Baseball’s Triple Crown is sort of cool because it’s been celebrated for close to a century and because 12 of the 13 players to accomplish the feat went on to join the Hall of Fame. It’s also outdated, as new stats have emerged that do a better job of evaluating offensive production. But enough of our lecturing.
Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera launched his 43rd home run of the season in Saturday afternoon’s 6-4 defeat of the Twins, moving back into position to capture the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski finished with a .326 batting average, 44 homers and 121 RBI over 161 games for the Red Sox in 1967.
Cabrera is sporting a .327 batting average. In second is Angels outfielder Mike Trout at .321.
Cabrera is up to 43 home runs, which has him tied with Josh Hamilton for the major league lead.
Cabrera has 136 RBI. Hamilton has 125 RBI. That advantage is likely safe with just four games to play.
Some might argue that a Triple Crown should lock up the American League MVP for Miggy, but the aforementioned Trout has the AL lead in OPS+ and is a far better defender and baserunner. It’ll be close.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.