Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 1/6/14
The last two season have not been kind to Melky Cabrera; he was suspended for 50 games in 2012 and missed half the season in 2013 because of knee issues. He hit just 3 HR with only 2 SB in 88 games last season after posting double digits totals in each category in three of the last four years. By putting Cabrera in our top 200, it’s safe to say we like his chance of rebounding. But despite the obvious concerns — PEDs and injuries — Cabrera has shown signs of life. No one will argue that he’s a perennial 18 HR slugger like he was in 2011, but amid all of the questions facing Cabrera last year, he once again posted the same low K% and a career-best LD%. Look at Cabrera’s annually increasing LD%! What that graph tells me is that Cabrera’s skills haven’t deteriorated. He’s making better contact than ever, and that’s saying something for a guy who has a career .284 average, including two .300+ seasons. Cabrera isn’t exciting, but someone will plug him into their 4th/5th OF spot and never look back. At A Glance Strengths: R, BA, K, 3B Neutral: RBI, SB, OBP, 2B Weaknesses: HR, SLG, OPS, BB Players With Similar Fantasy Value Howie Kendrick Brad Miller Jon Jay 2014 Fantasy Baseball Projection 2014 Projection: 525 PA, 74 R, 9 HR, 67 RBI, 11 SB, .282 BA Overall Rank: 180 | OF Rank: 63 Players like Cabrera are boring necessities. Why do you think Alex Gordon is so highly valued each year? Homers and steals are the breadwinners in fantasy, and fantasy owners will no doubt fear that Cabrera can’t produce there anymore. PEDs aside, I’m confident he’s a double digit guy in one or both of those categories. Still, Cabrera’s strengths lie in his batting average and his overall balance. There’s nothing wrong with targeting a HR or SB specialist late in your draft, but losing one of those players to injury can kill your team’s category balance. Players like Cabrera are boring necessities. Why do you think Alex Gordon is so highly valued each year? This isn’t to say that Cabrera and Gordon are interchangeable because Gordon is clearly better, but Cabrera brings a similar skill set to the table, albeit to a lesser extent. Cabrera doesn’t have much value in shallower leagues where those HR or SB specialists I just mentioned can be replaced by simply turning to free agency, but in deeper formats with 14-plus teams and five OF slots, Cabrera is exactly the kind of boring player you won’t regret drafting. 2015 & Beyond Cabrera won’t be 30 years old until August of this year, so he’s still in his prime. How good is that prime? It’s not that great, but it has value. There’s still a little for Cabrera to prove as he’s not succeeded much post-PED suspension, but as shown in the intro, his skills have’t deteriorated in the least. I like Toronto in terms of ballpark and lineup, and I see value in buying Cabrera at $1 this year in dynasty leagues and retaining him for the next few years at that very low rate (even with small annual increases). Should he rebound and post a 70/10/70/10/.285 line this year, you’ll be grateful you took the risk.
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