GIF: Watch and be amazed at Miguel Cabrera's remarkable plate coverage
With six home runs and 13 RBI over his last four games, Miguel Cabrera is in the process of following up his Triple Crown season with an even greater one. Already he has 14 homers and 55 RBI to go with a .391/.467 /.701; he's one homer shy of leading the league in all five categories.
Drew Sheppard, the maker of the hypnotic composite GIFs of Yu Darvish and Mariano Rivera that I've spotlighted in this space, has put together one on Cabrera for FanGraphs showing the Tiger sluggeres remarkable plate coverage while hitting for power:
The six pitches, some of which date back to last season or this past spring, are all outside the strike zone, or at best on the fringes above, below and to either side, and yet Cabrera absolutely pulverizes each one.
Further down in the piece, Sheppard showed another GIF featuring all six individual swings in a grid, synchronized and stabilized at home plate, with the strike zone illustrated. The array shows the consistency of Cabrera's mechanics, regarding which Sheppard commented, "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." A third GIF shows Cabrera turning on three belt-high pitches on the inside of the plate, a zone where he is slugging over .800 over the past two seasons.
If you're trying to find a spot where you can pitch Cabrera without straining your neck to watch a ball fly out of the yard, here's a look at his slugging percentages by segment of the strike zone using the PITCHf/x data at Baseball Prospectus going back to 2007. This is from the catcher's point of view, so Cabrera would be standing to the left:
Even when he's swinging at pitches inside the zone in some spots, he's slugging well over .500. Memo to opposing pitchers: Good luck. GALLERY: Rare photos of Miguel Cabrera