Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/12/13
How good was Melky Cabrera last year? After testing positive for a banned substance and getting slapped with a 50-game suspension that limited him to just 113 games on the season, he still ranked 30th overall.No, that’s not a typo and there’s no loophole in our formulas. Cabrera had enough plate appearances in those 113 games (the bare minimum 501 to qualify for the batting average title) for his .346 average to carry significant weight, and toss in 24 homers/steals, 84 runs, and 60 RBI and you have a very solid overall season.With Cabrera’s 2011 and 2012 success now under serious and deserved scrutiny, a lot of people will rightly call into question his chances of repeating said success in 2013.I’m certainly not an expert on PEDs and their effects on players’ stats, but I do know that Cabrera has had similar walk and strikeout rates for the majority of his seven-year career and he’s increased his line drive rate to league average or better in three of the last four years. Maybe PEDs help you in those areas, and maybe they don’t, but I’m pretty sure Cabrera’s recent string of hitting skill isn’t a drug-induced mirage. He’s a good hitter, and he’ll prove it once again in Toronto.At a GlanceStrengths: R, BA, OBPNeutral: HR, RBI, SB, SLG, OPSWeaknesses: nonePlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: Shin-Soo Choo (CIN)Likely scenario: Martin Prado (ARI), Torii Hunter (DET), Brandon Phillips (CIN)Worst-case scenario: David Murphy (TEX)Melky Cabrera 2013 Fantasy ProjectionThere’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Blue Jays this year thanks to an impressive offseason. Will it all come together and result in a boatload of Ws for the Jays? Thanks to failed attempts by the Angels, Marlins, and Red Sox over the last few years I have some doubts, but I’m very certain that Toronto is going to score a lot of runs. If Edwin Encarnacion can stay healthy and even scratch the surface of what he did last year, Cabrera will be scoring a lot of those runs.We might soon realize that our projected 90 runs for Cabrera is too conservative, but I also believe he’s probably not the .346 hitter we saw last year. Our xBA formula suggests he was a .311 hitter last year and a .299 hitter in 2011, and in a semi-thought out knee-jerk reaction to his positive test last year, we projected a slight drop off to .291. Frankly, while I truly believe Cabrera is a very good contact hitter, I’m not ready to dive back in on him with 100% confidence. More like 92%.Cabrera’s current ADP on MockDraftCentral.com is 82.7, just a tad higher than we have him ranked here. Honestly, if you were to add a couple runs, one or two homers, a couple RBI, and a few points in average to what we project from him in 2013, you’d get a projected ranking around 70-75, so Cabrera is a fair value in the low 80s if you’re a fan of him. If you’re expecting him to be a great value because of his suspension last year, though, you might be disappointed.
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