White Sox veteran outfielder an integral part to team’s success for upcoming season. The outfielder is in the last year of his contract with team.
This upcoming season will be a unique one for the Chicago White Sox. With so many changes to the roster, the philosophies, the coaching and the expectations, the Sox can expect one constant throughout this season and it’s in left field.
Melky Cabrera will be entering his third season with the organization and although he’s not as highly praised as the other hitters in the lineup, he’s quietly been one of the White Sox best and most consistent players on the team.
Cabrera is a veteran Major Leaguer and he’s been a bit of a journeyman during his career. The White Sox are his fifth team in the last seven seasons. After starting his career off with the powerhouse New York Yankees for five seasons, Cabrera spent the next three seasons on three different teams (Atlanta Braves 2010, Kansas City Royals 2011, San Francisco Giants 2012). In 2009 and 2012, his Yankees and his San Francisco Giants won the World Series, but it’s actually been a bumpy road for the 32-year-old outfielder.
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In 2012 he was having his best year in the Majors before it was cut short. Major League Baseball suspended Cabrera for 50 games for high levels of testosterone and speculation of violating the league’s PED policy. It was a rough time for Cabrera. He was voted to the All-Star game, won All-Star game MVP and was hitting an MLB-best .346 before the suspension. His suspension carried into the playoffs and Cabrera was forced to miss the entire playoffs, including the World Series. The Giants won against the Tigers in four games. Cabrera however did receive a World Series ring to add to his collection.
In 2013, he was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays and was having another productive season, .279 AVG/.360 SLG/.322 OBP, before the Jays shut him down for the season. He was battling a variety of injuries that forced him to have multiple stints on the 15-Day DL. He was ultimately ruled out for the season in late August for surgery to remove a nonthreatening tumor in his back.
It seems now that Melky’s found the place to call home for the time being. The 12-year veteran is entering the last year on his current deal with the Sox, and while it seemed like the Sox were trying to deal or extend a lot of their veteran players, Cabrera went virtually untouched. And with good reason, he’s been great for the Boys in Black.
While he hasn’t quite reached his form from the 2012 season, he’s been one of the best players the Sox have had since he joined the team in 2015. The thing that makes Cabrera such a great player for the Sox is his consistency. Fans know how difficult it has been in recent years to find a reliable and consistent option in the outfield.
In 2015, Cabrera had his first season in Chicago and to no one’s surprise, he was quietly productive. He hit .273 with 172 hits, 36 doubles, 77 RBI and 12 HR. He ranked in the top 4 (among players with more than 100 at-bats) in team runs, hits, double, home runs, runs batted in, walks, on-base plus slugging percentage and total bases. 2015 marked Cabrera’s fifth consecutive season with a batting average over .270 and it would be the ninth +100 hit season.
2016 proved to be even better for Cabrera as he solidified his spot in the batting order and in leftfield. Cabrera hit a team-high .296 and again finished in the top 4 of hits, doubles, triples, home runs, run batted in, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage.
To add to his success at the plate, in his two seasons in Chicago, Cabrera has been one of the best defensive leftfielders in MLB. For the second straight season, he played the most innings in the leftfield in 2016 and he had fourth-best fielding percentage and the second-most assists among MLB leftfielders. In 2015, he had the third-most putouts and the fifth-most assists among MLB leftfielders.
His time in Chicago has flown by because of the form that the team has been in these past couple of years. However, in reality, Melky has been terrific and ultimately overlooked. Arguably our best hitters since 2015, Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu have similar numbers to Cabrera’s.
- Melky Cabrera
- 2015: .273 AVG/ 172 H (50 XBH) / .709 OPS / 88 SO
- 2016: .296 AVG/ 175 H (61 XBH) / .800 OPS / 69 SO
- Adam Eaton
- 2015: .287 AVG/ 175 H (51 XBH) / .792 OPS / 131 SO
- 2016: .284 AVG/ 176 H (52 XBH) / .790 OPS / 115 SO
- Jose Abreu
- 2015: .290 AVG/ 178 H (67 XBH) / .850 OPS / 140 SO
- 2016: .293 AVG/ 183 H (58 XBH) / .820 OPS / 125 SO
Cabrera doesn’t hit the most home runs or have the most runs batted in, but he gets the job done. Sox fans and the White Sox can be sure to expect more of the same from the ‘Melk Man’ which is a hard-hat, lunch pail and production.