Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander are slowly but steadily moving up the statistical lists for all-time Detroit Tiger career production—despite off years (by their lofty standards) for each of them in 2014.
Cabrera last season moved past Rudy York, then Lou Whitaker, and then Cecil Fielder to become the fifth-greatest home run hitter in Detroit club history. With 252, Miggy trails Willie Horton by just ten dingers; next in sight after he passes Willie this year is Hank Greenberg with 306. He’s still got a long way to go to catch Norm Cash (373) and Al Kaline (399), but with nine years remaining on his contract, he’s almost a lock to do so, barring serious injury. If he can continue his established pace, look for him to pass Greenberg in 2016, Cash in 2018, and Kaline in 2019 to become Detroit’s all-time home run king.
Despite his prodigious run production, Miggy hasn’t yet cracked the top ten list for career RBI by a Tiger. His 846 total leaves him likely to pass Alan Trammell’s tenth-place 1,003 RBI early in 2016. (Ty Cobb is first with 1,805; Miggy’s got a long, long way to go to catch him.)
Miggy did move into tenth place in doubles by a Tiger in 2014, with 281 total (Cobb is first with 665, probably a safe record). Miggy hasn’t yet cracked the top ten in total bases, but with 2,391 total he will probably do so in 2015, passing Bobby Veach, who is tenth with 2,653.
Tellingly, Cabrera is already second in career intentional walks (120) to Kaline’s 131 (a stat that has not been kept throughout baseball history and a tactic that wasn’t used much before the 1980s). And he is fourth in homers per at-bat, behind Greenberg, Fielder, and the unlikely first-place Tiger…Marcus Thames!
Miggy is second only to Greenberg in Tiger career slugging percentage: .578 compared to Hank’s .616. Cabrera is also second in career OPS (.980 compared to Greenberg’s remarkable 1.028). He’s ninth in on-base percentage at .402.
In terms of the non-traditional stats, Miggy in 2014 moved into tenth place in career offensive WAR for Tigers players, with a total of 45.4, according to Baseball Reference calculations.
Justin Verlander isn’t far behind him, with a career WAR of 41.7, good for fifth among Detroit pitchers all-time. In a more traditional measure, in 2014 he moved past Bill Donovan into eighth place on the Tiger career chart with 152 wins. In sight is Dizzy Trout with 161, but after that it’s a tougher climb to get to Tommy Bridges in sixth (194) and Jack Morris in fifth (198). Hooks Dauss is first with 223, a total certainly within reach with six more years left on JV’s contract.
In 2014, Verlander actually fell a few notches into tenth place in career WHIP as a Tiger (1.212). Max Scherzer is seventh with 1.197 on the same list. They are also one-two in career strikeout/walk ratios and, not surprisingly, one-two in terms of strikeouts per nine innings, at 9.6 and 8.3 (John Hiller is third with 7.5).
In the cumulative count of strikeouts, Verlander in 2014 moved past Hal Newhouser into third place all-time as a Tiger, with 1,830. He can catch Morris (1,980) this season, but JV has a long climb to reach leader Mickey Lolich (2,679). If his arm holds up, it’s doable, but only if he returns to form as a big strikeout pitcher, which now is doubtful.
Verlander is eighth in career stars as a Tiger, with 298. And he is number one all-time in Detroit in the fancy new stats of baseout runs saved (RE24), win probability added, situational wins saved, and baseout wins saved. If you can explain what those are, more power to you. Maybe ask Verlander?
No matter how you judge their 2014 season, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander have already written their names large in the club record books. In 2015 and beyond, they’ll be scaling new heights in Detroit as the two faces of the franchise.