With 30 games left to play, Miguel Cabrera has a good shot to become just the ninth player to hit .330 with at least 40 home runs in back-to-back seasons. He would also be just the third player to do that after turning 29, joining Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds.
Cabrera has always been a great hitter, but it is home run power that has taken off in the last few seasons. If we compare Cabrera to the other greatest hitters of the last 20 years, we can see his power surge is more reminiscent of Bonds than Albert Pujols (see explanation below the chart)…
This season, at the age of 30, Cabrera has a .108 HR/BIP (home runs per balls in play).
That is, 10.8% of the balls Cabrera hits fair go over the fence. That is easily the highest rate of his career at an age when Pujols started a steep decline. Bonds had a similar surge in his late 20s.
Cabrera is still well-below what Bonds was doing in his mid-30s. In 2001, one out of every five balls Bonds hit fair was a home run (.190 HR/BIP). Of course, now we know Bonds had some help at that time.
But if we look at a younger Bonds, Cabrera’s power levels compare very well.