The Melk Man raining on the Blue Jays parade

When his career is over we will look at 2012 as the peak season for 28 year-old Melky Cabrera.  A super fine season it was.  Melky was nearly as productive a hitter as teammate and NL MVP Buster Posey.

Cabrera – 38% hits/balls in play, 149 wRC+

Posey – 37% H/BIP, 162 wRC+

Obviously there will be regression here but just how much will Melky fall back in 2013?  If his batted balls go for hits 33% of the time next year the Jays are looking at a corner outfielder hitting .300 with league average power and slightly below average walk rates.  This is the best case scenario, essentially 2011 Melky with Kansas City when the Royals paid him just $1,250,000.  Let’s be honest that version of Cabrera was a shock to the system.

In his first 700 big league games Melky had 29% of his batted balls go for hits with a total slash line of:

.267/.328/.379

If Toronto gets this kind of production out of Melky next year they will either cut his playing time or finish 3rd in the AL East.

And what are we to make of his playoff history?  During his tenure with the Yankees and Braves the young outfielder connected for hits on 26% of his batted balls with just a 4% walk rate and 20% strikeout rate.  These numbers are based on 80 plate appearances against tremendous pitching but they are still reality.  To completely disregard them would be irresponsible.

Finally, looking back at his shortened 2012 season here is what his line looks like sans his at bats in hitter havens Coors Field and Chase Field.

.333 BA (101 games)

.483 SLG

8 HR

19 2B

29 BB/59 K

Looking at the whole of reality I am highly skeptical that Toronto gets a positive ROI on $16,000,000 in exchange for the next 1,100 Melky Cabrera at bats.

The future is uncertain and I would love for Melky to prove me wrong.

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Posted on November 17, 2012, in contracts, Yanks-Sox and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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