Melky Cabrera is a polarizing figure among Yankees fans. His effusive nature and obvious love of the game endears him to some fans, while his inconsistent play infuriates others. As Joe at RAB states:
I don’t think I’ll ever understand Melky Cabrera. Some times he looks like he could be an average starting center fielder, getting on base at a decent clip, though not with much power, and playing a solid if unspectacular defense. Plus, his arm doesn’t hurt his case. Other times he looks like he can’t catch up to a Jamie Moyer fastball. We saw way too much of the latter last year, so that’s what most people remember. There was a time when Melky had quite a few more advocates.
However, whatever you think about Melky, it is important to remember that he is only 24. People often forget that he was in the majors for good at 21, and view him as a finished product. Take Mark Feinsand’s blog post from yesterday, for example:
Melky Cabrera had a great day with two homers, including the game-winner in the 14th, but let’s not all start the campaign for him to be the center fielder again. This guy showed over three years what his ceiling was, so don’t let four homers this week make you believe he’s going to break out and become the next Bernie Williams. Melky is a fourth outfielder – and a very good one – but the Yankees know that playing him every day would only expose his flaws.
Considering that many players do not even see the majors until they hit Melky’s current age, I think that it is difficult to say that he has reached his ceiling. I do not think that Melky is going to be a great center fielder, or even a starter for a championship caliber club. However, to declare that we know where his career is going because he spent his developmental years in the majors rather than the minors is silly. At 24, I think it is reasonable to suggest that Melky could possibly have another gear.
What do you think about Melky?