March 04, 2008
Melky Cabrera The RBI Maker?
Pride of the Yankees wonders today if Melky Cabrera is an RBI machine in the making. Related, I went over to the Baseball Musings Day By Day Database to see where Melky ranked in terms of RBI Percentage last season. To see the full list, via Baseball Musings, click here. Snipping some of the data from the results, you can see where Melky sits compared to some other "RBI" guys:
Player Runners On RBI HR RBI% David Wright 428 107 30 17.99 Ryan Howard 501 136 47 17.76 David Ortiz 463 117 35 17.71 Bobby Abreu 501 101 16 16.97 Chipper Jones 435 102 29 16.78 Troy Tulowitzki 461 99 24 16.27 Manny Ramirez 418 88 20 16.27 Hideki Matsui 483 103 25 16.15 Albert Pujols 440 103 32 16.14 Todd Helton 461 91 17 16.05 Ryan Zimmerman 422 91 24 15.88 Melky Cabrera 410 73 8 15.85 Adrian Gonzalez 442 100 30 15.84 Kevin Youkilis 425 83 16 15.76 Robinson Cano 498 97 19 15.66 Jorge Posada 452 90 20 15.49 Ken Griffey Jr. 413 93 30 15.25 Derek Jeter 424 73 12 14.39 Paul Konerko 421 90 31 14.01 Jason Varitek 413 68 17 12.35
As you can see, in 2007, Melky Cabrera held his own, pretty well, in the RBI Percentage department - despite a lack of power.
Next, I went over to Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index feature and asked it to show me all PA (for the Yankees) last season that came in a game from the 7th inning on - with runners on base, and, to show me all RBI (for the Yankees) last season that came in a game from the 7th inning on. Combining the results from the two reports enabled me to make the following table - that I'm calling "Yankees RBI rate, 2007, Late In Game Situations":
PA RBI RBI/PA Alex Rodriguez 101 42 0.416 Derek Jeter 89 25 0.281 Melky Cabrera 94 26 0.277 Hideki Matsui 104 28 0.269 Robinson Cano 110 28 0.255 Bobby Abreu 114 28 0.246 Jorge Posada 108 26 0.241 Johnny Damon 84 14 0.167
Once again, Melky's got nothing to be embarrassed about here.
Back in June of 2006, Joe Torre said, about Cabrera: "He likes to be the one that you're counting on."
These numbers suggest that Torre was right on that one. The Melk-man delivers.
Posted by WW Staff at March 4, 2008 12:07 PM
What's interesting about the first list is that, even though Melky has the lowest PA's of anyone on the list, it's not so low to think that it's a sample size issue. It's enough to make you wonder if Melky has a future as a #2 hitter in this lineup. At RLYW, SG has Melky as about an average baserunner, which could conceivably get better given his age (or at least stay the same.) Interesting.
The same can be said about the second list - he's middle of the pack with PA's. Normalizing it to the Yankees regulars instead of the rest of the league probably makes more sense, and it shows again that this stat is not a fluke. If Melky could add some power and get that SLG closer to .500 than to .400, he'd really be something special, I think. Young, cheap, above average defense with an elite arm, switch hitter.
If Melky can get his SLG close to .500, he can play RF, a position that would enable him to be elite defensively, something he can't be in CF because he lacks high end speed.
How could A-Rod not be on that first list?
Rich...I'm not sure that is true...I checked the range factor per 9 innings for every full time CF last year in the Majors and Melky had the third highest.
The league average is 2.71.
So this would suggest that Melky is making more plays in the CF than almost all the other CFs in the league.
He does get a little bump because of all his assists, so if you just factor in Put Outs than he is still at 2.90 which is still above league average and the average would go down if you took out everyone's Put Outs.
Sorry I meant if you took out everyone's assists the league average would go down.
"How could A-Rod not be on that first list?"
That first list is just a bunch of players with Melky - it's not the whole list. Follow the link to see the whole list.
Posted by: WW Staff at March 4, 2008 03:46 PM
A lot of folk like to find ways of getting him out of the line-up.
But I really like him there because he is one of those players on good teams that is a glue guy. His enthusiasm seems to be contageous. Its rare for such a young player to be so cool and calm while playing such an important position for such a storied team.