by Ray Kuhn
To say we are experiencing a renaissance at the shortstop position would be an understatement. The options seem to be endless, and they are all stocks on their way up that have yet to peak. But depending on your budget, draft strategy, or just the general flow of the draft, you might find yourself without Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, or some of the other exciting options.
And at that point, I say don’t stress. Don’t overdraft someone like Brad Miller or Tim Anderson, and instead utilize an underappreciated veteran to fill out your shortstop or middle infield position.
One of those veterans who I am keeping an eye on, is Asdrubal Cabrera. Currently, Cabrera is the 19th shortstop being selected with an ADP of 274. The main concern surrounding the veteran is his health, specifically his knees, but he appears to be healthy entering the season. New York will take care to ensure Cabrera makes it through the season healthy, and I wouldn’t expect to him end 2017 with more than the 521 at bats he had last season.
If that is the case and Cabrera repeats his performance from last season, which for the most part is very possible, he is safe option for this year and will provide a positive return on his draft value.
Throughout his career, the 31-year old has established a very predictable baseline. His batting average has seen some fluctuation over the past five years ranging from .241 and .280 (his average last season), but expecting a .260 average is reasonable as makes contact at an 80% rate; league average.
Prior to last season, Cabrera hit between 14 and 16 home runs in each of his last four seasons before going deep 23 times in his first year with the Mets. Cabrera’s Power Index was 114 last season which is what we have come to expect from the shortstop, but last year he showed the potential for more with an Expected Power Index of 142. What will likely regress, is Cabrera’s 14% home run per fly ball rate.
Power is more commonplace than it has been in years past, but 20 home runs from your middle infielder still has its value. With a Hard Contact Rate of 119 last season, Cabrera’s power skills are certainly not going anywhere, and he is a relatively safe investment.
When filling out the back end of your roster, sometimes safe and dependability has its value.
Source – Baseball HQ
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|