Since joining the Yankees lineup, Oswaldo Cabrera has been fun for everyone to enjoy. His lively personality and embrace of the New York Yankees fanbase have helped fans through this very trying time. The postseason is on the horizon, and plenty players are looking to come back from the injured list, which means there will be odd men out. Players like Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu have made their way before but don’t look like themselves, giving players like Cabrera more chance to prove themselves.
Being able to play different positions is a huge positive for Cabrera. One would assume being able to play in the outfield and infield well defensively should help him in the eyes of manager Aaron Boone. Specifically, in right field, he has shown the amount of value he can provide, which will come in handy.
Cabrera in right field has 7 DRS and 0 OAA, along with 2 DRS and 1 OAA at shortstop. He has played third and second base defensively, but he has zeroes across the board in those positions. The 7 DRS in right field sits tied for 14th among all outfield positions with Max Kepler, Jose Siri, Eli White, and Nate Eaton. In terms of only right fielders, he sits eighth, which is extremely impressive.
Despite the 0 OAA in right field, everyone knows the kind of highlight reel plays Cabrera has pulled off. From robbing a home run to gunning down players trying for second base, there’s reason to be excited when this young gun takes to the outfield grass. The tweet below goes even further to showcase how impressive he has been:
Oswaldo Cabrera among RFs:— Fireside Yankees (@FiresideYankees) September 6, 2022
- +7 DRS (8th)
- +3 rARM (5th)
- 4 Outfield Assists (T-14th)
- 3.0 UZR (9th)
In just 91.0 innings in RF, Oswaldo Cabrera has become one of the 10 best defensive RFs in the entire sport. Did I mention he's an infielder? #NYY #RepBX pic.twitter.com/Kg7BzOCcm9
The story around Cabrera would be one thing if he was only a positive defender in one part of the field. But the fact that management and fans don’t have to be worried about him in any position is huge, especially when the Yankees have found ways to hurt themselves through defensive play more than one time over this rollercoaster of a season.
Injuries continue to be a problem for the Yankees, and with a player like Cabrera on the bench, if something were to happen (knock on wood) in the postseason or a player needs a rest day, he can be of plenty use. The only concern would be what kind of value he’s providing at the plate. As of now, his batting numbers are nothing to brag about. The young utility player is slashing .192/.231/.260 with an OPS+ of 41. Despite the walk-off hit against the Minnesota Twins, his numbers dropped slightly over the double header as he went 2-for-10 with two strikeouts and no walks. Luckily, growing pains are normal. The 23-year-old has not looked strong offensively, but there is still plenty of time to adjust before the postseason arrives.
Not only is Cabrera a strong defender, but he’s also a switch-hitter. Despite the poor numbers at the plate, the Yankees do have a switch-hitting backup option if they don’t trust the likes of Aaron Hicks, given his offensive and defensive struggles. Cabrera doesn’t look overmatched much, either, which is a good sign. So, his defensive capabilities are there if the team doesn’t trust a player or someone gets hurt, and his ability to make the lineup more diverse as a switch hitter also exists.
Playing multiple positions and hitting on both sides of the plate will benefit players in the major leagues. Despite not having much overall MLB experience and some poor at-bat numbers, there is plenty of reason to give him a chance in the postseason lineup. The experience alone for a mature young player will serve him well in the future.