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Miguel Cabrera or Chris Davis: Who'd you rather have on your team?

June 20, 2013
  • Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, left, and Baltimore's Chris Davis are the top two statistical leaders in all three American League triple crown categories.
Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, left, and Baltimore's Chris Davis… (Genevieve Ross, Paul Sancya…)

Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and Baltimore's Chris Davis are the top two statistical leaders in all three American League triple crown categories.

Cabrera, 30, the reigning AL MVP who last year became the first batter to win a triple crown in 45 years, is first in batting average (.361), first in runs batted in (71) and second in home runs (19).

Davis, 27, a rising star for the Orioles, is first in home runs (26), second in batting average (.337) and second in RBIs (66).

Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss which of the two players they would rather have on their team. Feel free to join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun

That would be an easy choice if all things were equal and the only consideration was the performance of each player on the field. Miguel Cabrera is the reigning Triple Crown winner and has put up great numbers for years, so — based entirely on baseball merit — you've got to go with the guy who has proved he can perform at a super-high level over a long period of time. The Detroit Tigers third baseman is already on the threshold of his ninth 100-RBI season.

If you want to make a case for the Orioles’ Chris Davis, you have to take into account that he is three years younger and has not had the off-the-field issues that have threatened to undermine Cabrera's likely Hall of Fame career.

Still, Davis has got to do it for more than a season and a half to be in Cabrera's class.

Tom Housenick, Allentown Morning Call

Sounds like a no-brainer.

Miguel Cabrera has won a Triple Crown, is a seven-time All-Star and six times has been in the top five in MVP voting.

Chris Davis, well, he currently leads the American League in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS. That's it for the résumé.

Cabrera, 30, is a proven offensive juggernaut, the game's best now for several years.

Davis, 27, needs five more years at his 2013 pace for this to be a legitimate argument.

There is one area where they are relatively even: Neither can play a lick of defense. But nobody comes to Comerica Park or Camden Yards to see either one show off his arm or glove skills.

That said, I’d take Davis if I were a GM for the Yankees or Phillies. But given the choice, there is no choice here.

Fred Mitchell, Chicago Tribune

Chris “Crush” Davis has a cool nickname and a powerful bat, which has helped him lead the majors in homers with 26. But the Orioles first baseman has been inconsistent throughout his career and his propensity to strike out renders him less valuable than, say, 2012 AL MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers.

Cabrera, who swings a magic wand, won the Triple Crown last season — first time that has happened since 1967. And his career numbers (.320, 340 HRs, 1,194 RBIs) represent what Davis (.270, 103, 288) aspires to attain. Cabrera’s defensive versatility (third, first and left field) often is overlooked while we are fixated on his gaudy offensive stats. He might exceed his Triple Crown numbers of last season, entering Thursday with a .361 average to go along with 19 homers and a league-best 71 RBIs.

Davis, 27, had an auspicious start this season with an MLB record 16 RBIs in his first four games, and he is now gold for fantasy baseball enthusiasts. Until he proves he can produce consistently the way Cabrera has throughout his career, my first draft pick is Cabrera, whom one fan has dubbed "MC Hammer." The way he pounds the baseball, that's a cool nickname too. 

Craig Davis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Chris Davis is having a superlative season.

Miguel Cabrera is having an epic career. The Tigers slugger is already the best hitter of his generation and is on a pace to rank among the best ever by the time he’s done.

Davis hits Bunyanesque home runs, and he hit a pair Wednesday to lead an Orioles rout of Cabrera’s Tigers. But baseball is measured over the long haul, and give me the guy who has delivered unwavering high-level production for a decade.

Cabrera stamped himself as special when he announced his arrival with a walk-off homer in his first major league game as a 20-year-old. He reinforced it in the World Series the same year by answering Roger Clemens’ chin music with a two-run shot over the fence.

Davis’ power may block Cabrera’s path to a Triple Crown repeat, but Cabrera’s all-around hitting efficiency makes this an easy call.

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