Indians 2014 preview and predictions: Asdrubal Cabrera

Asdrubal Cabrera - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off his worst season, what will Asdrubal Cabrera be like in 2014? Will he still be in Cleveland by the end of the year?

This post is part of a contest in which you could win a free Let's Go Tribe t-shirt. In order to enter, just copy and paste the template at the bottom of this post into the comments, then fill in each category with your own prediction for how this player will do in 2014. Position players and pitchers will be featured as two separate contests. You need not submit predictions for every single player in either contest in order to win, but doing so will increase your chances, as points will be awarded separately for each player.

For position players, you'll be asked to predict each player's plate appearances (PA), home runs (HR), stolen bases (SB), batting average (BA), on-base percentage (OBP), and slugging percentage (SLG).

Find every previous entry in the series here.

The comments on each post in this series will remain open through Saturday, March 29.

Asdrubal Cabrera

2013 Recap

Cabrera's 2013 campaign can be summed up by one single moment: In the fourth inning of the Indians' pivotal Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Asdrubal entered the batter's box with the bases loaded. Cabrera took a pitch, then swung weakly at an Alex Cobb breaking ball and ground right into an inning-ending double play that extinguished the Tribe's momentum and ultimately their season. It was a defining moment for Cabrera and many fans will not forget it anytime soon. The 28 year-old shortstop had an awful year batting with runners in scoring position, hitting just .197. It was painful to watch him struggle so badly and he finished with a line of .242/.299/.402; a disappointing season by all accounts.

Recent Stats

Year Age Tm G PA H 2B 3B HR SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2011 25 CLE 151 667 165 32 3 25 17 44 119 .273 .332 .460 .792 121
2012 26 CLE 143 616 150 35 1 16 9 52 99 .270 .338 .423 .762 114
2013 27 CLE 136 562 123 35 2 14 9 35 114 .242 .299 .402 .700 98

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

2014 Preview and Projections

The golden days of 2011 seem a distant memory and it's unlikely we'll see Cabrera reach those heights again in the near future. However, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he regains some of that former glory; he's only 28 (the youthful Jason Kipnis is 26), an age still considered to be a player's prime years. The real question is how long does Cabrera last in Cleveland: If he does magically recapture some of that 2011 form and gets off to a hot start, the Indians would be silly not to cash in. A team like the Yankees could be the perfect suitor, especially if Derek Jeter's health deteriorates further. Yet again for Cabrera, a mid-season trade remains a distinct possibility.

Here are a variety of projections for Cabrera's 2014 season, all of which are available on his player page at FanGraphs, where you can find more detail, if you're so inclined:

System PA HR SB BA OBP SLG
Steamer 524 13 8 .257 .318 .403
Oliver 600 15 9 .245 .304 .389
ZiPS 609 17 11 .258 .318 .418

My Two Cents

I think Cabrera is likely to remain the Tribe's starting shortstop for the majority of the season, playing out the final year of his contract before seeking new pastures in 2015. There's a strong possibility he'll be traded though, if a shortstop-needy contender comes calling. The Indians should pull the trigger in this case and get what they can. Nonetheless, his time in Cleveland is running out and the club will let him leave after the season rather than pay him to stick around. It would make no sense at all to extend Cabrera with Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings, a player who is likely to be better and cheaper. Performance-wise, I think Cabrera can't possibly be any worse than 2013 and might even improve a bit during his contract year, so mark me down for 600 plate appearances, with 16 home runs, 13 stolen bases, and a .260/.320/.419 line.

Your Turn

You're welcome just to pull numbers out of thin air, but if you want to commute the rate stats more scientifically, here are some easy to use links that will help you with batting average, with on-base percentage, and with slugging percentage.

To submit your entry, simply copy-and-paste the text below into a new comment, then fill in your predictions:

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