May 21, 2012: Milwaukee, WI, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) bats during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. The Giants defeated the Brewers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
I look at box scores every night, looking for players to write about. One player who has stood out all season has been Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera. It seems like he gets 2-3 hits every game, and is scoring a few runs a game as well. He has multiple hits in half of his games thus far in 2012. But can he keep this up?
I am here to tell you to trade him now before the slump starts.
In 2011, Cabrera had what many, including me, thought was a career year. He hit .305-.339-.470 with 18 HRs, 102 runs, 87 RBI and 20 stolen bases. Despite the 18 HRs, his ISO was just .164, the highest of his career. He didn't strike out a ton, only 13.3%, and he didn't walk much either, as he took a free pass just 5% of his at bats. His batted ball data shows that he kept the ball on the ground at a 47% clip, and had a 20.3% line drive rate, which probably helped his BA stay above .300 for the first time in his career.
More on Melky Cabrera after the jump:
His trade to San Francisco lead me to believe that he would not duplicate his 2011 breakout, as he was moving to a pitchers park, and to a division that included two other pitchers parks in Los Angeles and San Diego. Apparently, the pitchers park have helped him. This season, he is hitting .373-.417-.550 with 4 HRs, 38 runs scored, 25 RBI and 9 stolen bases in 209 at bats. He is leading the NL in batting average, and I am not sure he will stay there for too long. Let's take a look at his peripheral stats:
His BABIP of .413 tells you he has been very lucky when he makes contact with the ball this season. What is strange is his GB/FB ratio of 2.28, which is the 11th highest in all of baseball. Even stranger is that the hitters who have a higher GB/FB ratio this season are more or less guys with speed like Alcides Escobar, Dee Gordon and Elvis Andrus. Cabrera has some speed, but he is certainly not known for his speed.
Looking at his plate discipline data over at FanGraphs shows that he is swinging at less balls outside the zone as compared to 2011-31.9% vs 36.7%, but he is making more contact on those balls outside the zone. Overall, he is making more contact on balls in the zone as well, but many are resulting in ground balls.
If he continues to hit ground balls at a 54% clip, more and more of them will turn into outs, and his batting average will drop. We all know he won't hit .373 all season, and his .413 BABIP says he is due for some major regression, so now is the time to make him available to the other owners in your league. You may find an owner who is willing to overpay to acquire him.
Let us know what offers you get for him as I wonder if anyone is buying his hot start to the season.