Yankees’ super-utility man is close to being an invaluable player

mlb: new york yankees at pittsburgh pirates, oswaldo cabrera
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After the 2022 season, the New York Yankees saw a rising star in their ranks. Oswaldo Cabrera, a switch-hitting prospect, emerged not just as a utility player, but as a beacon of energy and hope for the team and its fans.

A Bumpy Road in 2023

Though Cabrera burst onto the scene with promise at the age of 24, the 2023 season proved more challenging. After some struggles, he found himself back in Triple-A for a stint of 10 games, despite filling in for the Yankees in 115 games. His adaptability saw him covering for inconsistent players, seamlessly transitioning between the infield and outfield, depending on the team’s needs.

In terms of defensive capabilities, Cabrera’s flexibility is a standout. He clocked 589.1 innings in the outfield and contributed over 150 innings in the infield last season. While his defensive skills are undeniable, it’s his performance at the plate that needs fine-tuning for him to secure a regular spot.

Offense: Room for Improvement

Cabrera’s batting stats from 2023 leave room for improvement. With an average of .211 and an OBP of .275, he managed to hit five homers and drive in 29 runs. But concerning stats like a 21.8% strikeout rate and notably high soft contact percentage at 19% signal challenges. More telling is the dip in his barrel rate from 2022 – it halved, even though he had twice the at-bats. This suggests he wasn’t connecting with the ball as effectively.

The key for Cabrera will be refining his swing to pack more power without increasing his strikeouts. Improving his barrel percentage and making stronger contact will not only up his average but could also lead to more extra-base hits.

Looking Ahead: The Yankees’ Faith in Cabrera

Despite the offensive hiccups, the Yankees aren’t looking to part ways with Cabrera. His defensive prowess alone warrants his place on the team. However, enhancing his offensive game is crucial. The upcoming season presents an excellent opportunity for Cabrera to regain his lost confidence and turn around his fortunes at the plate.