August 11th, 2011

August 11 – Happy Birthday Melky Cabrera

Melky made a refreshing impression on Yankee fans when he came to the Bronx for his rookie season, in 2006. During the previous very successful ten years, we pinstripe rooters had gotten use to watching highly paid veterans skillfully but also very somberly get their team to the postseason. Then all of a sudden, there was Cabrera in center field and his Latino compadre, Robinson Cano at second base. The young duo added some badly needed enthusiasm to the Yankee roster and it rubbed off on some of their more reserved veteran teammates.

The only problem was Melky’s play never seemed to get better with age or experience. In fact he seemed to regress, especially at the plate where his inability to take bad pitches, especially in clutch situations, seemed to get worse and worse. Finally, even his biggest booster, Yankee skipper Joe Girardi realized Cabrera wasn’t helping the team win and Melky was sent back down to the minors in 2008. The demotion served him well as did the competition he was in during New York’s 2009 spring training with Brett Gardner for playing time in center field. Yankee fans realized the free-swinging switch-hitter would never be another Mickey Mantle or even another Bernie Williams but a Melky Cabrera at the top of his game did just fine on that 2009 Yankee team, hitting .274 and driving in 68 runs. The switch to Curtis Granderson as the Yankee’s starting center fielder has certainly turned out for the best but I got to admit that every once in a while, I do miss good old Melky. He struggled quite a bit trying to get comfortable in the National League with the Braves in 2010. He’s played much better back in the AL with the Royals in 2011 and was having a career year in 2012 as a member of the San Francisco Giants when in August of that year he shocked all of baseball by getting suspended for 50 games for testing positive for PEDs. Though he has come back from that nightmare with decent performances, its become pretty clear his growth as a player has leveed off. He turns 31 years old today. Melky shares his birthday with his former Yankee teammate and this one-time Yankee pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2005 NYY 6 19 19 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .211 .211 .211 .421
2006 NYY 130 524 460 75 129 26 2 7 50 12 56 59 .280 .360 .391 .752
2007 NYY 150 612 545 66 149 24 8 8 73 13 43 68 .273 .327 .391 .718
2008 NYY 129 453 414 42 103 12 1 8 37 9 29 58 .249 .301 .341 .641
2009 NYY 154 540 485 66 133 28 1 13 68 10 43 59 .274 .336 .416 .752
11 Yrs 1329 5363 4876 659 1390 263 37 96 579 93 379 648 .285 .336 .413 .750
NYY (5 yrs) 569 2148 1923 250 518 90 12 36 228 44 171 246 .269 .331 .385 .716
TOR (2 yrs) 227 993 912 120 267 50 5 19 103 8 66 114 .293 .340 .421 .761
KCR (1 yr) 155 706 658 102 201 44 5 18 87 20 35 94 .305 .339 .470 .809
SFG (1 yr) 113 501 459 84 159 25 10 11 60 13 36 63 .346 .390 .516 .906
ATL (1 yr) 147 509 458 50 117 27 3 4 42 7 42 64 .255 .317 .354 .671
CHW (1 yr) 118 506 466 53 128 27 2 8 59 1 29 67 .275 .315 .393 .708
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/21/2015.