Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera: A prediction for his 2013 season stats

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: Miguel Cabrera at Dodger Stadium.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera last season became the 14th player in major league history to win the Triple Crown. Cabrera led the American League last season with 44 home runs, 139 RBI and a batting average of .330. He was the first Triple Crown winner since 1967 and also received the A.L. MVP in 2012.

So what will Cabrera’s 2013 season look like? Will he increase his numbers? Or will they drop?

Let me be the first to offer what I think Cabrera’s HR, RBI and batting average numbers will look like in 2013: He will hit 27 home runs, have 101 RBI, and a batting average of .301. These numbers are based on the how previous Triple Crown winners performed the following season.  (More on that in a moment).

Following is a look at the Triple Crown winners prior to Cabrera and what their HR, RBI and batting average stats were the following season. (The season after the Triple Crown year is listed in parenthesis).

1967 Carl Yastrzemski: 44 HRs (23), 121 RBI (74), .326 average (.301)
1966 Frank Robinson: 49 HRs (30), 122 RBI (94), .316 average (.311)
1956 Mickey Mantle: 52 HRs (34), 130 RBI (94), .353 average (.365)
1947 Ted Williams: 32 HRs (25), 114 RBI (127), .343 average (.369)
1942 Ted Williams: 36 HRs, 137 RBI, .356 average (Williams did not play the following year due to military service)
1937 Joe Medwick: 31 HRs (21), 154 RBI (122), .374 average (.322)
1934 Lou Gehrig: 49 HRs (30), 165 RBI (119), .363 average (.329)
1933 Jimmie Foxx: 48 HRs (44), 163 RBI (130), .356 average (.334)
1933 Chuck Klein: 28 HRs (20), 120 RBI (80), .368 average (.301)
1925 Rogers Hornsby: 39 HRs (11), 143 RBI (93), .403 average (.317)
1922 Rogers Hornsby: 42 HRs (17), 152 RBI (83), .411 average (.384)
1909 Ty Cobb: 9 HRs (8), 107 RBI (91), .377 average (.383)
1901 Nap Lajoie: 14 HRs (7), 125 RBI (65), .426 average (.378)

If you look at the numbers the year following the Triple Crown, the Triple Crown winners dropped an average of 38 percent in their HRs the next year, dropped an average of 27.5 percent in RBIs, and dropped an average of 7.3 percent in batting average. The numbers I offered above for Cabrera’s 2013 season are based on these average declines in each statistical category.

Based on the stats, there is not much to indicate that a Triple Crown winner will increase his numbers over his milestone season. In fact, none of the previous Triple Crown winners increased their HRs the next year; only one (Ted Williams in 1948) increased his RBI total; and only three had a higher batting average the year after their Triple Crown season.

Maybe Cabrera will go against the grain and increase his numbers in 2013. But past history of Triple Crown winners indicates a different story. Be sure to check Cabrera’s stats in October to see the results.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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