Can Melky Cabrera be best No. 2 batter since A.J. Pierzynski?
Jul 18, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) hits a single in the sixth inning in a game against the Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Here is something to ask yourself, Can Melky Cabrera be the best No. 2 hitter for the Chicago White Sox since A.J. Pierzynski in 2008?
In my opinion he has a good chance to do so, and here are some reasons as to why I believe that.
Cabrera rarely strikes out. The most strikeouts he has ever had in a season is 94, which was back in 2011 with the Kansas City Royals.
Oct 12, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher A.J. Pierzynski before game two of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
That is key, because a No. 2 hitter needs to put the ball in play. On the flip side of that, Cabrera rarely walks. His highest walk total in a season was 56 back in ’06 with the New York Yankees.
If Cabrera was a lead-off hitter that would be a greater concern, due to the fact that he would be needed to get on base, but as a No. 2 batter, not so much.
In ’08 with the White Sox, Pierzynski (who currently is with the Atlanta Braves) batted .281 with 31 doubles and 13 home runs. Also that season, Pierzynski had an OBP of .312. He walked 19 times that season and had 60 RBIs.
Another reason is Cabrera has good gap power. Cabrera has hit a total of 236 doubles in 4,410 at-bats in his career.
While Cabrera will probably hit in the 15-20 home run range at U.S. Cellular Field, he should fill the No. 2 spot in the batting order a little bit better than Pierzynski did during the ’08 season.
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Another element that Cabrera brings to the table is run production. While he won’t knock in 100 runs in a season, he will knock 58 runs on average. That is perfect for the the No. 2 spot, because he will need to help out in that category a little bit during the season.
Here is the last and final quality he brings to the table, a solid batting average.
Cabrera’s career average is .286, which is good, and also is going to help lead-off batter Adam Eaton score a lot of runs.
While he has had hit well over .300 (.346 in 2012 with the San Francisco Giants), Cabrera has also hit .249 in ’08 with the Yankees.
Overall, Cabrera is really going to help out Eaton and Jose Abreu this season. If Eaton can get on base (he batted .300 last season), the White Sox will be able to hit-and-run more often.
Assuming that happens, Eaton may be on third base a lot due to Cabrera’s ability to make contact, which means an Abreu fly ball will get Eaton home.
While this is just one scenario, Cabrera hitting between Eaton and Abreu will make the Top 3 in the White Sox offense among the best in all of baseball.