Originally written on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 1/10/12
Mlb_may_17_3153
Key Stats: Where did Asdrubal Cabrera come from? His 2011 was a surprise, but there have been greater "whaaa" moments. Cabrera was only 25 last year, so the fact that he hadn't displayed the numbers he had last year before was reasonable. He had stolen 17 bases in a season before and while the home run numbers were nothing new, he did hit 42 doubles two seasons ago. Doubles turning into home runs is not a new phenomenon for guys as their careers evolve. In fact, if you look at the numbers there's reason to believe Cabrera could have actually been better. He has hit over .300 in a season before and last year was down to a .273 average. This happened despite a rise in his infield hit percentage last season. If the BABIP gods are kinder in 2012, there's no reason to think he can't be an above average average hitter according to the law of averages. Average. Just had to throw the word in one more time there.

Skeptics Say: Lee Corso would say not so fast my friends. The home run to fly ball rate ballooned to more than four times what it was in 2010. If I had to put a lock on some over/under numbers for players in 2011 versus their 2012 projections, I would take the under on Cabrera getting to 25 home runs again. It also seemed that pitchers made their adjustments to him last year. Cabrera hit just .244 in the second half and had a .280 OBP in September last year. 

Peer Comparison: There was a time about 13 years ago when fantoligists would sit and argue about A-Rod, Nomah, and Jeter. Who was best. The debate today doesn't include a Yankee, Red Sock, and lightning rod but is fun nonetheless. 

Player

Y! Rank

Age

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

Cabrera

43

25

87

25

92

17

.273

.332

Starlin Castro

50

21

91

10

66

22

.307

.341

Elvis Andrus

63

22

96

5

60

37

.279

.347


Although the prime issue for me is the upside of a 21 and 22-year-old who have already proven themselves as upper-tier shortstops, a second idea comes to mind looking at these numbers. Cabrera should be drafted by a team that has not built their team to drive in a lot of runs. Given that Andrus is not going to be a middle of the order guy and Castro is not likely to be one (right Theo?), Cabrera is a much more reliable source of RBIs. The other two players will bring greater value in steals and average. 

Lineup Outlook: There is room for Cabrera's average to grow as well as his runs and RBI. That's because Shin-Soo Choo missed half the season and wasn't good when he did play. Assuming he can stay healthy and return to form, Cabrera should see a couple more runs and/or RBI added to his 2011 totals. The same can't be said about Grady Sizemore. Time to give up. 

What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline: #4 Shortstop; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #6 Shortstop & #77 Overall; RotoChamp: #47 Overall 

Projection: Even in that poor second half, the power did not drop off much for Cabrera, so while 25 homers is a bit much, he's not a light-hitting infielder either.
89 R 21 HR 85 RBI 15 SB .280 AVG .339 OBP .795 OPS 
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