Together, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder formed the deadliest 3-4 punch in all of baseball. A triple crown winner batting third, followed by Prince Fielder, one of the best sluggers in the game. With Fielder protecting Cabrera in the cleanup spot, Cabrera was rarely intentionally walked, however, this year, the immobile Cabrera could be walked too many times unless Victor Martinez steps up.
Before Fielder arrived in Detroit, Cabrera was intentionally walked a whopping 32 times, since then in his two years with Detroit, he limited Cabreras IBB to an average of 18 times. Fielder hit 25 homes runs, compared to the 14 Martinez hit. Fielder also hit more RBI and scored more runs than Martinez in 2013.
Unless Martinez can step up to the benchmark Prince Fielder has set, pitchers will issue Cabrera walk, after walk, after walk. In the approaching season, Martinez will have to raise his game, and provide some much needed protection for the reigning MVP champion. If Martinez can indeed up his game, and hit around 25 home runs and 100 RBI watch for the Tigers to thrive with another deadly 3-4 punch in the middle of Detroit’s lineup.