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Miguel Cabrera hits tracker: Tigers star approaching 3,000 hits club in 20th season
Tigers star Miguel Cabrera entered this season with 2,987 hits, just 13 shy of MLB’s prestigious 3,000-hit club. While Cabrera has relinquished first base to Detroit’s prized prospect Spencer Torkelson, the 20-year veteran is still hitting regularly. He’s already collected four hits on the season in 18 at-bats, putting him on pace to get to 3,000 early in the year.
Although Cabrera may no longer be an overwhelming Triple Crown presence at the plate, he’s still an important part of Detroit’s lineup. Even after Cabrera gets to 3,000 hits, he should still be a fixture in the order as the Tigers try to keep pace in the AL Central.
How many career hits does Miguel Cabrera have?
As of Thursday, Cabrera has 2,991 hits. He’s notched four so far this season, including a double. Cabrera is usually batting in the top half of the order for the Tigers. Through Thursday, he’s batting .222 on the season.
Miguel Cabrera career stats, milestones, achievements
Reaching 3,000 hits would be another feather in Cabrera’s Hall of Fame career. He reached 500 home runs last season, adding that to an impressive list of achievements that includes:
- Two AL MVP awards
- Four batting titles
- 11 All-Star selections
- 2012 Triple Crown
- 7 Silver Slugger awards
And yet, the road to 3,000 hits is somewhat surprising even for a player of Cabrera’s caliber.
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How does a player who never had a top-300 single season hits total get into such exclusive company?
Between 2005 and 2014, Cabrera regularly hovered around 200 hits per season (to be exact, he had 192.5 hits per season in that span). That means, in nine years, Cabrera racked up a successful career’s-worth of hits.
Cabrera won seven Silver Sluggers and back-to-back MVPs in 2012 and 2013, regularly batting in the .330 range. As it stands, Cabrera’s career batting average is still .310 despite not batting higher than .256 in any of the last three seasons.
Who is in the 3,000-hit club?
Cabrera will join elite company once he does get to 3,000. Here’s a look at the players who have joined the club, along with how many hits they had in their careers.
Also of note? Miggy would become just the seventh player in MLB history with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro and Eddie Murray.
|Cal Ripken Jr.||3,184|
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Who will be next to hit 3,000?
Every player above 2,000 hits after Cabrera is pushing 40, which means we’ll have to do some guesswork on who is active in the league and could hit 3,000 hits. Freddie Freeman, for example, is at 1,710 hits at 32 years old, meaning if he has another decade in him at his 131 hits per year pace he could get there. However, we’ve all seen the greats slow down over time, so Freeman is a massive longshot.
According to Fangraphs, in fact, ZiPS — Dan Szymborski’s projection model — doesn’t have any active player finishing with over 3,000 career hits. The Astros’ Jose Altuve would be an outside shot, but he’s a reach.
Why is the 3,000-hit club going to become more exclusive?
Three-true-outcome baseball is at an all-time high, with team strikeouts per game staying above eight since 2017, walks staying above three since 2016, and batting average decreasing every year since 2019. This isn’t bemoaning how the current game is played, it’s just reality: As the importance of batting average has decreased the number of hits have as well.
Altuve and Freeman might round things out and approach 3,000 hits, but it’s unlikely. Cabrera looks like he could be the last entry into the 3,000-hit club for a while.
How many hits will Cabrera finish with?
Cabrera and the Tigers have a mutual option after the 2023 season the Tigers will, inevitably, turn down if Cabrera doesn’t. Extrapolating from Cabrera’s 2021, in which he had 121 hits, Cabrera could realistically finish with around 3,230 hits in his career, putting him somewhere between Cal Ripken Jr. and Nap Lajoie. It’s difficult to know how much rest Cabrera will get over the next few seasons if he stays healthy, however, so those are just projections based off recent trends.