Bringin’ the Noise: Cash Cabrera

Across the shortstop spectrum, Cabreras are as plentiful as acting Baldwins. There’s the well-known, useful veteran who’s lived a nomadic existence (Orlando Cabrera(notes)) and the attractive up-and-comer whose name could be street slang for dysentery (Asdrubal Cabrera(notes)).

But in terms of profit potential, San Diego speed demon, Everth Cabrera(notes), the forgotten Daniel Baldwin of the group, is the commodity thrifty owners should target. Fantasy playing reality show producers already have him in their crosshairs.

Owners who scale Mount Everth this drafting season could net 40-50 steals
(US Presswire)
The second-year standout, Nicaragua’s greatest import since “El Presidente” (Dennis Martinez), is the position’s version of Chone Figgins(notes), minus a serviceable batting average. Based on Cabrera’s wimpy power returns, he wouldn’t win many arm wrestling matches. However, his gazelle wheels would prevail in most sprinting exhibitions.

After shattering his hamate bone in April last year, Cabrera, upon his return in June, instantly yielded a bounty of steals. Shifting between leadoff and eighth in Bud Black’s order, he swiped 25 bases in just 103 games (75-percent success rate). Extrapolate that effort over a standard 162-game season and the speed demon would have easily reigned supreme in steals among all middle infielders with 39. Once Black witnessed the former Rule 5 pick’s swagger in spring training last year, he knew Cabrera would instantly thrive. The youngster claims knowledge, not confidence, is what powered his game:

“I asked a lot of questions and learned from observing. I would ask Henry (Blanco) and (first base coach) Rick (Renteria) hundreds of questions about other teams. I would ask Henry how would he pitch to me and how would he pitch to the guy behind me if I was on base. What was I doing right and what was I doing that needed to be changed? I know I was young, but I was determined. I learned a lot.”

It’s that education which could make Cabrera a dependable mixed-league starter this season.

Analyzing his sabermetric returns under a microscope, the smallish switch-hitter is a prototypical leadoff man. His Luis Castillo(notes)-like 2.79 GB/FB ratio and terrific contact numbers (81.9 CT% in ’09) illustrate the nature of his game – pound the turf in order to maximize speed. Though his eye is relatively keen (10.5 BB% last year), a strikeouts diet (23.3 K%) would be beneficial. Assuming the observational and on-field lessons learned from a season ago stick, his stolen-base numbers could easily climb over 40 or even 50 this season. If his on-base percentage surpasses .355 (.342 in ’09), he will likely be the National League pacesetter in steals. Remember he swiped 73 bags in the Rockies system two seasons ago.

Black’s current plans are to interchange Cabrera and lefty-swinger Tony Gwynn(notes) atop the order. However, if Cabrera shows improvement at the dish, a permanent catbird seat is inevitable.

With an everyday gig and Adrian Gonzalez(notes) routinely batting behind him, he could generate a sneaky good .265-3-45-80-45 line. That’s incredibly useful for a tough-to-field position. Considering his current ADP stands at 232.86, nearly 40 picks behind Orlando, whose skills at 35 are clearly evaporating, he’s an absolute bargain. Those who sink a minute investment in his services will be rewarded.

Everth’s speed will kill.