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Asdrubal Cabrera is the poor man’s Jose Bautista

Aug 2, 2011, 1:44 PM EDT

Asdrubal Cabrera AP

Asdrubal Cabrera has always been a good player because of his defense and on-base skills, but prior to this year the Indians infielder had a total of 18 homers in 387 games spread over four seasons.

Last night Cabrera hit his 18th and 19th homers of the season, surpassing his career total in the 106th game of the year and putting him on pace to go deep 30 times.

Not only did Cabrera come into this season with just 18 career homers and a .394 lifetime slugging percentage, if you combine his minor-league numbers with his major-league numbers he had a grand total of 45 professional homers in 823 games.

His metamorphosis isn’t quite Jose Bautista-like, but Cabrera’s emergence as a slugger has been pretty remarkable and a huge part of why the Indians are competing for a division title in what was supposed to be just another rebuilding year.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    I’ll tell you one thing about this guy. He may be one of the most exciting shortstops that I have ever seen. His range is unbelievable. He gets to balls like I have never seen anyone get to in a long time. I don’t get to see the Indians play alot, but, when I do, this guy always seems to make a spectacular play.

    • statsdonotlie - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      For all of the talk about Cabrera’s defense and great range, he rates as decidedly below average in every defensive metric. Over the past three seasons, his Range Runs Above Average is -24.0. In 2,815 career innings at shortstop, his UZR/150 is -9.0. The only season he was above average defensively was in 2008 when he played primarily at second. It seems this perception has been created as a result of the number of average plays Cabrera makes look difficult.

      • spindervish - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:37 PM

        Yeah, this sort of thing is interesting. Cano’s a similar case…beginning last year people have been raving about how he’s gone from a poor defender to one of the best at his position, and he certainly seems pretty rangy to me (with an indisputably awesome arm). But UZR pegs his range as well below average every year except ’09. Jose Bautista is another guy that people seem to think is a great defender (at least in right) while UZR has him as average or below average if I remember correctly.

        Some may say this is reason to ignore UZR…I don’t know. I’m generally a fan of the advanced defensive metrics.

  2. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Yep, he doesn’t quite have the range or flair of Omar Vizquel in his prime (who does though, really), but he is very fun to watch. We Cleveland fans have been lucky to see both in the last 15 years.

  3. Lukehart80 - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    He’s due for a big raise through arbitration next year. I wonder if the Tribe might be able to lock him up semi-long term…

    • halladaysbiceps - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      Good/great shortstops are hard to find. If I were Cleveland, I would lock this guy up for the next 7 years. Pay now as opposed to later to give him financial security now and not let him go to free agency. The Phillies did a similar thing years ago with Jimmy Rollins.

  4. tashkalucy - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    He gives credit to Orlando Cabrera for encouraging him to got for homes at time, telling Astrubal that he had to power to get the ball out of the yard.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    Asdrubal Cabrera should be called a “clean mans” Bautista

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