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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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Jays fans look to March 11, 1899 for hope

In light of Jeffrey Loria’s recent oppression of Florida Marlins fans let’s take a look at the 1898 Baltimore Orioles of the National League.

96-53 (2nd in NL)

Manager: Ned Hanlon*

1B: Dan McGann

SS: Hughie Jennings

OF: Willie Keeler

OF: Joe Kelley

SP: Doc McJames

SP: Jim Hughes

Now peruse the 1899 Brooklyn Superbas.

101-47 (NL Champs)

Manager: Ned Hanlon

1B: Dan McGann

OF: Willie Keeler

OF: Joe Kelley

1B: Hughie Jennings

SP: Doc McJames

SP: Jim Hughes

What happened this week between the Marlins and Blue Jays reckons back to March 11, 1899.  Half dozen of the nine best players on the NL Orioles were assigned to the Brooklyn Superbas on this fateful day.  This paved the way for a 10th to 1st place finish for the former Brooklyn Bridegrooms that year.

Could circa 1899 Brooklyn repeat itself in Toronto this year?

*SABR has a nice article on the stock swap and Ned Hanlon’s HOF career