The Yankees have their future star right fielder on the roster

Alexander Wilson
oswaldo cabrera, yankees
Sep 7, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Oswaldo Cabrera (95) makes a catch in the eleventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With Aaron Hicks struggling considerably and Andrew Benintendi being acquired at the trade deadline, the New York Yankees promptly transitioned Aaron Judge to centerfield but left a gaping hole in right. Trading Joey Gallo left the OF thin in right, but it was the right thing to do, given his inconsistencies.

The Yankees had tested Matt Carpenter in RF on occasion, but it wasn’t until they called up Oswaldo Cabrera that they really noticed his true potential in the outfield. Cabrera spent most of his time playing second base in the minor-league system, playing four total games in RF before making the transition at the Major League level.

Thus far, Cabrera has showcased elite defensive qualities in right, earning a perfect fielding percentage over 112.2 innings. He’s played only 13 games at the spot, tallying 23 put-outs and five assists.

However, his most impressive metric is the seven defensive runs saved allowed, sniping several runners trying to reach home from second base over the past few weeks. With great arm accuracy and power, he’s proven to be a standout at a position he barely has any experience in before reaching the Yankees roster.

Unless the team decides to trade him and capitalize on his increasing value over the winter, he projects as a valuable right fielder moving forward.

The Yankees need to see more offensively from Oswaldo Cabrera:

Offensively, Cabrera has been a bit inconsistent, which is only expected transitioning to the top level. Most players require a few weeks, if not months, to adjust their game. He’s hitting .192 with a 23% on-base rate, including four RBIs and a 24.4% strikeout rate. With Triple-A, he hit .262 with a 34% on-base rate, a .492 slugging percentage, eight homers, and 29 RBIs. His numbers should begin to even out as time goes on, but he’s still in the transition phase, holding his efficiency back.

However, against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday in the first game of the doubleheader, Cabrera came to the rescue, slapping a game-winning single to left field. Not only have we seen Cabrera thrive defensively, but he’s starting to gain confidence in the batter’s box.

In his last two performances against Minnesota, he earned two hits with an RBI, striking out twice. He did enjoy a stretch in August where he recorded two straight games with three hits, showcasing his efficiency, despite it being against the lowly Oakland Athletics.

Cabrera simply needs more reps at the major league level. Seeing pitches will improve his eye and performance down the stretch, but at the very least, the Yankees know they have a star defensive player budding in the outfield.

Since Benintendi is expected to leave the team in free agency, the Yankees could consider Cabrera as their future starter in right field. Alternatively, they could transition him to left field next year, starting Harrison Bader in center and Aaron Judge in right, given the team extends Judge on a monster contract.