Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/23/12

There was a time when scouts, baseball insiders, writers, broadcasters and run-of-the-mill cynics were snorting and wondering exactly which day in April the Detroit Tigers would abandon their shift of Miguel Cabrera from first base to third.

Guess that move didn't turn out too badly, did it?

Cabrera hit the 299th and 300th home runs of his career Sunday, and it prompted a moment of reflection on the career of a young giant whose extreme hitting ability awes his teammates and those in baseball who see him more than a handful of times a season.

"People need to stop and take notice and realize what they're seeing," said his teammate, Alex Avila. "These are the kind of players who come around once in a while, and then you retire their number."

Cabrera does not turn 30 until next season. He is 10 years into his career and is now halfway to 600 home runs, a number that generally will get you a trip to the Hall of Fame.

"He's having a wonderful, wonderful career so far," manager Jim Leyland said. "Hopefully it'll be a long career, and hopefully end up in Cooperstown."

Cabrera is a career .300 hitter, and by midweek he should be 80 percent of the way to his ninth consecutive 100 RBI season.

"As hard as this game is -- and it's really, really hard -- he makes it look like anyone can do it," Avila said.

New teammate Quintin Berry, "He's the best hitter I've ever played with. He knows hitting. If you don't talk to him about hitting, you're missing out."

Cabrera is not a five-tool player, but his speed is deceptive for a guy who is 6-foot-3 and weighs in the vicinity of 260 pounds. He'll steal second if pitchers don't pay attention. He can go from first to third easily.

Cabrera doesn't have great range, but it's better than most think. His arm is terrific, and though opponents can bunt on him, they have to do it when he's not looking for it. If he touches the ball, somebody gets put out.

"How many superstars do you know that will do what he did? Change positions for somebody else (first baseman Prince Fielder, in this case)," Avila said. "He didn't just change positions -- he lost weight, relearned how to play the position and put in a lot of time and effort into it.

"How many players can do that and not have it affect their hitting? I can't think of any guys of his caliber doing that."

Cabrera is not known to strut and brag about what he does.

"It's embarrassing for me to talk about myself," he said. "Ask me a question about somebody else."

He's got a smartphone inside his head when it comes to pitchers, too. Cabrera never watches video of another pitcher, unless perhaps he hasn't seen him before, then you might catch him watching the delivery.

"Me and everybody else in the clubhouse will have to go look at video when we're facing, say, Jake Peavy," Avila said. "Miguel won't. He can tell you what he got him out with in the past, what he likes to throw in certain situations.

"There are times we can sense when he's going to hit a home run just by how he's approaching his at-bat."

Leyland said, "He's Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky. He's a level or two above everybody else.

"Most big guys years ago muscled the ball out of the ballpark. Willie Horton, Frank Howard, guys like that.

"Cabrera is different. He has more elasticity in his swing. He has such a great swing, such a smooth swing, but it's not a muscle swing.

"He looks like a golfer who drives the ball 350 yards without really swinging hard."

Avila said, "I hope people realize how special he is."

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reggie Jackson's trolling in an NBA of long-tailed narratives

Top storylines for college football's Rivalry Week

Gabby Douglas says she was also abused by Larry Nassar

MLB punishes Braves, bans former GM for life

Report: Paxton Lynch will start for Broncos in Week 12

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ray Allen claims he was victim of catfishing scheme

Joe Morgan to voters: ‘Steroid users don’t belong here’

Jones confident he will get his way with Goodell contract

Clippers' Doc Rivers firmly on the hot seat

Report: Raiders fire DC Ken Norton Jr.

Cam Newton shares 2008 police photo to share message of hope

NFL Week 12 predictions

College football Week 13 predictions

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The Eagles are soaring but to what heights?

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

Winners and losers from NBA's first month

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 12 predictions

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The Eagles are soaring but to what heights?

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NFL Week 11 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker