Miguel Cabrera spent the month of May tearing the cover off of the baseball, and it has put him on pace not only to duplicate but also surpass his 2012 Triple Crown season.
During the month, Cabrera hit .379 with a league-high 12 home runs, 44 runs batted in and 21 extra-base hits for the Detroit Tigers. His season totals (through Saturday, June 1) stand at a remarkable .369 average, 45 runs scored and 65 RBI, good for tops in the American League. He is second in the AL with 17 home runs, three behind Chris Davis’ 20 with the Baltimore Orioles.
At this point last season, Cabrera was hitting .314 with 29 runs scored, nine home runs and 42 RBI—a season in which he won the Triple Crown and American League MVP. He is also on pace for his third consecutive batting title.
Cabrera’s 65 RBI give him the most through 54 games in Detroit Tigers history, surpassing Hank Greenberg’s total of 64 during the 1935 season, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
One more list -- a look at the Tigers with the most RBI through 54 team games...Miguel Cabrera is now No. 1 twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/…— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 1, 2013
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cabrera is the is the first player in MLB history to enter the month of June with at least a .340 batting average, 15 or more home runs and 60 or more RBI, as tweeted by ESPN’s Buster Olney.
ELIAS: Cabrera is 1st player in MLB history to enter the month of June with a batting avg. of at least .340 and at least 15 HR and 60 RBI.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 1, 2013
On this current pace through the first third of the season, Cabrera will finish with better numbers than he did all of last season. His Triple Crown title posted a batting average of .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBI. If he can miraculously continue to hit the way he has in 2013, he’ll finish with his current .369 average, 51 home runs and a whopping 195 RBI.
Among history’s Triple Crown winners, his average would be the highest since Joe Medwick hit .374 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937. It would be the second-most home runs behind Mickey Mantle’s 52 with the 1956 New York Yankees and the most RBI ever among those crowned.
Will Miguel Cabrera repeat as Triple Crown winner?
Trailing Cabrera early this season is Baltimore’s Chris Davis. He is making a run for the crown, but he will have to put up numbers he’s never approached in his six-year career. Davis played in a career-high 139 games last season, producing 33 home runs, 85 RBI and a .270 average, also career bests.
This season, Davis has already belted a league-leading 20 home runs and is second only to Cabrera with 52 RBI.
There have been two players in MLB history to win multiple Triple Crowns: Ted Williams (’42, ‘47) and Rogers Hornsby (’22, ’25). Only once has there been consecutive winners: Frank Robinson for Baltimore in 1966 and Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Never has a single player won consecutive Triple Crown titles, but we may have never seen a hitter like Miguel Cabrera.