Mets360 2017 projections: Asdrubal Cabrera

Asdrubal Cabrera was a strong offensive player in 2011 and 2012. Then from 2013-2015, he put up a combined .712 OPS, one that was that high only because of a monster second half of 2015, when a .348 BABIP led to a .916 OPS, after he posted a .627 OPS in the first half of the year. Then through games of August 21, Cabrera had a .712 OPS. Then the last six weeks of the season, he put up a .350/.418/.664 line, thanks to 10 HR and a .355 BABIP.

In a way, it’s similar to Daniel Murphy in 2015. From 2012-2014, Murphy put up OPS marks of .735, .733 and .734. And through games of August 16, Murphy had a .736 OPS. But from 8/17 to the end of the year, Murphy slugged .542 – 140 points above what he had done previously – and that doesn’t even count his post-season exploits. And Murphy carried his big hitting into 2016. Can Cabrera do the same thing in 2017? Here’s what we think:

PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBI HR/FB
Dalton Allison 510 .265 .370 .472 19 72 10.0
Joe Barbieri 512 .268 .340 .403 12 54 9.4
John Fox 519 .274 .333 .450 20 64 10.9
Charlie Hangley 512 .281 .337 .424 14 72 8.7
Brian Joura 444 .276 .326 .430 13 44 9.2
Mike Koehler 550 .270 .320 .455 21 60 13.5
Matt Netter 475 .281 .334 .418 19 64 13.0
Jim O’Malley 570 .268 .325 .437 19 66 8.9
Rob Rogan 540 .270 .325 .425 15 62 8.5
Mike Ryan 583 .273 .329 .444 16 83 9.8
Chris Walendin 570 .269 .325 .455 19 61 12.5

Cabrera posted a career-high .194 ISO last year, which most of us don’t expect he’ll duplicate. He did this in part thanks to a personal-best 14.0 HR/FB rate. This time, none of us expect a repeat performance. Overall, we project him to be comfortably above his 2013-15 production yet noticeably below his 2016 output. Except for Dalton, who expects him to post an .842 OPS, which is 32 points above last season’s career mark.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is the RBI forecast. We have a range between 44 (me) and 83 (Mike R.), with the majority of people projecting a total in the 60s. Cabrera batted in numerous spots in the lineup last year but settled into the two-hole, where he’ll likely start 2016. The Mets got 73 RBIs from the second spot in their lineup last year, so it’s not unreasonable to think that Cabrera would get most of those.

Here’s what the group thinks Cabrera will do in 2017:

Cabrera2017

We expect Cabrera to have an OPS 44 points lower than a year ago, yet deliver two more RBIs. We must be anticipating him to be more clutch than he was in 2016. Regardless, this seems like a very reasonable forecast. Let’s see how it stacks up to the computer models:

PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBI
Mets360 526 .270 .329 .437 17 64
Steamer 530 .250 .311 .412 16 58
ZiPS 558 .259 .316 .428 17 63

Steamer is the least optimistic, essentially expecting a return to his 2013-15 numbers. ZiPS projects the most playing time and has the median OPS forecast. And while ours takes our usual optimistic position, it’s right in line with playing time, homers and RBIs to what the computer models suggest.

The ZiPS comp for Cabrera is Hector Lopez, who was a solid offensive performer before falling off a cliff in his age 31 season. Cabrera turned 31 in November. Lopez went from a 114 OPS+ in 1960 to a 64 mark in the following season, as he went from a .775 OPS to a .596 mark. Ouch. Lopez rebounded in 1962 to a 98 OPS+ but never again reached the marks he had in 1960 and earlier.

3 comments for “Mets360 2017 projections: Asdrubal Cabrera

  1. TexasGusCC
    February 4, 2017 at 2:11 am

    It would be criminal to not include that in 2015 Murphy started the year without a spring training and then worked with Kevin Long to tap his power with a different hitting approach, and that takes time. While I don’t expect Murphy to repeat his MVP season of a year ago, I expect a continuation of strong slugging through high doubles totals and homeruns in the high teens to low twenties. Can’t really regret not re-signing Murphy, but bemoan that it took him so long to learn to turn on pitches and look for the pitch to drive rather than being happy popping up a low outside pitch to short left-center.

    Cabrera didn’t do anything different but ride the wave. Hope that wave is still surging, but let’s not take hitting in front of Cespedes for granted.

    • February 4, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Not sure where you get the idea that Murphy missed Spring Training in 2015 because he played in Grapefruit League games.

      For whatever reason, it took him until late in the year to put Long’s ideas into motion. And as pointed out in this article, it wasn’t until late in the year that Cabrera seemingly did the same thing. I’m not putting forth any grand theory here and admit that it’s likely to be coincidence as much as anything.

      But Cabrera was doing what was expected of him offensively through most of the year and then went gangbusters in the end. As Murphy showed last year, it’s certainly possible for a strong finish in one year to be a springboard for a strong following year. But 10 of the 11 people in the panel don’t see it that way.

      • TexasGusCC
        February 4, 2017 at 10:18 am

        You’re right Brian, he did. Unfortunately, due to my laziness last night while I remembered something happened to him, I never looked to see what it was.

        https://www.baseballessential.com/news/2015/03/22/mets-evaluating-potential-replacement-for-daniel-murphy/

        He had pulled a hamstring late spring training (March 22nd) and sat the rest of The Grapefruit League, but played in the regular season. In fact, he was hitting under .200 at April’s end.

        His slash line May1 to year’s end was .297/.334/.469.

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