Saturday, March 1, 2008

What Is Melky Cabera?

Brian Cashman came out with the following comments;

Melky has to fight for what he has,” Cashman said. “I can’t stand here and tell you he’s going to be our center fielder moving forward. That’s up to him.”

He also added about Brett Gardner;

Brett Gardner is not your typical Yankee-profile type of player,” he said.
“We’re trying to break that profile to some degree because there’s more to this game than hitting for power.

“We think he could be a Juan Pierre who takes a walk. Here’s a guy who can steal bases; he can get on base; he plays the short game. We need athleticism like that, especially when you have a bunch of these old farts filling the roster out. Those young burst-of-energy, athletic guys really stand out on a team like ours.”

Brain is clearly trying to light a fire under Melky and not allow him to get comfortable with his clear role as the team's everyday centerfielder. So it begs the question, what do the Yankees have in Melky? We know his stats compare favorably to Bernie at the same age but he profiles as a different player (more SB ability, better arm, less power) then Bernie in his prime. Let's start by looking at some projections for him this year;

Zips .286/.352/.419 16 Hr 13 sb
Cario .287/.345/.407 9 HR 7 SB
Pecota .283/.342/.404 10 HR 14 SB

Definitely acceptable numbers out of a CF but not elite level by any means. The question becomes can the Yankees accept a player that isn't All-Star level or will the fantasy baseball GM in them force an upgrade? I have long believed that you need players that are good but not great on your team to balance it out. There is less pressure to perform in big spots and they are willing to do the little things and not be the hero. Having a couple positions with a Melky type player is actually better for the team in big games. This is not something that is quantifiable with stats or some other method but something I have observed over time. Upgrading Melky would be a mistake. He is a solid player who brings energy and life to the club. Let him play and get your stars elsewhere.

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