Yankees’ super-utility man primed for breakout 2023

yankees, oswaldo cabrera
Mar 24, 2023; Sarasota, Florida, USA; New York Yankees infielder Oswaldo Cabrera (95) hits a 3-run home run during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees may have a star in the making, and his name isn’t Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, or Oswald Peraza. In fact, we should be paying more attention to Oswaldo Cabrera, the perceived super utilityman for the Bombers, capable of playing nearly every defensive position and aligning all over to help supplement deficiencies and fill starting jobs.

Heading into spring training, there was a narrative that suggested Oswaldo should feature in left field as the starter, but the Yankees have moved him around, giving him reps at third base, shortstop, second base, and at every outfield position. To no surprise, the 24-year-old has excelled wherever the Yankees have thrown him, showcasing unparalleled value that can’t be described with a monetary value.

Cabrera’s defensive qualities are what made him such an impressive prospect, but the Yankees are seeing his offensive capabilities, which he’s worked hard to hone over the past few months. Oswaldo has much better game power than what was initially projected for him as a prospect, and he’s put that on full display this spring.

The Yankees are giving Oswaldo Cabrera a ton of reps:

Of any player on the team, Cabrera sits at the top of the Yankees when it comes to at-bats this spring, enjoying 47. He’s posted 15 hits with four homers (tied for a team-high), with 13 RBIs and a stolen base. He’s hitting .319 with a .373 0BP and .990 OPS. Given his switch-hitting bat, Cabrera is primed to be a breakout star this upcoming season wherever the Yankees need his services.

In fact, there is an argument to make that Cabrera should take over the third base position in the future, where they have tried to get him some experience over the past few weeks. He’s an above-average defender at every outfield spot and is capable of playing shortstop and second base at a high level too.

Currently, the Yanks could use the support in LF, with Harrison Bader missing time due to an oblique strain. It will be difficult for manager Aaron Boone to keep him out of the lineup, presenting a challenging problem given the existence of Aaron Hicks and Josh Donaldson.

Cabrera, 24, played in 44 regular season games for the Yankees last year, acting as one of their energizers. He ended up hitting .247 with a .312 OBP, six homers, and 19 RBIs. His Steamer projections have him hitting .234 with a .295 OBP, but I believe those numbers are far from his capabilities.

I believe Oswaldo can hit in the .250 range with a .330 OBP and 15 homers if he plays more than 100 games. He has been getting better as spring training progresses and teams begin to thin out their rosters and feature more regular starters. That is certainly a good sign for his growth and development, tracking the ball and lowering his strikeout rate. In fact, Cabrera has only struck out twice times over his last six games.

An improved chase rate and swing rate have lowered his strikeout numbers tremendously, giving him even more value, which wasn’t necessarily expected but is certainly welcomed.

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