The Season that Was: Melky Cabrera

Kevin C. Cox

Melky Cabrera was our second 'big' free agent signing of the off-season, becoming the new biggest free agent signing in Alex's time as GM, a big 2 years at $8 million a year. We were pretty happy with the signing.

I asked Grant Brisbee scouting report on Melky. He summed things up by saying:

I can't help but think they don't work that well, that obviously. And I think he has a helluva lot left to prove, so he'll be motivated to keep in shape. I think that was a fantastic deal for the Jays, considering the other move they made, and the state of their lineup. The risk is real, but the reward is beautiful. If he's 70 percent of the player he was with the Giants, he'll be a steal. That doesn't seem that far-fetched.

Well, he wasn't 70% of the player he was with the Giants.

Coming into spring training, the sword of the Biogenesis investigation was hanging over him and he released a statement about it the day he arrived at camp.

Our prediction thread was pretty optimistic. I guessed

150 games, 290/.350/.440, with 15 home runs and 75 RBI.

Yep, another incredibly perfect guess, so close the difference between this and the real guess is hardly noticeable.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2013 - Melky Cabrera 88 344 39 96 15 2 3 30 23 47 2 2 .279 .322 .360

Fangraphs had him at a -0.9 WAR, making him worth a -4.3 million dollar to the Jays.

He didn't have the same luck with BABIP as in 2012, getting a .313 mark this year, down from .379 last year. I wonder if it taking him 15 minutes to get to first base had something to do with that? Really, he was pretty lucky in 2012.

Melky walked a little less (6.2%, down from 7.2) than last year and struck out at exactly the same rate (12.6%) as in 2012.

He hit about the same amount of line drives (22.1%, up from 21.8), fewer ground balls (46.5%, down from 52.2) and more flys (31.4%, up from 26.1). A lot fewer of his flies left the park (2.9%, down from 10.7). Hmmmm, I wonder if there is a mental aspect to taking steroids? Take them and you think you can hit the ball a mile, and then you do? Go off them and you think you are weaker, so you don't hit the ball as far? Or, more likely, it could have just been part the problems caused by the tumor around his spine.

A switch-hitter, Melky hit much better vs. RHP (.290/.337/.380) than LHP (..253/.282/.313).

He hit better at home (.282/.339/.385 with 3 home runs) than on the road (.276/.303/.335 with no home runs).

With RISP he hit .273/.292/.288.

By month Cabrera hit:

April: .241/.291/.287, 0 home runs, 6 RBI.

May: .319/.361/.460, 3 home runs, 14 RBI.

June: .273/.309/.330, 1 home run, 9 RBI.

July: .294/.314/.353, 0 home runs, 1 RBI.

August: .000/.500/.000 in 2 plate appearances.

September: Injured.

May was pretty good.

Defensively, you saw it, he couldn't move well enough to be of any value in the field. Fangraphs had him at a -14.8 UZR/150. I'm hoping that, with the surgery, he'll be back to the defensive player he was in 2012 when he had a -0.9 UZR/150. Average is the most, I think, we can hope.

It won't surprise anyone that watched him that Fangraphs rates him at a below average base runner, putting him 3.2 runs worse than the average base runner. In 2012 he was 2.2 runs above average. Again, the hope is he'll be better after the surgery.

Melky's favorite team to play? He hit .583/.615/.583 in 3 games against the Tigers.

Least favorite? He hit .158/.175/.237 in 10 games against the Red Sox.

His longest hitting streak was 7 games. Longest on base streak was 13 games.

The Jays were 40-45 in games Melky started, a .471 winning percentage. Without him in the starting line up we were 34-43, a .441 rate.

Yeah, we have to hope he's better next year, that the tumor caused him to be so soon. That seems to the be mantra for all of these profiles: Next year has to be better.

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