Yankees option fan-favorite utility man back to Triple-A

oswaldo cabrera, yankees
May 27, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Oswaldo Cabrera (95) hits a single against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Yankees gear up for their clash with the Seattle Mariners this Tuesday, their current standing is a cause for concern.

Trailing by 10.5 games in the AL East and experiencing a four-game losing streak, the Yankees are barely holding onto a .500 win rate. With only six more wins than losses and their star slugger Aaron Judge missing, the team is desperate for an offensive boost.

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Disappointing Performance from Utility Players

Regrettably, the Yankees’ utility and supplemental players have not stepped up to meet the challenge. Many had high hopes that young utilityman Oswaldo Cabrera would secure the starting left field position during spring training. However, the 24-year-old has severely underperformed as an offensive player.

The Yankees must carefully manage Cabrera, given that he still has two minor-league options left. Unfortunately, injuries have compelled them to move him around more frequently in recent weeks.

A Closer Look at Cabrera’s Performance

In the previous season, Cabrera recorded a 111 wRC+, suggesting that he outperformed the average MLB player by 11%. He registered a .247 average and a .312 on-base percentage (OBP) across 44 games. However, his performance has taken a hit this season.

Over 60 games for the Yankees this year, Cabrera’s performance has declined, with a .190 batting average and a .238 OBP. His statistics also show a 20.3% strikeout rate, a 5.5% walk rate, and a .298 slugging percentage, a significant decrease from last year’s .429. Despite hitting four home runs, 18 RBIs, and stealing five bases, the Yankees cannot afford a player with less than a 24% on-base rate and a single-digit walk rate.

Interestingly, Cabrera has yet to play a game for Triple-A this year, even after being optioned to regain his confidence and turn his season around.

Oswaldo Cabrera’s Defensive Prowess and Future Prospects

Cabrera’s value has largely been attributed to his defensive abilities. While there were hopes he could improve his batting, it was evident that he needed more time to develop this skill.

He exceeded expectations by becoming a versatile utility player, excelling in both the infield and outfield. Before being sent down, he made four defensive runs as a supplemental outfielder and played shortstop, third base, second base, and first base.

Although his offensive contributions are still under scrutiny, Cabrera’s defensive capabilities undeniably add value to the team. A boost in confidence and a call-up in the coming weeks could benefit him. However, the Yankees’ problems run deeper than just Cabrera, and they have more significant issues to address in their current MLB roster.