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Frank Thomas v. Miguel Cabrera: Who ya got?

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  • Frank Thomas v. Miguel Cabrera: Who ya got?

    These two guys compare pretty favorably. Both are right handed hitting firstbasemen with 2 MVP awards each. Similar batting averages and OBPs. It will be interesting to see how Cabrera’s last 5 years pan out. Thomas hit 100 additional HRs during that same time.
    ?

  • #2
    Are we talking just hitting?
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

    Comment


    • #3
      Setting aside Gehrig, Pujols and Foxx, these first basemen had the most WAR in their first 16 seasons:
      Code:
      Player          WAR/  WAA/ OPS+ Rfield    PA From   To   Age
      Roger Connor    81.6  53.8  157   79.0  8213 1880 1895 22-37 H
      Jeff Bagwell    79.9  52.1  149   53.6  9431 1991 2005 23-37 H
      Dan Brouthers   77.5  54.1  173   -7.0  7286 1879 1894 21-36 H
      Johnny Mize     70.9  44.7  158   18.0  7370 1936 1953 23-40 H
      Miguel Cabrera  69.4  37.1  151  -92.0  9687 2003 2018 20-35
      Frank Thomas    68.3  39.0  161  -64.8  8603 1990 2005 22-37 H
      Eddie Murray    66.4  33.2  136   61.0 10389 1977 1992 21-36 H
      Rafael Palmeiro 62.8  29.7  135   55.5  9656 1986 2001 21-36
      Willie McCovey  62.6  35.5  159  -52.3  7502 1959 1974 21-36 H
      Mark McGwire    62.2  37.1  163  -28.8  7660 1986 2001 22-37
      Todd Helton     61.6  34.6  135   72.4  9011 1997 2012 23-38
      Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

      Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thomas was clearly the better hitter, I don't think that is very debatable. For his first eight seasons combined he had a 182 OPS+. Cabrera has had an OPS+ of 180 or higher in just one of his 16 seasons. His best eight year stretch is 166.

        With a similar number of games played Thomas has 691 batting runs to Cabrera's 579, a large gap.

        On the basepaths both were slow and ineffective. We'll call it a wash.

        Cabrera's advantage is that he played third base for a sizeable chunk of his career and that he's certainly less bad defensively than Thomas, who actually has more games at DH than at first base, and for good reason.

        Overall, they are very close but I would take Thomas.
        My top 10 players:

        1. Babe Ruth
        2. Barry Bonds
        3. Ty Cobb
        4. Ted Williams
        5. Willie Mays
        6. Alex Rodriguez
        7. Hank Aaron
        8. Honus Wagner
        9. Lou Gehrig
        10. Mickey Mantle

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by GiambiJuice View Post
          Thomas was clearly the better hitter, I don't think that is very debatable. For his first eight seasons combined he had a 182 OPS+. Cabrera has had an OPS+ of 180 or higher in just one of his 16 seasons. His best eight year stretch is 166.

          With a similar number of games played Thomas has 691 batting runs to Cabrera's 579, a large gap.

          On the basepaths both were slow and ineffective. We'll call it a wash.

          Cabrera's advantage is that he played third base for a sizeable chunk of his career and that he's certainly less bad defensively than Thomas, who actually has more games at DH than at first base, and for good reason.

          Overall, they are very close but I would take Thomas.
          It seems like they are pretty close with the bat. In about the same number of games, Miggy stands at a 151 OPS+ compared to 156 for Frank. Thomas' OPS+ is more walk heavy, while Miggy had more doubles power and a higher BA. I call is basically a wash. But then again I dock the walk heavy guys a bit, while some don't.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by GiambiJuice View Post
            Thomas was clearly the better hitter, I don't think that is very debatable. For his first eight seasons combined he had a 182 OPS+. Cabrera has had an OPS+ of 180 or higher in just one of his 16 seasons. His best eight year stretch is 166.

            With a similar number of games played Thomas has 691 batting runs to Cabrera's 579, a large gap.

            On the basepaths both were slow and ineffective. We'll call it a wash.

            Cabrera's advantage is that he played third base for a sizeable chunk of his career and that he's certainly less bad defensively than Thomas, who actually has more games at DH than at first base, and for good reason.

            Overall, they are very close but I would take Thomas.
            Also Thomas was called the "Right Handed Ted Williams" all the time. Cabrera never received such accolades though Cabrera was obviously highly regarded in his prime. In 1994 Thomas was hitting .383/.515/.795 at the break. Insane!
            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 03-15-2019, 10:32 AM.
            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post

              Also Thomas was called the "Right Handed Ted Williams" all the time. Cabrera never received such accolades though Cabrera was obviously highly regarded in his prime. In 1994 Thomas was hitting .383/.515/.795 at the break. Insane!
              In 2013 Miggy had 30 HR and 95 RBI at the break. Not too shabby.
              My top 10 players:

              1. Babe Ruth
              2. Barry Bonds
              3. Ty Cobb
              4. Ted Williams
              5. Willie Mays
              6. Alex Rodriguez
              7. Hank Aaron
              8. Honus Wagner
              9. Lou Gehrig
              10. Mickey Mantle

              Comment


              • #8
                Add a poll next time, Sparty.
                My top 10 players:

                1. Babe Ruth
                2. Barry Bonds
                3. Ty Cobb
                4. Ted Williams
                5. Willie Mays
                6. Alex Rodriguez
                7. Hank Aaron
                8. Honus Wagner
                9. Lou Gehrig
                10. Mickey Mantle

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think it's fair to say that in this case Cabrera would be the best option for a National League club and Thomas an American League club. I'd personally pick Cabrera but I prefer the National League style of play. I do believe Thomas was a better hitter but not by much. Cabrera is certainly the better all-around player, no question.
                  "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
                    I think it's fair to say that in this case Cabrera would be the best option for a National League club and Thomas an American League club. I'd personally pick Cabrera but I prefer the National League style of play. I do believe Thomas was a better hitter but not by much. Cabrera is certainly the better all-around player, no question.
                    It's too bad Cabrera got fat. He was a lean looking outfielder when he first came up with Marlins.

                    miggie2003.JPG
                    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I remember that year well. One of the best baseball seasons ever. He was called up highly touted and came up big in the postseason. I admittedly really liked the 2003 Marlins.
                      "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don’t find these two to be so similar for a comparison like this. No matter how close their OPS+, BA, and OBP , their hitting styles were different. Thomas relied on walks for his OPS+ whereas Cabrera relied on straight hits and doubles. Accordingly, Cabrera struck out more.

                        Thomas’s career OPS+ of 156 is more the product of his first 7-8 years, where he averaged a 180 OPS+. Cabrera, on the other hand, has a 151 OPS+ mostly because he always produced around 151 OPS+ his whole career (he still has to go through a proper decline). Thomas is more peak; Cabrera is more consistency.

                        Then Cabrera played about 30% of his career in the NL, with no DH. Also played during a time of increased inter league play. Thomas played his whole career in the AL as a DH during a more explosive offensive environment.

                        Cabrera also played the field. Thomas didn’t.

                        Overall — I rank Cabrera over Thomas because he was more versatile, durable, and consistent. I concede that Thomas at his peak was a better hitter than Cabrera at his peak, but the margin isn’t so wide. The difference in their peaks isn’t so big to make up for Cabrera’s 3-4 extra seasons of productivity.

                        A case where longevity / consistency outweighs peak value.
                        Last edited by redban; 03-16-2019, 10:49 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I agree redban. Also concerning peak Cabrera did have the triple crown and four batting titles. I know the advanced stat crowd has destroyed the luster on these accomplishments with the zeal of Bolsheviks burning down a church but before Cabrera did it the prevailing talk was that the triple crown wouldn't happen again. Batting average is still the most important skill to have in baseball even if it isn't popular within the strict ideological confines of the new baseball front office zeitgeist.
                          "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think Miggy compares closer to Jeff Bagwell. That's a close one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by willshad View Post
                              I think Miggy compares closer to Jeff Bagwell. That's a close one.
                              Bagwell had one thing Thomas and Cabrera didn't: speed. He had two 40/30 seasons and stole 202 bases. I prefer Cabrera to Bagwell. Cabrera was a better hitter - 4x batting champion - and more versatile defensively. I didn't realize how historic Bagwell's base stealing was.

                              Code:
                              Debuted after 1920: First Base
                                Player          SB   CS         
                              1 Jeff Bagwell    202  78
                              2 Gregg Jeffries  196  63
                              3 Bill Buckner    183  73
                              4 Joe Kuhel       178  90
                              5 Dan Driessen    172  63
                              "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                              Comment

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