The offensive part of Oswaldo Cabrera’s game is still developing, but the New York Yankees are getting extreme defensive value from the super-utility man. At 24 years old, the team has been moving his defensive position on a weekly basis to fill supplementary needs and mitigate fatigue across the board.
However, Oswaldo won the starting left-field job outright over Aaron Hicks, but he’s been playing regularly to start the 2023 season. On Tuesday night against the Cleveland Guardians, the Yankees exercised a master class, winning 11–2.
The offense was firing on all cylinders, but it was easy to overlook the defensive value Cabrera brought to the table.
The Yankees gave top prospect Anthony Volpe a day off after playing 10 consecutive games at shortstop, moving Cabrera to the position, which isn’t his natural spot. Despite the discomfort, Cabrera looked like he’d been playing shortstop for 10 years with his smoothness, transitions, and confidence.
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The Yankees have a true super-utility man in Oswaldo Cabrera:
It is important to acknowledge how rare it is to find a defensive asset that can start in left field one day and provide above-average defense at shortstop the next. That is not even to mention he can feature on the hot corner, second base, and play all three outfield positions. That type of value can’t go unnoticed, and the Yankees have been building him up for months in preparation for the regular season.
The next step is for Oswaldo to improve his offensive metrics, starting off the season hitting .258 with a .273 OBP across 33 plate appearances. He’s walking at just a 3% rate and hosts a 33.3% strikeout rate, up from his 2022 number. Cabrera only has one hit in his last three games, struggling to get things going in the batter’s box to a degree.
However, the young utility man does host a 38.1% hard-hit rate, which is nearly 4% better than his 2022 numbers, and has an 88 average exit velocity, up 1.2 mph. He hasn’t managed to barrel up a ball just yet, and his launch angle has decreased significantly, but it is a long season, and Cabrera has plenty of time to find consistency and his game.
Ultimately, giving Oswaldo more reps and experience will help him in the batter’s box, but in the meantime, he’s one of the Yankees’ more valuable defensive players, and we should expect to see him feature at multiple positions throughout the 2023 campaign. He holds a perfect fielding percentage across every position he’s played, including second base, shortstop, and corner outfield positions.