What happened to Melky Cabrera?

Melky Cabrera‘s triple slash numbers:

2006: .280/.360/.391

2007:
.273/.327/.391

2008:
.249/.301/.341

Instead of progressing or hitting a plateau, Melky’s skill set progressively worsened season-by-season.

In 2006, he showed an above average eye at the plate and the ability to slash balls into all fields. When he would get a pitch he could pull for power, that’s exactly what he did, he pulled it for power. Melky Cabrera seemingly had a bright future.

2007, he regressed, but this is expected from a Sophomore–especially when he starts the season as a 4th outfielder with inconsistent at-bats. The league knows a player better and makes adjustments to him. 2007, I figured Melky was adjusting.

2008, Melky Cabrera get’s bigger and stronger and is guaranteed a the starting CF position for the first time in his young life. He has a new chip on his shoulder, and a perpetual smile on that baby face of his. Baseball analysts are calling for him to have a break-out season, saying that he’s going to slam 80+ extra base hits and be a very productive player. This was exactly what I was thinking also. I thought Melky Cabrera would have an all-star caliber season. I, and the analysts were wrong.

Melky shot out the gate and posted a triple slash line of .299/.370/.494. Everything was looking good in Melky land, all the analysts and talent evaluators seemed to be correct. The Melk man was on pace to smash 30 home runs and drive in around 80RBI from the 9 hole in a batting order. That is fantastic production. Alas, it was not meant to be.

After April, Melky’s season took a turn for the horrendous:

May: .234/.270/.319

June: 206/.289/.255

July:
272/.295/.359

August: .115/.148/.115

And that is when his welcome in the Bronx has become worn out. He was optioned off to AAA Scranton, perhaps the end of his full-time Yankee days.

So what happened to Melky Cabrera? This might seem a bit too simplistic for some of you, and perhaps it is, but from what I watched, he got pull happy. No longer was Melky using his decent eye at the plate, or slashing balls up the middle or into the opposite field. Instead, after his hot April, he fell in love with the long ball. Melky failed to realize that he’s never going to be Manny Ramiriez or Alex Rodriguez, he’s simply not big and strong enough–but he’s not exactly a slouch either. At 5’1″ and 205LBS, Melky’s a pretty stocky kid. He has more than enough power to slam 35+ doubles and run into 20 homers per season, while maintaining a 280+ batting average and an OBP of 35% or higher if he would keep his original approach.

Melky will never be a superstar, and his days in the Bronx are perhaps over. But, if Melky would get back to fundamentals, he could turn in a couple of all-star seasons and a solid MLB career.

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Filed under 2009 Yankees, analysis, Brett Gardner, Brian Cashman, Melky Cabrera, New York Yankees, rookies, triple slash numbers

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