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It Feels Good To Say It

March 11, 2012

Melky Cabrera just might end up being our big offseason acquisition. No, he won’t sustain a .500, or .400, or possibly even .300 average, but it’s hard to rag on his arrival when Jonathan Sanchez is currently struggling to throw harder than Eric Surkamp. But the point isn’t about Sabean winning a game of hot potato; it’s about Melky starting to look like the presence Beltran was supposed to be. Not a middle-of-the-order presence mind you, but a presence nonetheless, with speed and youth on his side. But going into the Royals camp last season, expectations were rather subterranean off a stint with the Braves broadly summarized by this:

Coming into 2011, he was on the fast track to becoming a bust. A once promising prospect who couldn’t get it together and fizzled out. The Royals quietly took him on a $1.25 million flier to fill out their $35 million payroll, and he broke out to something along the lines of a .305/.339/.416, near 20-20, 118 wRC+, 4.2 WAR season.

Surprised? To be honest, it was quite refreshing he had the season he did, because in doing so he reinforced once again the human element of the game. In cutting distractions, getting in shape, and changing his approach, Melky did something beyond what regression to the mean or BABIP could predict. So much of today’s baseball is characterized by sabermetrics, and while they can give us an ancillary look under the surface of statistics, they brashly account for human nature, which make Bautista breakouts and Berkman comebacks so exciting and unpredictable.

On the topic of Melky, I am bullish on the idea of him producing very similarly to last year. Dr. B of When the Giants Come to Town (great blog, check it out!) perfectly summarizes my thoughts here:

I think Melky may actually be undervalued because EVERYBODY thinks he’s going to regress! Now, I know spring training stats don’t mean a thing, especially early on, but I think these analysts may be missing the human element here. Melky has always had the tools, tools galore! There is a well known phenomenon in baseball called Post Hype Sleeper. That’s what Melky was last year and lot of people are having trouble believing it. The human element is that in his first few seasons, Melky was very much out of shape and possibly had a problem with alcohol. He hit rock bottom in Atlanta. He got serious about his conditioning and the results in KC were obvious. Now, he appears to be in even better shape and has a totally focused, almost workaholic attitude. He’s also just entering the age range where ballplayers typically have their peak seasons. So, tools, post hype sleeper, conditioning, attitude, age, contract year. I think it all adds up to last year being just the tip of the iceberg.

– Dr. B (When the Giants Come to Town)

Melky is the Giants’ Post Hype Sleeper, and I believe his attitude and approach in Spring Training carries far more weight about his future success than his scalding performance on the field. Hopefully though, his performance will keep following his mentality for the months to come.

Credits: Melky gif via SB Nation

One Comment leave one →
  1. gayfrank permalink
    March 19, 2012 10:47 PM

    I am loss of troll-ness in this article. Well written.

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