Has The Melk Man Arrived?

From a Steve Goldman piece about Melky Cabrera:

Coming into the season, there was no reason to view Cabrera as much
more than a versatile outfield reserve, and given his 2008 performance,
perhaps not even that. Even after another hot April and a solid May, it
seemed likely that a cold snap would ensue. When it did, it was
impossible to tell if it was due to the Texas injury or just Cabrera
returning to form. It now appears that the injury was at least
partially to blame, and whatever Cabrera does for the rest of the
season, he's not heading back to the dark depths of post-April 2008.
He's even hitting left-handers, something he'd never done with any
consistency or authority before. That, more than anything else,
suggests real change.

If Cabrera maintains his current
.292/.355/.463 level of production, the Yankees have a very solid
center fielder on their hands. The average Major League center fielder
is batting .268/.337/.422. For once, the Yankees were patient with a
young player (far more patient than your host, for once) and it seems
to have paid off — and they had far less reason to be patient with
Cabrera than with a host of predecessors who quickly headed out of
town, Drabek, Buhner, et al. Let us hope the lesson sinks in — for
everyone.

Indeed. The Yanks should trade him now that he's at his peak. By the way, who, according to Fangraphs, has been more valuable this season so far? Melky Cabrera or Jason Bay? Any guesses?

22 comments… add one
  • Without looking, I’m assuming the only reason you’d post that question is if Melky was the more valuable. Bay’s slump, combined with the higher positional value of CF over LF, combined with Bay’s really poor defensive metrics, I’m guessing.

    Mark-YF August 5, 2009, 2:30 pm
  • River Ave Blues also has a Melky Turnaround post: http://riveraveblues.com/. Basically they mention there that his line drive rate, walk rate, and pitches per plate appearance are all up, and his strikeout rate is down – all good signs. They also note his OPS is higher on the road than at home (which i also noted in a thread a few days back here), so the improvement is not attributable to an offensive boost from NYS. All good signs really. And yeah, he’s only 24, so we shouldn’t be super shocked to see improvement in his game.

    Mark-YF August 5, 2009, 2:38 pm
  • We love the antagonistic rhetorical question, in general!
    Bay, who I advocated actually shopping last week (though he will bring the Sox draft picks if he walks), is not as valuable as most would think. He’s not a good fielder, and he’s been pretty much terrible for several weeks. I am not as sold on him as many others, have not been – I remained silent during Paul’s push to re-sign the guy (at the peak of his performance, no less – not good timing), and I am not sure I really think the Sox should be opening their wallets for him in the offseason. Or, maybe now is the time to offer him Melk-money?! I’d do that.

    SF August 5, 2009, 2:39 pm
  • He’s also more valuable by the WAR metric than Ellsbury.

    sam-YF August 5, 2009, 3:29 pm
  • He also has a hundred less plate appearances than either of them, thus, has not been afforded the chance to be mediocre, yet again.
    This article will be more fun to look at in September or October.

    Brad August 5, 2009, 3:44 pm
  • He is having a good couple weeks though.

    Brad August 5, 2009, 3:44 pm
  • He has been very good for you guys, for sure. A lot of positive things to get excited about. Let’s see how things shake out over the next two months though.

    LocklandSF August 5, 2009, 4:19 pm
  • Side note…
    This site has a way of tempering my hatred of the Yankees, the levelheaded approach to the rivalry has made me a bit soft frankly. I suppose that’s a good thing and it’s exactly what drew me here, there is no place like it online or off.
    Now…
    I have a Yankees fan friend, good buddy, who has been krueg-bitter all year and it was refreshing. In the last week or so he’s turned back in to the arrogant Yankees fan prick I always knew. In turn, this has lit a fire back under my ass and I discovered that I missed that feeling.
    I hate the Yankees and MOST of their fans, but only when they are in asshole Yankees fan mode.
    For me personally, it’s back on. I got complacent, weak, positively pedestrian regarding the great rivalry. I blame YFSF, but I also still realize it’s the only place I will be able to come for rational discussion. Quite a paradox we have here.
    Regardless, it’s back on.

    LocklandSF August 5, 2009, 4:26 pm
  • For you Lock….
    Red Sox suck.

    sam-YF August 5, 2009, 4:59 pm
  • What’s a krueg-bitter?
    I’ve been really up on Bay, who is obviously no Manny, but he’s close. Maybe not recently, but he’ll probably break out of it and make people forget.. still enough of season left.
    I mean, the guy blown Mo’s save.
    That said, Melky has been hot, and for most of it I just assumed with the new stadium, but apparently his other numbers look okay too. It certainly make missing Gardner just a little bit easier..
    Which reminds me, how does positional value work with Melky? He didn’t play CF all the time, thanks to Gardner’s superior range..

    Lar August 5, 2009, 5:06 pm
  • I don’t have to look – I’d bet Melky because of the position adjustment and better fielding UZR.

    dw (sf) August 5, 2009, 5:09 pm
  • Hey Lock, I liked it better when I wasn’t seriously worried about the Yankees. The YFs in my office would yell, “Just don’t talk to me” before I even opened my mouth. Ah, the godo ole days.
    I believe krueg-bitter is an adjective… uber-bitter but more so.

    rootbeerfloat August 5, 2009, 5:13 pm
  • Thanks sam!
    If you want to know what krueg-bitter is read any Yankees game thread from the first three months, hell, read any where they are losing or winning by less than three runs and you will know the power of krueg-bitter.

    LocklandSF August 5, 2009, 5:46 pm
  • Melky (and Cano for that matter) have improved markedly in their patience at the plate and eye for the zone. I love Gardner’s speed on the pads and in the outfield so I miss having him around, but having either come off the bench for most of the year has been nice.
    Glad you hate (most of) us again Lockland. For what it’s worth, I’ve encountered a remarkable number of SF’s since 2004 who match exactly your description of your YF colleague. Sice all it took for you and he to revert to your previous roles was for the Yanks to be back in first for more than a week, my only thought is a quote from Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H: “I hope it’s a long and healthy hate”.

    IronHorse August 5, 2009, 5:47 pm
  • For what it’s worth, I’ve encountered a remarkable number of SF’s since 2004 who match exactly your description of your YF colleague
    We’re new to this. You guys are lifers.

    SF August 5, 2009, 6:00 pm
  • Related to the phenomenon of “krueg-bitterness” — and I’m looking forwardto krueg weighing in on this promotion to adjectival status — I thought this post from Steve at WasWatching.com very accurately characterized the feelings of several YFs I know: http://waswatching.com/2009/08/01/dealing-with-yankees-wins-losses/

    stuck working August 5, 2009, 6:31 pm
  • “He also has a hundred less plate appearances than either of them, thus, has not been afforded the chance to be mediocre”
    Brad, that’s not how WAR works. The more plate appearances you have, the more valuable you will become, unless you are below replacement level. Melky would actually be more valuable according to WAR is he had more plate appearances.

    Mark - YF August 5, 2009, 6:42 pm
  • Exhibit A of why I hate “Yankee fans” (loosely, in concept, of course):
    Perhaps, in my mind, thanks to the Yankees regular and post-seasons of 2004 and 2005 (and maybe 2006 too) I now see Yankees regular season wins as a Trojan Horseā€¦in the sense that they are a desirable outcome, but, in fact, they are a trick that facilitates future broken promises and dreams, and the arrival of suffering, down the line when October comes?
    Oh, boo fucking hoo Steve. What a weakling. I dealt with 35 years of pathetic folds, tragic losses, dashed hopes and even then I still had an intact “pleasure center” , as Steve terms it. Beating Cleveland in ’99? Awesome. Coming back against Oakland to then face the Yanks in 2003? Also exhilarating. What happened afterwards were beyond sad, but the wins were still wins, still brought elation.
    Steve’s lived for several championships, but a few lean years and the enjoyment of a win is gone? If this is how Yankee fans deal with a few lean years then they are pathetic. Totally, utterly pathetic. Grow a spine and a heart, ok?

    SF August 5, 2009, 6:46 pm
  • To clarify my previous statement – WAR is much more of a totaling stat than an average stat – again, unless you are below replacement level, as that’s the only time it can go down.

    Mark - YF August 5, 2009, 6:50 pm
  • Here Lockland –
    Black Sox : 1919 :: PED Sox : 2004

    Rob August 5, 2009, 7:07 pm
  • Rob, I know you’re being provocative in playful response to Lockland, but I trust you can see why the analogy fails (ie, the Black Sox were the only team in baseball throwing WS games in 1919, but the Red Sox were not the only team in baseball using steroids in 2004).

    stuck working August 5, 2009, 7:24 pm
  • For the love of Pete, do not judge Yankees fans based on what Steve Lombardi writes. I can’t STAND that foo.

    Rob in CT August 6, 2009, 8:41 am

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