Melky Cabrera: Can the Melk Man Continue to Deliver?

Melky Cabrera is having nice rebound season in Kansas City. Currently he has 17 HR, 17 SB and a 0.302 AVG. It is the 27 year old’s best fantasy season of his career. His value in 2012 will be determined if he can maintain this production level

Home Runs

Cabrera’s 2nd most productive home run season was with the 2009 Yankees when he hit 13 home runs. The batted ball numbers that lead to home runs for both seasons are similar. Here is a look at the numbers over the last 3 years:

2009: 29.6%
2010: 32.2%
2011: 31.7%

2009: 10.3%
2010: 3.1%
2011: 11.2%

The fly ball numbers are actually down a bit from career average of 34.5%. The HR/FB% in the two season are up from his next highest yearly value of 6.5% (career average of 7.1%).

The batted ball distances on fly balls and home runs in the 3 seasons show an over 10 ft drop in 2010:

2009: 278 ft
2010: 263 ft
2011: 274 ft

Looking back, I could not find any injury that could have been the cause of the 2010 drop. It will be interesting see which power stroke shows up in 2012. I would not be surprise to see it some where between the 2010 and 2011 numbers. Maybe near 12 HRs.

Batting Average

Cabrera’s career high average lines up with his K%, BABIP and batted ball profile.

His K% is up from a 12% career value to 13.2% Not much of a change.

His BABIP is at a career high 0.326, 30 points higher than is career average of 0.297. Even with the jump, his 2011 batted ball data is close to his career numbers:

LD% – Small jump for a few more hits.
2011: 20.6%
Career: 19.4%

2011: 47.7%
Career: 48.9%

2011: 31.7%
Career: 31.7%

IFFB% – The drop helps some since they are almost for sure outs.
2011: 7.9%
Career: 10.7%

Using slyde12’s BABIP formula, his 2011 xBABIP should be 0.335 and career xBABIP of 0.320. In 2011, Cabrera’s BABIP has increased to its expected value.

Stolen Bases

Any hitter under Ned Yost will get the green light to steal quite a few bases (see Jeff Francoeur and his 21 SB). Melky is no exception. If a league uses net steals though, I may back away a bit since he is only 17 for 25.


Melky is having his best season since being called up in 2005 by the Yankees. His 2011 stats don’t look that far out of place. He may see his home runs go down while his AVG stays constant in 2012. He will get plenty of chances for RBIs, Runs and SB since the Royals will probably have him batting 2nd in the lineup again. He is not going to put up corner OF numbers, but is definitely good option for all but the shallowest of leagues next season.

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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