What the heck should one think about Asdrubal Cabrera as the Indians shortstop heads into the 2010 season?
The 24-year old had a breakout campaign last year, hitting .308 with 6 home runs, 68 RBI, 81 runs and 17 stolen bases. He was owned in just 59-percent of ESPN leagues in 2009 but his stock is quickly rising in status among shortstops as the position remains pretty thin after superstars like Hanley Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins.
Coming into the season, ESPN recommended that Cabrera drop his status as a switch hitter and move to the right side of the plate thanks to his .349 average against lefties. At the end of ’08, he put together a stretch of time where he batted .320. So, over his last 162 games, he’s batted well over .300.
While the average makes Cabrera likeable for fantasy baseball 2010 – there’s a lot the young shortstop has to develop offensively to be a quality starting shortstop. If Cabrera can log some more steals this season, his value should rise. Right now, however, the crack staff at Fantasy Baseball Dugout doesn’t see Cabrera being much of a starting lineup contributor for fantasy baseball this season.
Last season, seven other shortstops batted over .300. Of those other seven top hitting shortstops, only Erik Aybar likely had less fantasy value than Cabrera. Also, despite a lower average, 8 other shortstops easily trumped Cabrera in more important categories like home runs, runs, and RBI.
Asdrubal Cabrera might be an attractive sleeper pick in 2010, but he should probably be passed on at draft time. Hold out until he gets hot as the weather warms up in the second half of the season. Pick him up and let him carry your average well above .300 in the second half of the year.