs, including home run No. 3, a grand slam, and a blistering two-run double to deep left.

After five games, Cabrera is 11-for-18 (.611 BA) with 3 HR, 10 RBI.

I guess he's comfortable now.

The folks at Fox Sports Detroit put up a graphic on the screen today. It displayed the five leaders in slugging percentage since last July in the majors. Cabrera was third, at .635.

He's slugging at almost double that percentage right now.

One week doesn't an MVP make -- normally. But after watching Miggy Cabrera terrorize pitchers Monday thru Friday this week, I'm ready to hand him the award right now.

Ah, but don't forget Chris Shelton, you might say!

Remember Shelton, Big Red? Remember his torrid opening week in 2006? Shelton, after the season's first nine games, had seven homers and was batting .512.

Worst thing that ever happened to that kid.

Shelton thought he was a power hitter after that opening onslaught, and it screwed up his stroke for the rest of the season. Maybe the rest of his career.

No such worries with Cabrera, though.

He's only 25 (he'll turn 26 in eight days), but this is already his sixth full season. Shelton was still a relatively new big leaguer when he had his jackrabbit start in 2006.

It's frightening, really, to think of the kind of numbers Cabrera might put up this year, and for his career.

Going into this season, Miggy had 138 home runs. You figure he has 10-12 good years left, if he stays healthy. At 30-35 homers a year, he's got a great chance at 500, or more. Maybe wayyy more.

It's fun to see a player of Cabrera's magnitude be this locked in this early. Because unlike with someone like Shelton (no disrespect, Big Red), you know that this isn't some fluke. Cabrera is off to a terrific start because he's a terrific player.

The rest of the American League, beware.

Memo to the league office: I wouldn't wait too long to order the engraving.


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