I am sure right about now you are thinking I have been sipping on grandpa’s special cough medicine, but hopefully after reading this article you will agree.
Melky Cabrera had a sobering experience last season when his National League leading season was cut short due to a 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. At the time of the suspension, “The Melkman” was leading the league in batting with a .346 average. The question is can Cabrera repeat without the assistance of enhancing drugs?
In 2012, Cabrera was credited with 149 weighted runs created in 119 games played for the San Francisco Giants, good for 9th in the major leagues. The league leaders were Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout who were tied at 166. To put the statistic in perspective, Cabrera was higher than the likes of Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Adrian Beltre and Joe Mauer and one run behind Robinson Cano in 50 less games.
Cabrera made contact with pitches inside the strike zone 92.3 percent of the time and for his career makes contact 93.6 percent of the time. American League MVP Miguel Cabrera had a percentage of 90.4 percent while Mike Trout is more of a free swinger with an 87.6 percentage. The Melkman refuses to go down swinging only striking out 12.6 percent of the time last season good for 29th in the entire major league.
This combined with the success Cabrera has had against left handed pitching bodes well for him to repeat as batting champion. Cabrera ranked second amongst all National League hitters with a .395 batting average against left handed pitching, ranked third in on base percentage against left handers and fourth in OPS. Cabrera also led the majors in batting average for close and late inning games hitting at a .394 clip when it mattered most.
These are obviously some of the reasons the Toronto Blue Jays were confident in offering Cabrera a second chance at redemption.
Cabrera is off to a hot start this spring free of any enhancers and poised to prove the world wrong en route to an American League batting title.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.