What to Make of Everth Cabrera’s Hot Start

Everth Cabrera is off to a relatively hot start to the season and has seemed to make strides in certain areas that were causes for concern entering the season. He has already matched his home run total of last season and his strikeout rate has dropped six percent while keeping his walk rate at a similar level as last season. This has resulted in his wRC+ jumping from 87 to 114 with a BABIP that is equal to his career norm. Now, will he continue to produce and be a shortstop who should be starting in 12 team formats? At this point, I have confidence in Cabrera continuing to add value and I am looking to acquire him in any leagues where I am struggling at second or shortstop.

One bit of worry with Cabrera is that his stolen base rate will be significantly lower than it was last year. This was understood before the season as stealing 44 out of 48 bags is about as unsustainable as anything in baseball, even for a guy with Cabrera’s speed. He has already been caught three times, but he has built a good enough rapport in San Diego to be given the green light often and as long as he maintains a solid on base percentage, he will be as likely as anyone in baseball to steal a bag. That is where Cabrera’s core value lies and while he is not quite “valuable” in any other category, he has developed his game to start doing just enough not to kill your roster and be solely a one category guy.

His average is still low, but there are solid signs of it improving as long as he is able to keep his strikeout rate at around the level it is at now. In OBP leagues, a .346 OBP from a middle infielder is very useful. ZiPS has his strikeout rate sitting at 21.6% for the rest of the season, which has his OBP dropping to .318 going forward. It is reasonable to assume that given his past, but while I am not fully committed to buying into a month of improved offense, I do believe that he has made a serious effort to cut out on strikeouts and that is probably the biggest key that was holding him back offensively as a speedster.

The team has shown the willingness to hit him at the top of the lineup, which should make him a solid asset in the run department. The Padre offense is still soft, but hitting in front of Chase Headley and Yonder Alonso, who has also shown some positive improvements this year, is a good spot to be for a base stealer with a solid OBP. I expect the wRC+ to drop probably below 100 at year’s end, but I am not quite as bearish as ZiPs with their expected 89 mark. Look to grab Cabrera while he is still relatively cheap if you are in need of steals at the middle infield spots, and enjoy the spoils of him developing his game to be a more well-rounded offensive player.



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Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.


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Snarf
Member
Snarf

Yasmani Grandal is coming back from a suspension soon. Should help out Cabrera in the runs department.

Jay29
Member
Jay29

Grandal might not be hitting close enough to Cabrera in the lineup to have any noticeable effect on Cabrera’s runs.

FeslenR
Guest
FeslenR

you get a thumbs up for using snarf lol

I think Evereth will do just fine….and the steals will go up for him and Altuve.

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