Miguel Cabrera’s Ridiculous Plate Coverage

­Coming off the first batting Triple Crown in 45 years, Miguel Cabrera ­is making a bid to  be the first hitter to do so in consecutive seasons.  He currently leads the American League in batting average (.391), RBI (55) and is one home run off the pace at 14.  In a recent piece here at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan commented on Cabrera’s impressive all fields hitting and ability to cover the full strike zone with power.  I have put together some imagery to highlight this ability and show a bit of why Cabrera is such a threat.

miggy composite

This composite clip shows six pitches of varied location that Cabrera not only hit with power, but for home runs.  The footage has been synchronized to the time of contact and stabilized at home plate to represent the end location of each pitch as accurately as possible.  The pitches are taken from the last year, with the furthest off the plate over nine inches inside.

miggy grid

These are the same six pitches, but separated for a clear look at Cabrera’s swing and any adjustments made for location.  His mechanics have remained extremely consistent, the lone aberration among this selection an altered toe tap during a Spring Training game (upper right).  To my eye Cabrera remains exceptionally controlled, hitting for contact and relying on his strength to drive the ball rather than particularly violent swings or lunges.  However, I am admittedly not an expert in hitting mechanics, so I invite readers to make their own observations.

While we have seen Cabrera cover the outside edge well, he has specialized on turning on pitches off the inside of the plate, slugging over .800 on belt high inside pitches over the past two seasons.  To take a closer look at this type of swing, I have selected three replays and added an approximate strike zone for reference.

miggy_inside

The first pitch is a Lucas Harrell 92 mph two-seam fastball for a 395 foot home run according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker,  the second a 96 mph Tanner Scheppers two-seam fastball launched 423 feet to center field, and finally a 93 mph fastball from Tommy Hunter (included in the composite clip as well) for another 412 feet.  The first and third in particular look like quality pitcher’s pitches, remarkable.  It’s a tall task even for a player as talented as Miguel Cabrera, but I will be hoping to witness some history this season.



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Drew Sheppard is a writer for FanGraphs, graphic artist and GIF enthusiast. If you have a topic you would like Drew to take a look at in the future using overlay GIFs, please let him know in the comments here or on Twitter @DShep25.


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Jonathan
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Jonathan
3 years 3 days ago

I think I have a new favorite composite GIF.

hemmobosscher
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hemmobosscher
3 years 3 days ago

Best Fangraphs hire since I started visiting the website. Awesome stuff.

BenRevereDoesSteroids
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BenRevereDoesSteroids
3 years 3 days ago

DShep is single handedly legitimizing the LSB community.

Shawn
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Shawn
3 years 3 days ago

You are amazing with this stuff.

Dave
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Dave
3 years 3 days ago

My goodness, that is some impressive GIF-age.

Charlie
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Charlie
3 years 3 days ago

Beautiful.

t ball
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t ball
3 years 3 days ago

This set of images is the hitting equivalent of the Darvish clips, simply amazing.

t ball
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t ball
3 years 3 days ago

And by amazing, I’m referring both to the hitting and the images.

Dominic
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Dominic
3 years 3 days ago

Imagine some super composite made up of Darvish and Cabrera squaring off against eac-

nope, brain just melted.

Neal
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Neal
3 years 3 days ago

This is the coolest GIF I’ve ever seen.

George
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George
3 years 3 days ago

Terrific post. Thank you.

mlstarr
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mlstarr
3 years 3 days ago

Keep it out of the zone, they said.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
3 years 3 days ago

Hey, one of those pitches is partially in the zone.

Man…Miguel Cabrera…

PackBob
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PackBob
3 years 3 days ago

It looks like Cabrera has mastered full extension with a bent left elbow.

Daniel Schwartz
Member
3 years 3 days ago

O O

Kelly L.
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Kelly L.
3 years 3 days ago

There’s the secret! They’re letting him bat with six bats at once!

Hurtlockertwo
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Hurtlockertwo
3 years 3 days ago

Ditto on the GIF’s, amazing. Cabrera can flat out rake, he has to be the greatest pure hitter of this generation. (Votto with more power)

David
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David
3 years 3 days ago

Albert. Pujols.

Greg
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Greg
3 years 2 days ago

He may have been a better pure hitter. Pujols swung at fewer pitches, chased fewer, and made more contact, but he didn’t quite mash the ball like Cabrera is and has. Pujols had 7 years with a BABIP under .300. Cabrera hasn’t had one yet. Interestingly, hey have very similar LD/FB/GB ratios over their career (Cabrera hits a few more line drives and fewer fly balls).

redcyclone
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redcyclone
3 years 2 days ago

You are overstating that by a huge amount.

DCN
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DCN
3 years 1 day ago

Votto’s walk rate is insane, though.

Aaron (UK)
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Aaron (UK)
3 years 14 hours ago

That’s because he leaves pitches off the plate alone, instead of which he ought to be hammering them for home runs.

Jobu
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Jobu
3 years 3 days ago

I love you

John
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John
3 years 3 days ago

Thanks DShep. I cant stop staring at this.

Thufir
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Thufir
3 years 3 days ago

Amazing work

RMD
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RMD
3 years 3 days ago

Baseball porn!

ABW
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ABW
3 years 3 days ago

That GIF clearly shows that the best place to pitch to MIguel Cabrera must be straight down the middle of the plate. It’s the only place where he didn’t hit a home run.

Greg
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Greg
3 years 2 days ago

Cabrera hitting a pitch thrown down down the middle of the plate would break the gif machine.

chemiclord
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chemiclord
2 years 9 months ago

Today I was reminded oddly enough of this comment… after Gee left a fastball hanging right down the center of the plate. I’m worried Miggy might get fined by the FCC for putting an unauthorized object into lower Earth orbit.

doggie427
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doggie427
3 years 3 days ago

Great work !

Andrew
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Andrew
3 years 3 days ago

I think I just pee’d myself.

jerusalem_artichoke
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jerusalem_artichoke
3 years 3 days ago

miguel cabrera is breaking the game of baseball. its like getting the cheat code in a video game. For some reason it reminds me of MJ rebounding missed free throws and dunking like a madman. just cant be beat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ziQNSETe4

cass
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cass
3 years 3 days ago

Awesome again. Please keep this stuff coming!

I asume that next you’re going to show a shortstop diving in a variety of directions or something? Ya’ve done pitching and hitting, so fielding’s gotta be next.

Cus
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Cus
3 years 3 days ago

We need a new term for how these amazing gifs make us feel:

Bonergraphic?
Baseboner?
Cabroner?
Fanerection?
Giferrific?

Jeremy
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Jeremy
3 years 3 days ago

I like Cabroner. I get one just watching one of his at-bats.

David Burden
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David Burden
3 years 3 days ago
akalhar
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akalhar
3 years 2 days ago

Jiffy.

Aggie E
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Aggie E
3 years 3 days ago

Dshep is my hero…Its an honor that he calls LSB home…

thirteenthirteen
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thirteenthirteen
3 years 3 days ago

This gif is a delight. I want one for Pablo Sandoval now.

Derb
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Derb
3 years 3 days ago

Did someone say Sandoval? Not as awesome as these GIF’s, but still pretty cool. And some pretty sweet hitting charts.

http://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2013/5/23/4359930/pablo-sandoval-heat-maps-strike-zone

tz
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tz
3 years 3 days ago

It’s one thing for a pitcher to hold six balls at one (I think J.R. Richard did this once on a Sports Illustrated cover)

But swinging 6 bats at once is a whole nother level….

URGENT****DISCLAIMER NEEDED***SEE BELOW
Guest
URGENT****DISCLAIMER NEEDED***SEE BELOW
3 years 3 days ago

Caution: performed by a professional batter. Do not try at home.

Matt Hunter
Member
Member
3 years 3 days ago

Miguel Cabrera:Hitting::Drew Sheppard:GIFs

rogue_actuary
Member
Member
rogue_actuary
3 years 3 days ago

Dude. This shit is awesome.

AdSal44
Member
3 years 3 days ago

Just great stuff, man. I am amazed watching this guy hit. It looks so effortless. Thanks for the great post and “JIFS” ;)

Joseph M Jones
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Joseph M Jones
3 years 3 days ago

Reggie. 3 home runs in one game GIF. Make it happen!!

leeroy
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leeroy
3 years 3 days ago

Next can we get a GIF titled ‘Josh Hamilton’s mediocre plate coverage’? It will be him swinging and missing at pitches in those very same 6 spots. I’d imagine there will be plenty of pitches to choose from.

chasfh711
Member
chasfh711
3 years 2 days ago

It would be even better if someone did a mashup of six graphics of Josh Hamilton missing six different pitches all going to the same spot, and the closer to the middle of the plate that spot is, the better and more descriptive of the Fall of Josh Hamilton the graphic would be.

Bernard
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Bernard
3 years 3 days ago

It was the first Triple Crown in 45 years. Not 35.
But great .gif!

Shlum
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Shlum
3 years 3 days ago

Hi, Drew, wanna, uhh, get some coffee some time? And maybe lunch?

boomer
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boomer
3 years 3 days ago

COOL…I can hardly wait to show my 14 year old son that great hitting is hitting the ball where it is pitched, and you can still do so with POWER!

cass
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cass
3 years 3 days ago

Hopefully your son is as talented as Miguel Cabrera or he’s going to be really disappointed when he tries this himself.

Los
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Los
3 years 3 days ago

His plant leg gives way on the bottom left one. This dude is insane.

David Cheely
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David Cheely
3 years 3 days ago

You’ll notice that his plant leg gives way on any of the sub-belt pitches in order to get lower on the ball to drive it.

Colin
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Colin
3 years 3 days ago

Amazing to watch but…

…I’m confused about the one that appears to be off of Papelbon. This is the pitch that comes up and in, thrown from a 3/4 arm slot by #58 in a Phillies jersey; it shows up in the top right of the gif that shows all six separately. I wasn’t able to find any record of Cabrera ever homering off Papelbon. Is it from spring training or something? Tell me that you didn’t sneak one double in there.

Baroque6
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Baroque6
3 years 3 days ago

Please just change the site name to FanGIFs and get rid of all non-GIF content.

Jason
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Jason
3 years 3 days ago

Try reddit

chief00
Member
chief00
3 years 3 days ago

This is awesome. Can you do one for Jose Bautista vs. Tampa, game 3 from May 22? As enticement, Jose’s wRC+ for the game was 774. Please? How about a contrast of Josh Hamilton’s 4-homer game vs. every swing since? Seriously though, this is cool.

Kevin
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Kevin
3 years 3 days ago

Miguel Cabrera porn.

Yeah, this is one of the greatest gif collections ever.

Chris
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Chris
3 years 3 days ago

This is just simply amazing! Awesome job!

The Nicker
Member
Member
The Nicker
3 years 3 days ago

That home run off Scheppers at the bottoms is still the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I simply have no idea how it’s possible to pull your hands inside a 96 mph fastball inside off the plate and hit it 430 to center. Right-center almost.

Nate
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Nate
3 years 3 days ago

I want to see a version of the GIF for Sandoval that includes one where he hits it 3 inches off the ground and one above shoulder level.

beejeez
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beejeez
3 years 3 days ago

Bravo, dude. The most brilliant baseball graphic clip I’ve ever seen.

tyler1122
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tyler1122
3 years 3 days ago

wow…this is impressive…to say the least..well done!

Bobby A.
Member
3 years 3 days ago

Wow! Please do one for Votto.

alex
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alex
3 years 3 days ago

Votto isn’t even in the same solar system as Cabrera…which isn’t a knock on Votto, since no one is close to Cabrera.

David
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David
3 years 3 days ago

Not only are all of us in the same solar system as Miguel Cabrera, we are all also on the same planet, and most of us are probably in the same country. Since we as a species have never discovered life of any sort outside of our own planet, let alone our Solar System, you sir, are clearly insane.

DCN
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DCN
3 years 1 day ago

Votto’s better at the most important skill, getting on base. Cabrera is better at hitting for power.

Cabrera gets flashier stats, and is off to a better start this year, but Votto’s .474 OBP last year was even more impressive than Cabrera’s triple crown (though not quite as rare).

John
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John
3 years 14 hours ago

What are you talking about? When did Votto get a .474 OBP? Miguel Cabrera has had a higher OBP the last 3 seasons than Votto….

So no, Votto is not better at the “most important skill”.

John
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John
3 years 14 hours ago

It was 111 games which doesn’t even show up when you sort by OBP.

Bibby
Member
Bibby
3 years 3 days ago

All the above have links… I didn’t use the correct syntax.

link was incorrect.

JimV
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JimV
3 years 3 days ago

Another product of the ever dominant Marlins scouting system. Have to wonder if their current owner has also destroyed that aspect of the organization since there’s nothing else he hasn’t destroyed.

Truly a great hitter who is seperating himself even more when considering that offensive production is otherwise down throughout MLB. What a stroke and I’d be curious to know how his vision tests out — good chance it’s off the charts.

Hank Rivers
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3 years 3 days ago

He smoked the Twins the last 2 nights. Amazing to see how far off the plate those pitchers were….

Sabertooth
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Sabertooth
3 years 3 days ago

60 comments, and not a word from the School of Trout?

Conspiracy!

redcyclone
Member
redcyclone
3 years 2 days ago

It might be an effect from being played between two other inside home runs, but in the third gif, the homer off of Tanner Scheppers looks much less inside than I remember it live. Miggy looked like he was swinging from his belly button to me, but maybe I was wrong then.

Tyler Hurst
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3 years 2 days ago

Combination of Vlad Guerrero and Manny Ramirez.

Daaaaammmmmmmnnnn.

lalo reyes
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lalo reyes
3 years 2 days ago

If you want to see how he turns on those pitches, watch his feet. He is moving both his feet backwards as he turns on the ball. Almost skipping backwards to meet the ball. Truly the best hitter in baseball.

Greg
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Greg
3 years 2 days ago

Incredible.

MTUCache
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MTUCache
3 years 2 days ago

Now, I realize that Yahoo! targets it’s front page stories to the browsing history of it’s users, but finding this in the top 5 of a Yahoo! front page made me very happy.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/miguel-cabrera-home-run-gif-shows-why-most-193535766.html

Frankly, 90% of this computer’s usage is Fangraphs and pron, but I don’t really feel like that cheapens this amazing feat.

DShep got Fangraphs on the front page of Yahoo! Either Fangraphs has officially jumped the shark or nerdy baseball things are becoming WAY too mainstream.

MTUCache
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MTUCache
3 years 2 days ago

Also… holy shit do the comments over there make Not Graphs look like a MENSA meeting. How do these people remember to breath while they are typing?

petie
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3 years 2 days ago

Charlie Lau (RIP) would be proud.

YourMom
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3 years 1 day ago

Baseball porn indeed.

Miguel Cabrera
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Miguel Cabrera
3 years 14 hours ago

Doug Fister was right, I am awesome at baseball…..

Dodgers Fan
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Dodgers Fan
3 years 14 hours ago

This? This is amazing

Klements Sausage
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Klements Sausage
3 years 12 hours ago

Brilliant. Was blown away by the Darvish one but this is even better.

Miggy Mantle
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Miggy Mantle
3 years 4 hours ago

No offense to Miggy, but what home runs? I am transfixed by the sumptuous flow of long blonde locks just behind the plate… ;o)

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