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Stats Suggest Miguel Cabrera's Defense Is Below Average, Not Disasterous

When news broke that Miguel Cabrera would be moving back to third base after the Tigers signed Prince Fielder, the common reaction, mostly from the national media, was that it would never work. Nevermind that he has amazingly quick hands, was already improving with his glove at first base, and he worked all offseason to get into better shape to play third -- most were convinced that his size and previous trials at third base four-plus years ago was enough to conclude that it was an infield disaster waiting to happen.


It's early -- 10-percent into the season early -- but the early returns of advanced statistics show that Cabrera is playing an acceptable third base, according to ACTA Sports. Based on Defensive Runs Saved, Cabrera has only cost the Tigers one run, which falls under the below average category.


Cabrera has certainly passed the eye-test. He has two errors (.959 fielding percentage), but has made a handful of plays that have saved (extra base) hits, including one in Tuesday night's game against the Mariners to save that "run" he's apparently costing the team. Tuesday night's "good fielding play" put Cabrera one ahead of Brett Lawrie, who ranks first in DRS, and (still) leaves him with fewer misplays and errors than Lawrie on the young season. Personally, I don't think DRS is painting an accurate picture, but either way, he's been much better than expected, and I wasn't expecting a catastrophe.