Melky Cabrera's fantasy baseball value spoiled? Nope. Drink up.
November 20, 2012 @ 18:10:18 PDT
That is, if he maintains a clip somewhere near that from 2011 (.305). Forget last year's .346 with a .379 BABIP. A .332 in-play clip was enough of an outlier the previous year. That's what you should hope for, max.
Juicing can enhance that, too; you, in theory, can get around on more fastballs and make harder connections. But that doesn't fully justify the grounder increase he showed in 2012, unless it's a result of him losing gas. My inkling is that it more so leaned toward him altering his approach.
His contact percentages have sat in the high 80s for all six available years of his PITCHf/x data. There's a fear that he'll get less out of his hacks without pharmaceuticals, but he puts the ball on the turf - and he now has BA-aiding bounce on his home field - often enough to balance out the other warning signs. He has to embrace even more emphatically a method he's already shown through much of his career.
The .274 BA he put up with the New York Yankees in a full 2009 should be a basement for optimistic prognosticators, of which there should now be much more.
This doesn't eradicate the high drop-off risk, but you should be thankful he was caught before 2013 drafts. His statistical inflation is now neutralized, but there'll still be rampant fear over any impending thump decrease.
Don't forget psychology: Sure, there'll be pressure with more scrutiny, but he's in a smaller market, and Cabrera was a humble player even during his deceit, so maybe he'll attempt character redemption with extra hustle ... hopefully in the form of increased SB output that also will help him regain dollar returns. That TO surface could aid him there, as well.
Cheater? Fine. But where others put morality first in their fantasy baseball league, you should target a four- or five-category bargain - a potential .275-15-80 player with 80-plus runs and 20-plus swipes. As a ninth-rounder in deep mixers, he stands to match your investment. In many circles, he'll go for much cheaper, which'll further diminish the bust quotient and increase his profit.
The Melk Man, for the right price, should deliver again.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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