- Full name Melky Cabrera
- Born 08/11/1984 in Bajos De Haina, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: S / Throws: L
- Debut 07/07/2005
Organization Prospect Rankings
Failing on a stage as public as center field for the Yankees in a series against the Red Sox would kill most prospects' confidence. That's what happened with Cabrera, whom New York turned to in June to fill in for an injured Bernie Williams. Cabrera was overwhelmed, misplaying a Trot Nixon liner into an inside-the-park home run and looking lost at the plate. He was demoted to Triple-A Columbus after just six games and carried his struggles with him, and his performance there prompted a return to Double-A. Cabrera's bat is his best tool. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and a handsy swing that allows him to hammer breaking balls. He could use a better trigger to help him catch up to good fastballs and hit for more power. Cabrera needs to be more aggressive and get better jumps to be an average center fielder, and a dose of confidence wouldn't hurt. He profiles defensively as a corner outfielder but doesn't have the power to play there regularly in the majors at this point. He'll return to Triple-A this year and could rejoin the Yankees as an extra outfielder.
Cabrera signed for $175,000 in 2001 and has quickly developed into one of the organization's better hitters. He was slated to appear in the Midwest League's all-star game before getting a promotion to high Class A, where he showed the best power of his career. Cabrera's swing and hand-eye coordination make him the best hitter for average in the system. One club official compared his offensive game to Jose Vidro's. Cabrera has a quick stroke from both sides of the plate, with quick hands that allow him to catch up to quality fastballs. He punishes breaking balls and lashes line drives from gap to gap. He has an above-average throwing arm. An average runner, Cabrera projects as no more than an average defender in center field. There's some thought that as he matures physically and slows down, he'll have to move to an outfield corner. His approach and swing are geared more toward line drives and contact, so he doesn't profile as well on a corner. The Yankees have time to figure out where Cabrera fits. His advanced approach will enable him to begin 2005 in Double-A.
The Yankees often get the equivalent of a No. 1 overall draft pick on the international market. This has worked in their favor (Jose Contreras, Orlando Hernandez, Hideki Matsui, Alfonso Soriano), as well as against them (Adrian Hernandez, Jackson Melian, Andy Morales, Wily Mo Pena). New York has the money to brush off mistakes, but hopes to prevent further big-money blunders. While the Yankees will continue to be players for top international free agents, they're concentrating on signing more players for less money. Dioner Navarro's $260,000 and Cabrera's $175,000 bonus represent significant signings, but they hardly dent New York's budget. Dominican scout/summer league hitting coach Freddy Tiburcio discovered Cabrera in 2001. His first three at-bats at the Dominican academy produced a line drive, a homer and a double. A gap hitter from both sides of the plate, Cabrera has a good foundation of plate discipline. He profiles as a No. 2 hitter, has a natural feel for the barrel of the bat and makes consistent contact to all fields. He shows occasional pop. A good athlete with 4.2-second speed down the first-base line, Cabrera is the system's best defensive outfielder and has a plus arm. He'll make his full-season debut in low Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Though he was one of the league's youngest regulars at age 19, the MWL didn't present much of a challenge to Cabrera. He earned a promotion to the high Class A Florida State League before the end of May, and he started to show over-the-fence power once he moved up. Cabrera's hand-eye coordination ranked with Kendrick's, and he also trusts his hands and doesn't try to do too much at the plate. He should hit 18-20 homers annually as he matures physically. He needs to draw more walks, though he's handicapped by his ability to make contact. Cabrera's speed, arm and outfield range are all average. He played center field this year but may fit better defensively in left once he reaches the majors.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Eastern League in 2005
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the New York Yankees in 2005
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the New York Yankees in 2005