• Defending Melky

    Posted by on June 8th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    Jim Callis, the executive editor of Baseball America, was just interviewed in the Daily News, talking about Yankee prospects. Here’s what he said about Melky Cabrera:

    On Cabrera: “He’s filled in nicely for them, but on a good team he’s more of a fourth outfielder. I don’t think he’s a good center fielder, and I don’t think he’ll hit with enough power as a corner outfielder. If he’s an everyday player for the Yankees in three or four years, I’ll be stunned.”

    This is in-line with what Johns Sickels said 5 months ago – that Cabrera isn’t “going to amount to much.”

    Now, I would agree that Cabrera is not a center fielder. But, defensively, as a corner outfielder, well, in the last few weeks, he’s shown us that he’ll be just fine (if not great) there. Good range and a strong arm serve him well on the corners.

    As far as Melky’s projected power, I think people need to look at his minor league stats. Yes, coming into this season, he projects to be the type of player who would be lucky to hit more than 15 homers in a full season in the majors. But, you have to remember, he was not yet 21-years-old when he posted those numbers prior to this year.

    More recently, I like to look at his numbers at Columbus, in a regular-sized Triple-A park, this season, prior to being called up to the Yankees this season. In 122 At Bats, Melky had 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 homeruns. If you take that rate and apply it to a full season, it says Cabrera would have over 50 extra-base hits. That’s not exactly “4th outfielder” material.

    Further, take a look at Paul O’Neill’s career. Most seasons, he barely hit 20 homeruns. In fact, in 7 of his 14 full seasons, O’Neill did not hit 20 homers. And, this was in the era of the Long Ball! Last time I checked, O’Neill played on some “good teams” and was not a 4th outfielder for them.

    I have to revert to something that I wrote yesterday:

    You know, superstars post the sexy numbers – but, play-makers win games. Melky Cabrera is a play-maker. I’m so glad that he’s on this team. So many play-makers from the recent ring-run are gone. And, it’s good to see more come along.

    I’m going to contact Jim Callis today to share this opinion – with the hope that maybe it allows him to consider some things that he may have been over-looking. Wish me luck.

    Comments on Defending Melky

    1. Scott Coulter
      June 8th, 2006 | 10:47 am

      Steve:
      I liken Melky, if comparisons have to be made, to Alex Rios of the Blue Jays. Rios is a little taller, but is having to learn to hit for power, and just this year, after 3 years in the bigs, is beginning to hit for power. It may take Melky 3 years to learn, but he appears capable of learning to do it.

    2. MJ
      June 8th, 2006 | 11:24 am

      I like that comparison. Hopefully the power comes with a bit more seasoning and age. Even if it doesn’t, I think there’s still a place in the game for the Milk-man.

    3. DFLNJ
      June 8th, 2006 | 12:28 pm

      Where does it say that every corner outfielder has to hit 40 homeruns and strike out 100+ times? If he has a strong on-base percentage and works pitchers, who cares if he only hits 15 homeruns? Criticisms of Melky’s power strike me as shortsighted (as they say in Moneyball, good hitters develop power)and close-minded (“he doesn’t conform to MY definition of what a corner outfielder looks like!”).

    4. MJ
      June 8th, 2006 | 12:30 pm

      Great points, DFLNJ.

    5. JohnnyC
      June 8th, 2006 | 12:31 pm

      With all due respect to Mr. Callis (and Mr. Sickels), it’s a good thing that they do this prospect evaluation thing for weblogs and special interest publications, because if, like the GMs and executives who actually have to get this right for a living, their livelihood depended on correct as opposed to snarky, desultory predictions…they’d have to learn a real trade, like roofing. Or designing the first Death Gel.

    6. June 8th, 2006 | 1:34 pm

      Incidentally, Peter Abraham said in one of his comment sections, that he asked Melky about his name, and Melky replied that it is not short for anything, and it is not a nickname, his name is Melky.

    7. June 8th, 2006 | 2:23 pm
    8. Don
      June 8th, 2006 | 2:49 pm

      Good post Steve. I find the Melky dissing strange. And Mike (now on a diet) Francessa has much the same criticism as far as power from a corner OF. Can we see 500 AB’s?

    9. hopbitters
      June 8th, 2006 | 3:55 pm

      Between 2000-2005, out of all outfielders, there were 15 different players with 40+ HR seasons, and an additional 30 with 30+ HR seasons. That’s a far stretch from every good team having power-hitters starting corner to corner in the OF.

    10. June 8th, 2006 | 4:20 pm

      steve, aww nuts. I realized you asked, but didn’t realize you got the answer.

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