How will Cabrera's bat age?

He's dinged up now, but Miguel Cabrera could age better than most

Updated: August 21, 2013, 3:17 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | ESPN Insider

Miguel CabreraAP Photo/Tony DejakMiguel Cabrera's final projected WAR of 104 would be 21st all time among position players.

In 2012, Miguel Cabrera won baseball's first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, hitting .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBIs and earning his first MVP award. He even threw in a .393 OBP and slugged .606 just to please us stat nerds.

This season, he's been even better. Really. From last year's .999 OPS, Cabrera has added an unimaginable 134 points and, as of Wednesday morning, stands with a 1.133 OPS, the 55th-best in baseball history (49th-best if you adjust for league and park).

In the short term, assuming Tuesday night's possible groin/abdominal injury proves to be a small bump in the road rather than adding to his other nagging injuries (leg, hip), Cabrera still has a shot at winning a second consecutive Triple Crown. Batting average is almost a sure thing (the ZiPS projection system gives him a 95 percent chance), and he's the current leader in RBIs. Chris Davis is only five behind in that category, but Edwin Encarnacion in third is 28 behind and not a serious threat. Cabrera's biggest problem is being short by five homers. While that's possible given his abilities (ZiPS says 13 percent Triple Crown odds), a DL stint or an injury that hinders his ability to terrorize pitchers would leave him too little time to catch Crush. 

[+] EnlargeChris Davis
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyChris Davis has just five fewer RBIs than Miguel Cabrera in 2013.

But now a bigger question emerges, particularly in light of these injuries: How will Cabrera age?

Let's take a closer look.