Article Summary:

MLB Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera “has a borderline silly baseball swing” reports Matthew Futterman of The Wall Street Journal. In an age of unprecedented pitching ability, the baseball swing has not been able to compete. That was until Miguel Cabrera arrived on the MLB scene, helping the Florida Marlins win a World Series in 2003. What has recently astounded the baseball world was Cabrera’s last two seasons of MLB metrics. Cabrera not only has the power to hit 44 home runs, but has enough bat control to hit .348, get on base 44% of the time, and only strike out 94 times. Even Chris Davis, the latest leader in home runs with 53, only hit a .286 with 199 strikeouts. What is even more astonishing is Cabrera’s latest stat in 2012, when he won the Triple Crown in batting which has not been done since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967. Sport sciences such as physics and bio-mechanics have been trying to crack the code on excellent baseball swings with no success. Experts in sports science like Allan Nathan, physicist, concluded it is wasted energy. Allan Nathan, believes the success of Cabrera’s numerous baseball stances and swings is due to his ability to quickly perceive and adjust to a pitch as soon as it leaves a pitcher’s hand—and sometimes earlier.

With the major success Miguel Cabrera has had since his MLB debut in 2003, begs the question “what is he doing that sport science cannot seem to explain?” Cabrera watches film, only to become familiar with pitch patterns and understand certain pitchers tendencies. Could Cabrera’s natural ability be random or an anomaly; or can simple principles of logic explain how he is so accurate? When a person can perceive more information, they are able to quickly identify natural laws that govern one set of initial conditions [in this case the body motions (times and locations) of a pitcher before he throws], to another set of final conditions [motions up to the point and beyond ball release (trajectory)], helping predict what pitch will be thrown. Cabrera is not accurate because he has a particular stance or swing; rather, he perceives more information quicker than the rest of his peers.

Article Reference:

Miguel Cabrera: The Art of Hitting – Matthew Futterman – The Wall Street Journal – October 3, 2013 — Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303464504579107291140308858.html?mod=trending_now_4

 

Additional References:

Miguel Cabrera – Wikipedia – October 25, 2013 — Retrieved from– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_Cabrera

 

 

Comments (6)

  1. Brian West

    Reply

    Cabrera is able to predict the future of the pitch as it leaves the hand of the pitcher. I believe this is because he is a type A person and is able to use the information from videos and statistics on the pitchers to predict the outcome of the pitch. Also, it is important to keep in mind that Cabrera is like other batters as well in such a way that he has his off days too. I think that is just part of the game and being an athletic player. Cabrera’s abilities do tend to agree with IMT principles that he is dominant.

  2. Rikin Patel

    Reply

    It is apparent that Cabrera’s powerful ability to predict the ball’s trajectory due to natural law and patterns leads to his success. The concepts of Information Measurement Theory already show us this fact while other sports scientists still are confounded by his ability. It is important to note that the idea of being able to perceive information and learning how to predict the future can relate to all aspects of life, and thus, Cabrera’s training has led him to effectively play professional baseball.

  3. Juan Mora

    Reply

    I agree that this pertains to KSM. Baseball is a sport in which the level of athletic ability is often times superseded by the tactics used during the game. Why else would you have a 3rd base coach doing some sort of hand dance ritual just to tell the man on first to steal 2nd on the next pitch. The more you play the game, otherwise known as the more experience you have, you are able to perceive certain tendencies and can literally “call” the next pitch.

  4. Nick Galles

    Reply

    I’m not exactly sure if this does relate perfectly to KSM principles. I understand that if you can perceive more information and initial conditions, you are more likely to predict the future, but i think you are disregarding the importance of athletic ability. Another KSM principle that could fit this setting more accurately would be the idea that Cabrera was born with the expertise and abilities to perform at this ability. I think this is more of an example of an individual using their born skill set to the best of their abilities. This KSM concept shows why so many professional athletes are the children of previous professional athletes, because they are born with a rare skill set and athletic ability.

  5. Kyle Westlake

    Reply

    I do not believe that Miguel’s ability to perceive information faster than others is the reason why he is such a dominant presence at the plate today. Miguel watches video on pitchers to try to catch tendencies that pitchers have that can tip off which pitch is coming next, even if Miguel knows what pitch is coming, he still has to react to where the ball is being thrown. When the ball is coming in at 90+ mph it becomes a guessing game as to where the ball will end up when it crosses the plate. The reason why the pros are pros is due to muscle memory. Miguel spends hours on end dissecting his swing and making sure everything is perfect before each and every game, thus creating muscle memory and increasing his ability to see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand early. This repetition is what gives him the advantage. Even though he may be able to see the pitch coming out of the pitchers hand, it doesn’t mean he knows the location and no two pitches are ever the same. There is too much information for Miguel to perceive before the ball crosses the plate for him to predict the final outcome. He just simply does what he does best, hits the ball.

  6. Isaac Martinez

    Reply

    Could Miguel’s batting dominance be solely attributable to his ability to track the ball immediately after it leaves the pitcher’s hand? Or is he just some type of athletic specimen that graces the sports pages once in an age? Could it be that his perception is so keen that he is the only player in sixty-seven years to be awarded with one of major league baseball’s most coveted achievements? The fact he is the first player to be awarded the Triple Crown in such a long period of time might confirm he has an uncanny ability to make necessary adjustments to any pitch thrown at him and win the battle. He is this good because he can perceive and adjust his batting swing based on the variety of pitches he receives during the season.

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