Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Miguel Cabrera: Fat or phat?

I'm not seeing a lot of love for Miguel Cabrera this year for some reason. In the mock draft podcast we did last week, he fell out of the top 10 and all the way to 16th (average draft position in ESPN leagues: 11). And in a buddy of mine's draft the other day, Cabrera fell to him at the 17th overall pick. Seventeenth!

No doubt a lot of the bad feelings stem from last year's embarrassing binge drinking/domestic dispute episode that coincided with the Tigers coming up short in heated pennant chase. Combine that with Cabrera's oft-mentioned struggles with his weight (listed at 6-foot-4, 240 this year), and I believe that's causing some trepidation among fantasy drafters.

But Miggy has since undergone alcohol counseling and says he's given up drinking and already feels healthier. He's been incredibly durable over his career, never having played fewer than 157 games in a season since becoming a full-timer. And his numbers ... oh, those numbers.

Cabrera's averaged 33 homers and 117 RBIs a season since breaking into the league in 2003. He's a career .311 hitter. His career OPS is .925. He hit .324 last year, his highest average in three years. And he's only 26 years old! Check out his career stats compared to some other ballplayers through age 26 and notice a few of the names: Ken Griffey, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle ...

Sure, there are a few knocks against Cabrera, and not just over his fitness level. The Tigers lineup, while good on paper, hasn't quite been durable or fearsome. And he'd be more valuable if he had stayed at 3B, a shallower position, than switching to 1B. But ultimately, the pros outweigh (pun intended) the cons, and Cabrera belongs in the top 10 or just below it in 2010.

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