During the New York Mets great start to the 2018 season, Asdrubal Cabrera’s consistency has stood out as a pleasant surprise.
The New York Mets have had plenty of good surprises in the early portion of the season that has led to their 10-1 start. One surprise in particular that stands out is the consistency that second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera has shown at the plate.
Right now, Cabrera has a 10-game hitting streak and has four multi-hit games over that stretch. He has a slash line of .333/.388/.600 with three home runs and five RBI. His solo home run in the eighth inning on Monday night against Miami tied the game as New York ended up winning, 8-6.
For the Mets to have a chance at the playoffs this season, they will need Cabrera to keep his strong form at the plate. So far, there are indicators that his success could continue. One of those is his power.
Last season, it took the now 32-year-old infielder until June 6 to hit his fourth home run of the year. In fact, the most home runs that he had in a month was four (June and September). This is a good sign that Cabrera, if healthy, might be closer to the hitter that hit 23 home runs in 2016 compared to the one that hit only 14 in 2017.
The key for Cabrera in the early portion of the season is that he is getting more balls in the air and that is paying big dividends. According to FanGraphs, he has hit a fly ball 46.2 percent of the time. The only two Mets who have done that are Travis d’Arnaud (50 percent) and Yoenis Cespedes (68 percent).
Cabrera’s value to the team comes with the versatility he has with hitting anywhere in the lineup. So far, Mickey Callaway has moved him around the lineup in four different spots (leadoff, second, cleanup, fifth). As the leadoff hitter, he’s 7-for-18 with all three of his doubles occurring in that situation.
With Michael Conforto now back in the lineup, Cabrera is put more towards the middle of the order. He has all three home runs this season from the number five spot in the order. There is only one other player with three home runs in that spot in the lineup in the National Leauge (Christian Villanueva of the Padres).
Now, this stat is definitely a small sample size, but it shows the clutch ability Cabrera has had late in games for the Mets. During the seventh inning or later, he is 7-for-14 at the plate with a home run and three RBI. No other Met has more than three hits in that spot and he is tied with Cody Bellinger, Eric Hosmer, and Paul DeJong for the most hits in the NL in that category.
While Cabrera is not the most valuable player on the Mets by any means, New York needs him to be closer to the .307 hitter that he was in the second half of 2017 (.244 in the first half). If that ends up being the case, New York’s lineup will continue to be a strength for them as the season goes on.
Cabrera has proven to be a .280 hitter in each of his first two seasons with the Mets. The average is going to be there, but if the power returns this season, then New York will be happy that they brought him back on that $8.5 million option they did this past winter.
All stats as of Thursday, April 12.