MLB

Melky Cabrera: MLB Right Not to Take Potential Batting Title from Giants Star

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 10:  National League All-Star Melky Cabrera #53 of the San Francisco Giants hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning during the 83rd MLB All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 10, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2012

There seems to be some controversy surrounding the National League batting title—or the batting average title, since that's all it is—and whether or not suspended San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera should win it. 

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig all but said that Cabrera, who was hitting .346 at the time of his suspension, will retain the title—like Selig is doing him some favor—if Cabrera's name is at the top of the standings when the season ends during an appearance on YES Network's CenterStage (via ESPN):

"We'll see how it all plays out," Selig said. "We generally don't interfere in that process. We'll take a look at it at the end of the year."

—snip—

"You can't change records because once you get into that it would never stop," Selig said. "It would create more problems than it would solve."

A majority of the backlash surrounding Cabrera winning the batting title despite being suspended 50 games for a positive performance enhancing drug test comes from the self-righteous baseball writers who think that this is the worst problem in the history of the world. 

To those people, I want you to tell me what exactly performance enhancing drugs does for a player's performance. You have assumptions, but there is no definitive proof that they do anything. I'm not saying they do nothing—I am saying that we don't know, so you can't say anything one way or the other. 

Plus, it's not like Cabrera's performance is drastically different than it ever has been when he wasn't failing drug tests. The only outlying stat that Cabrera had this season was a .379 BABIP (per Fangraphs), 70 points higher than his career mark, which is a function of luck. 

Cabrera's batting title will be just as real as Barry Bonds being the single-season and all-time home run leader. 

Like Selig says, going in and taking records away opens a slippery slope that you can't get out of. Cabrera, if he leads the NL at the end of year and has the requisite number of plate appearances to do so, will be the batting champion. 

It's in the rule book; there is nothing that anyone can do about it, so I don't understand why there is a debate about this. 

If you don't want Cabrera to be the National League batting average champion, then root for Andrew McCutchen (.340) or Buster Posey (.334) to get really hot over the final two weeks of the season. 

Other than that, the record books will rightfully show that Cabrera had the highest batting average of any player in the National League in 2012. 

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