Originally written on SF Giants Nirvana  |  Last updated 11/19/14
2009_world_series_9036

There are a few ways to ponder Melky Cabrera. There’s Cabrera in the context of how he was acquired: i.e. the Giants traded Jonathan Sanchez. There’s Cabrera in the context of how he impacts the Giants — in pure terms of how much better they’ll perform with Melky, as opposed to how they’d do without him. And then there’s the simple one: Melky Cabrera, free of context. These are three different perspectives, and as such, through each lens, the view — whether positive or negative — will inevitably differ. I don’t like the trade, and it’s because had the Giants merely non-tendered Sanchez, I believe they could (or should) have done a better job spending that $6M. Moreover, with Brandon Belt, I see Cabrera as somewhat excessive. I think the Giants are in a similarly good position without Melky as they are with him, because that would just give Belt more plate appearances (and I expect him to prosper with frequent playing time). This had led me to be quite pessimistic about Melky. But it’s largely irrelevant at this point. The deal has been made. It’s looking like Belt will get a couple months in Triple-A Fresno to start the season. Now we’re down to a pretty straight-forward question, and that is, how good is Melky Cabrera? And upon reflection, I’m not feeling so pessimistic about the answer.

This is all comes down to what is defined as “good.” I don’t expect Melky Cabrera to repeat his 2011 season (.305/.339/.470, 121 OPS+), and I’m sure most others are on the same page there. For the first five seasons of his career, he was mediocre, and I don’t think one season — as excellent as it was — erases that fact. I’m especially skeptical because, in spite of his success, Melky’s 2011 saw his walk rate fall to a career low (5.0%), and his strikeout rate rise to a career high (13.3%), neither of which bodes well for the future. But Melky has one important thing going for him: his age — he’s just 27 years old, and that’s right around when players begin to peak. Couple that with the fact that his most recent season should be given more weight than any other season (I believe a 5/4/3 weighting system is used as the simplified standard for projecting players based on their previous three seasons), and things aren’t starting to look so bad. For whatever reason though, fans seem pretty pessimistic about Cabrera. In fact, Fangraphs’ FAN projection system is more pessimistic about Cabrera than any other system, which is quite telling — as they’re typically more optimistic. They have him at a .318 wOBA, whereas the other projection systems all have him within the .325-to-.336 wOBA range. If he hits those numbers and does reasonably well with the glove, he’ll be putting up average (or even slightly above-average) production. Considering how much the Giants struggled even to get that kind of production out of most of their hitters last season, it’s certainly nothing to dismiss.

Melky Cabrera hit two home runs today. One was off Ted Lilly, and if I’m not mistaken, Ted Lilly home runs go down in the official scorebook as .25 real home runs. Besides, I need not explain the insignificance of Spring Training stats. What he’s done so far (5 for 9 with two home runs, I believe?) means absolutely nothing. But it was nice to see. And even though it seriously does not mean anything, it does sort of serve as a reminder that perhaps Melky is better than we’ve all given him credit for. On one hand, I seriously doubt 2011 Melky is the Melky we’ll see in 2012. But on the other hand, I’m fairly certain that he’s not going to “suck eggs,” as Jay Jaffe suggested in his 2012 NL West preview.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Blatt has special message for LeBron

Shaq once threatened to murder Kobe Bryant

Bryce Harper: Mike Trout is the best player in baseball

Report: Wilson skipped OTAs to attend funeral with Graham

Antonio Brown on contract: 'I've got enough' money

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kaepernick posts insensitive joke about Houston floods

50 Cent’s boxing company files for bankruptcy

Rangers-Lightning Game 6: Prediction for elimination game

Phillies GM says team's fans 'don't understand the game’

Adrian Peterson reportedly has considered retirement

Report: Bulls could cheat Tom Thibodeau out of coaching jobs

FIFA officials arrested, to be extradited to US for corruption

WATCH: LeBron throws down huge dunk from inside FT line

Nick Saban says he caught 6-foot, 180-pound fish

WATCH: Vin Scully tells story about Gomes being attacked by wolf

WATCH: Kris Bryant launches home run off scoreboard

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Robinson Cano's slump: The good news, the bad news

Joe Maddon unhappy over Cubs’ ‘awkward schedule’

Buck Showalter takes shot at Marlins over management

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with 'serious misconduct' issues

Cavs' Kevin Love cleared to travel with team

Four crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs thus far

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

WATCH: Curry leaves game after nasty fall

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Report: Pierce could opt out of contract

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Is Dellavedova a dirty player?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.