Miguel Cabrera looked like a shadow of his former self in 2017.
After hitting at least .313 for eight consecutive seasons, the 34-year-old Detroit Tigers first baseman batted just .249 last season. Not just that, but Cabrera also had new career lows in home runs, RBIs, runs, doubles and walks. His 0.4 WAR was the lowest of his career by a significant margin. It was also the first time in his 15-year career that Cabrera didn't receive at least one MVP vote. Although injuries certainly played a role in his subpar season, Cabrera just didn't look like the same player. It was jarring to see one of the most fearsome hitters in baseball history fall off so suddenly.
But the Venezuelan slugger is far from finished. He's under contract with the Detroit Tigers through 2023, and he's said he wants to play well into his 40s. To help Cabrera return to the Miggy of old—the hitter who used to punish pitchers' mistakes with machine-like consistency—he's turned to David Alexander. Alexander is the owner of DBC Fitness in Miami, Florida and has trained some of the best athletes on the planet, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Melvin Ingram and Xavier Rhodes. Now, he's working to rebuild Cabrera.
It's no secret Cabrera has never been one of baseball's most in-shape athletes. His build has always been more Babe Ruth than Bryce Harper, if you catch my drift. There was once an ESPN The Magazine article entitled "Is Cabrera Living Too Large?" That piece was published a decade ago—well before Cabrera became a candidate for sarcopenia, the natural age-related muscle loss most men see after age 30.
But the Venezuelan slugger may be on his way to a serious rejuvenation. After two weeks with Alexander, Miggy is already seeing some serious results. In a recent Instagram post, Alexander writes "Progression! 2 weeks ago he was 256 pounds and couldn't get any part of his body secure on the ball. He's down 11 pounds and everything starting to align and turn-on!"
Another post shows the kind of exercise Cabrera's performing with Alexander (this looks like a Single-Arm Cable Row from a Lunge Position):
Tigers general manager Al Avila could hardly contain his excitement when detailing Cabrera's progress so far. "It's a whole different workout program than what he had before," Avila told DetroitNews.com. "Right now, in talking to him, be is probably going to be stronger than ever."
Cabrera battled lower back tightness during much of the 2017 season. In September, he was diagnosed with two herniated discs. To help overcome the injury and prevent similar afflictions in the future, Alexander has been working to improve Miggy's core strength and stability. "He's strengthening those muscles around the core to give him that support," Avila said. "He was weak in certain areas."
In the aforementioned ESPN The Magazine article, Cabrera said he'd like to get down to 222 pounds, a number he viewed as the ideal weight for a man his height. While it's unsure if that remains one of his goals, he looks to be improving his body composition and addressing his strength and movement deficiencies.
- Andrew McCutchen's 9 Tips for Becoming an Elite Baseball Player
- How the L.A. Dodgers' Organic Eating Revolution Spurred Their World Series Run
- The Unorthodox Training Behind Ichiro's Unparalleled Longevity