Miguel Cabrera made his sixth All Star team in 2011. Once again, he put up gaudy numbers bringing comparisons to St. Louis Cardinals great Albert Pujols. In 2011, he enjoyed one of his best seasons in the majors by winning the batting title and increasing his walk totals. Despite his monster season, he finished only fifth in the MVP balloting. However, if he keeps posting seasons like 2011, he will win a MVP soon enough.
Cabrera turned 28 in 2011, his ninth major league season. His on-field performance warranted his appearance in the All Star Game. Upon returning, Cabrera scored his 1500th base hit finishing the season with 1597. At his current pace, he should reach 3000 around age 36. For the year, the first baseman slapped 197 hits.
Throughout 2011, Cabrera put those 197 hits to good use. He knocked in the winning run with a walk off hit on April 12. Four days later, the Tiger hit a game-tying homer in the ninth. On June 4, he broke a 2-2 tie against the White Sox with a home run. On September 3, Cabrera capped off a comeback from 8-1 down with a solo shot to defeat the White Sox. On the season’s final day, the All Star went 2-for-4 to win his first batting title with a .344 average. Interestingly, Cabrera did not lead the league at any time in the first 161 games.
Despite the heroics, and the league’s best hitter with runners on base, Victor Martinez, hitting behind him, Cabrera walked 108 times. It marked the first time he received over 100 free passes. As a result, he posted a career best .448 OBP, which led the AL. The first baseman also scored 111 runs, hit 30 homers, drove in 105 runs, and led the league in doubles with 48. He finished with a .586 slugging percentage, which represents the second best of his career. Cabrera’s 1.033 OPS is just .009 less than his career high set in 2010. On top of this, he led the league in games played with 161.
Cabrera’s on field performance helped Detroit win the AL Central. In the postseason, he hit four home runs and drove in 10 against New York and Texas. In the ALCS, he batted .400 with 3 homers, 7 RBI, and a remarkable 1.606 OPS. He even stole a base against the Rangers. Despite Cabrera’s efforts, the Tigers fell to the Rangers in six games.
Miguel Cabrera enjoyed one of his finest seasons as a Tiger. Although 2010 might be slightly better, 2011 was outright remarkable. Detroit has not experienced a hitter like Cabrera since Hank Greenberg left Detroit for Pittsburgh. If Cabrera continues to perform at his current level, he stands an excellent chance of surpassing Greenberg as Detroit’s greatest first baseman.