Published on July 6th, 2013 | by John Heniff, Staff writer
Davis and Cabrera seeking historic seasons
Just 15 years removed from Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s historic race for the single-season home run record, two new players are entwined in an equally tense offensive rivalry.
Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera and Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis currently lead 10 major offensive categories in the American League, and are the leading candidates for the AL’s Most Valuable Player Award.
For the last decade, Cabrera has been widely considered as the best pure hitter in baseball. He has hit at least 30 home runs in eight of his last 10 seasons. He has knocked in at least 100 runs every season with the exception of his rookie year, where he still managed to play a crucial part in the Florida Marlins’ World Series victory.
Last season was Cabrera’s best, as he led the league with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 runs batted in. Along with winning the American League MVP award, he became the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown. The last player to do so was Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, who did it with the Boston Red Sox in 1967. This season, it appeared Cabrera would be the first player in Major League history to be a back-to-back Triple Crown winner. However, one breakthrough player appears is if he will keep that from happening.
Originally chosen 1,496th overall in the 2004 MLB Draft, Chris Davis played with various teams before reaching his current position on the Baltimore Orioles in 2011. Davis began to make a name for himself in 2012, hitting 33 home runs, knocking in 85 runs and recording 139 hits. This season, Davis has hit 32 home runs already.
2013 has been a monumental year for Davis. He began the season with 16 runs batted in over four games, an MLB record. He also joined Willie Mays, McGwire and Nelson Cruz as the only players to hit a home run in the first four games of the season. He is the only player in Major League history to hit 30 home runs and 25 doubles by June 30 in a season. Currently, Davis is on pace to make a break for Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard’s home run mark of 58 set in 2006. This total is the most of any player since the MLB’s steroid era of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Although many players with astronomical numbers usually begin to taper off after the All-Star break, Davis and Cabrera should have no problem finishing the season either in first or second in Triple Crown categories. Cabrera has consistently had a great batting average over his career, whereas Davis is just getting started. On the flip side, Cabrera hasn’t hit more than 44 home runs in a season, whereas Davis is well on his way to break the Orioles’ home run record of 50 set by Brady Anderson. As for runs batted in, this category could be won by either player, as both are well on their way to reaching the 140 mark.
The bottom line is that Miguel Cabrera would be well on his way in becoming the first repeat winner of the Triple Crown if not for Davis. With both players at the top of their games, the outcome could very well go either way. Davis is well on his way to becoming the next great hitter in baseball, and fans will look back on 2013 as his breakout year. Regardless of the finish, the ending of this season is sure to be one of the most exciting in recent history.