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8/11/1984 (32 y, 6 m, 12 d)
$42M / 3 Years (2015 - 2017)
Cabrera enters the 2017 season with one year remaining on his contract and could be a trade chip for the rebuilding White Sox. (2/11/2017)
Early ADP Thoughts – Outfield, II
Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs)
Two Different Ways to See Melky Cabrera
Jeff Sullivan (FanGraphs)
Is Melky Cabrera for You?
Chris Cwik (RotoGraphs)
King of Little Things 2014
Matt Klaassen (FanGraphs)
Contract Crowdsourcing 2014-15: Day 3 of 10
Carson Cistulli (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Cabrera finally captured the starting center field gig in 2009 and finally began showing improvements offensively. He still has much to work on, but his OPS shot up from .641 in 2008 to .752 in 2009, his ISO rose from .092 to .142, and he created 65.7 runs, as opposed to 38.2 in 2008 with a comparable amount of plate appearances. Melky improved both his strikeout and walk rates, and even showed better speed on the base paths. He was a .296/.349/.420 hitter over five seasons in the minor leagues and a .325/.383/.454 hitter during three years at Triple-A, which suggests the .274 average he posted in 2009 can be topped.
The Year Ahead:
A player like Cabrera, with limited power and baserunning ability, has to be in a strong lineup to carry any kind of fantasy value. And he is. Melky may not hit 15 home runs or steal 20 bases, but he’s capable of hitting close to .300 on a year-to-year basis and the move to the National League should help him post respectable runs-scored and RBI totals. As a switch-hitter, he’s not susceptible to being pulled for match-up reasons, but the Yankees liked using Brett Gardner against right-handers last year. It’s something to look out for in Atlanta in 2010 (especially considering the club’s depth), but not a reason to pass on Cabrera in late rounds. The 25 year old should continue making strides offensively in 2010. (Drew Silva)
Melky Cabrera doesn't strike out a ton, and he's pushed the walk rate to about league average (8.3% last year, 8.0% career), but that's about it for his tool bag. Even though he picks up the occasional steal, his speed score has been below average for a while and his bad body is statement enough about his athleticism. Since he's not really a center fielder, and Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur are in the fold, he'll be in a craptacular battle to the end on the corner outfield. Gordon is the only one signed past this season, so he'll be the one that gets the biggest benefit of the doubt. Cabrera is slightly better against righties (.314 wOBA), so he may end up in a platoon. But without power (.112 career ISO) or speed, it won't be a pretty platoon. (Eno Sarris)
The Quick Opinion:
Maybe Melky Cabrera will garner 500 plate appearances once again -- the Royals outfield looks that bad -- but it's not probable. And even if he does, you probably don't want the stats that he will provide.
Melky had a great fantasy season by any standards in 2011, but don't expect a repeat. First, he never had an average over .280 in his career before last year. 2011's batting average was pumped up by a .332 batting average on balls in play. Did the 27 year-old begin hitting the ball any differently explain the change in BABIP? Nope. Career line drive rates: 19%, 2011: 20%. Career ground-ball rates: 49%, 2011: 47%. Career fly ball rates: 32%, 2011: 33%. Generally he has had the same batted ball profile over his career. With the Royals in 2011, he got the chance to hit quite often (706 plate appearances) at the top of a decent lineup. Both of these led to the high number of run, RBI and stolen base opportunities. So what to expect for 2012? Just plan on the 2011 version, but a little worse across the board. Double digit homers and steals with a .275 average. The run and RBI numbers will be determined by were he hits in the Giants' lineup, and wether or not the Giants lineup can improve around him. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
The Milkman delivered to his fantasy owners in 2011, but don't expect a repeat in 2012.
After Cabrera produced career-best totals for the Royals in 2011, many skeptics were concerned that his newfound production level would be unsustainable in the cold, damp air of San Francisco's pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. Those skeptics were quickly silenced in the early season when he batted .346 with 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases through 113 games, all the while posting a .390 on-base percentage. Some heralded him as a breakout player hitting his stride while others remained skeptical due to an unusually high .376 batting average on balls in play. What seemed to explain everything and what few people saw coming, though, was a 50-game suspension for a positive test for synthetic testosterone. That's right, Melky's 2012 numbers, and quite possibly his 2011 breakout totals as well, now fall under the dark cloud of PEDs use. Everything he has done over the last two years is now under question. After sitting out his suspension, Cabrera was left off the Giants' post-season roster and the first time you'll see him step to the plate in 2013 will be during spring training as a member of the Blue Jays. He'll be a tough player to gauge in drafts this year as no one really knows which Melky they will ultimately see, but most suspect he will return to his 2009 form which sits well below where he's been the last two seasons. He'll likely be taken somewhere in the middle rounds as he is slated to be the Jays' starting left fielder. But how much of a return value will you get for your investment? You'll just have to wait for and hope for the best. (Howard Bender)
The Quick Opinion:
The obvious question on everyone's mind is which Melky will they be drafting this year. He had a breakout season in 2011 and was well on his way to surpassing those totals in 2012 until a PEDs suspension cut his season short. The Blue Jays opted to take a shot on the 28-year old switch hitter, signed him to a two-year, $16M deal and have him slated to play left field for them, so while you might not know how he'll hit, you know that he should at least play.
In 2011, Melky Cabrera saved his career by having a nice season in Kansas City, then in 2012 he hit like a superstar for the Giants for 113 games before getting suspended for PEDs. It probably hurt him in free agency, and even without PED uncertainty hanging about, few expected him to repeat anything like his 2012 performance. It was just too far removed from anything he had done before, especially his batting average on balls in play. Still, without the benifit of hindsight, few likely thought Cabrera's 2013 would turn into a .279/.322/.360 disaster. Much of that has to do with a succession of injuries: hamstring issues early in the season, tendinitis in his knee, and finally a benign tumor was found in his lower back, which was apparently related to his leg problems. Cabrera had surgery, and hopefully for him that will relieve some of the issues and enable him to at least move around in the field again. The injury undoubtedly had some impact on him, but does that mean it is all over now and that he will simply return to some non-injured true talent level (itself difficult to establish), or will there be an aftermath he has to work through? Simply taking a statistical standpoint without considering the injury, Cabrera seems like he could hit about .280/.330/.420 over a full season, with about 10 homers and 10 steals. Hardly a star performance for a corner outfielder, but that would be useful these days. Be cautious and follow the news about Cabrera's health going into draft day. If it sounds like things are going well, he should be drafted in all but the most shallow leagues, and can be a pretty good asset in AL-only leagues. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
Past drug concerns and strange injury issues make Cabrera a risky pick, but statistically, he is still a useful starting outfielder in most fantasy leagues.
Melky Cabrera signing with the White Sox just seems right: an enigmatic player signing with an enigmatic team full of enigmas. Or something. Cabrera saved his career with a comeback performance for the Royals in 2011, was a monster for two-thirds of a season in San Francisco in 2012 during which he also got suspended for violating the league's drug policy, signed with Toronto prior to 2013, which was as disaster season on the field and shortened by injuries related to some sort of tumor. Then in 2014, he came back for another good season. It is tempting to just throw out that bizarre 2013 season, but we can't. Or can we? His 2014 rates look roughly similar like his 2012 rates without the insanely lucky batting average on balls in play. Indeed, his strikeout and home run on contact rates were even better. Cabrera is 30 now, and even leaving mysterious injury and PED concerns aside, he is on the downswing of his career. He has clearly lost a step or two in the field, and though fielding is not usually a fantasy concerning, it does indicate a decline in his athleticism. However, Cabrera still does what he does well: walk just enough, hit for slightly above-average power, and most of all, get the bat on the ball. Getting .290/.340/.430 with about 15 homers and five steals is decent for a corner outfielder these days. Think of Cabrera as a poor man's Alex Gordon in fantasy. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
After a terrible and injury-ravaged 2013, Melky Cabrera got back to his old tricks at the plate in 2014: a few walks, some homers, and making contact. There is some risk given his past, but even the 30-year-old Melky is a starting outfielder in all but the deepest leagues, even if he is not a fantasy star.
Melky Cabrera has been one of the most inconsistent players over the past six seasons. He has three seasons with a sub-91 weighted runs created plus and three at 118 or above (including a 151). I highlight this because it is very difficult to project and that should be included when you are considering drafting Cabrera. Always a better hitter against righties than lefties, Cabrera's struggles against lefties were much more evident last season. In order to get back to the type of success he has previously had, his right-handed stroke needs to seriously improve. The one aspect that has disappeared from his game as he hit his 30's is speed, which is obviously a very important fantasy asset to have. Without speed, you really need Cabrera to hit .300 to provide startable mixed-league numbers. His power numbers have been non-impressive sans the stolen bases, and the White Sox have enough in their lineup to move him toward the bottom if he is not hitting well. As it currently stands, Cabrera would bat second ahead of quality hitters such as Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier. Cabrera's inconsistency makes him a decent add late in drafts as he could provide excess value. He is not someone to be relied upon but he is worth a look as outfield depth in the hopes that he produces like he has in 2011, 2012, or 2014. (Ben Duronio)
The Quick Opinion:
Melky no longer steals bases and has had a huge inconsistencies year to year. Those inconsistencies may make him an interesting add late in drafts, as you can get him for a cheap price and he may produce outsized results.
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Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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