We all know Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout are elite hitters. Yes, I am going to compare the two. And yes, I know that’s been done many times before. However, I’ve come up with a stat that really separates the two. I’ll be looking at their complete offensive package, so this is not at all related to WAR, as it does not include defense.
Cabrera has won the MVP for the past two years, and Trout is putting up seasons never seen before from 20-22 year olds. When you compare what they’ve done since 2012, they are very similar hitters. (Stats through Aug. 9, 2014)
Trout: .317/.408/.563 with a 172 wRC+, .247 ISO, .415 wOBA (1860 PA)
Cabrera: .330/.403/.592 with a 167 wRC+, .263 ISO, .420 wOBA (1828 PA)
As you can see, they’re almost identical. Cabrera has a slight advantage in the power department with a 16 point advantage in ISO and a 29 point advantage in SLG. What I want to do is take this a bit further and analyze how much speed and athleticism gives Mike Trout an advantage.
WAR takes everything a baseball player can do into account. Trout has had the edge over Cabrera since 2012 with a 26.5 mark compared to Cabrera’s 17.7, a pretty significant gap. Many people don’t buy into WAR, so I wanted to show how speed changes Trout’s offensive game. Again, I am not looking at defense for this piece.
As we know, SLG is total bases divided by plate appearances. However, it does not include every single base a hitter collects. For example, walks and HBP are not included. There are many more things that it does not include, and that’s what I looked at in order to create a new stat, adjusted SLG, if you will. I used FanGraphs and Baseball Reference to find every single base an offensive player can collect, whether it’s after they hit the ball or after they reach base. In addition to hits, walks, and HBP, I looked at extra bases taken, reaching on errors, net stolen bases, pickoffs, and double plays grounded into. I included double plays because they make a huge impact. It’s two outs on one play, so I took an extra base away for each double play, as it eliminates another base runner. For extra bases taken, I included five things:
- Times a runner is on first, then reaches third or home on a 1B
- Times a runner is on first, then scores on a 2B
- Times a runner is on second, and scores on a 1B
- Bases taken on fly balls, passed balls, wild pitches, defensive indifference, balks
- Minus outs made at bases (doubled off, trying for double/triple/HR, advancing on fly balls, wild pitch, passed balls)
Other things to keep in mind; I added up every single base, then subtracted a base for when a guy gets picked off or bounces into a double play. For the final percentage, I took all the bases each player collected and divided it by plate appearances. It’s a very simple stat, once you gather all the information needed.
Here is a table for what I calculated (ROE—reached on error. NSB—net stolen bases. XBT—extra bases taken. PO—pickoffs.)
|PA (TROUT)||BB||HBP||ROE||NSB||1B||2B||3B||HR||XBT||PO||DP||TOTAL||ADJ SLG|
|PA (CABRERA)||BB||HBP||ROE||NSB||1B||2B||3B||HR||XBT||PO||DP||TOTAL||ADJ SLG|
As you can see, the speed of Trout has pushed him way over the top when it comes to being a complete offensive player. He has reached on an error 15 more times than Cabrera (24-9). Speed has a lot to do with this by putting pressure on defenders, especially infielders, who often rush throws when a speed guy is running down to first. Trout also has 76 more net stolen bases than Miggy (82-6) as he has racked up 94 steals since 2012 while being caught just 12 times. He also grounds into a double play far less than Cabrera, with 19 since 2012 compared to Cabrera’s whopping 63. Trout also takes more bases while on the base paths.
When you consider that Trout and Cabrera both get hits, extra-base hits, and walks at a fairly similar rate, it’s alarming to see how much Trout goes ahead of Cabrera when you take speed and baserunning into account. Trout’s “adjusted slugging percentage” (or fill in another creative name here) is .747 since 2012, compared to Cabrera’s .673, a very noticeable difference of 74 points. This percentage, and all of the counting stats that are included with the table, is reliable because they both have almost the same number of PA since 2012, with Trout at 1,860 and Cabrera at 1,828.
Everybody loves to compare Trout and Cabrera. This is just another way of showing that Trout is ahead of Cabrera, because it shows how well Trout does the things that are smaller and often unnoticed things well.
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