The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by MLB.com lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and national editor Matthew Leach. To hear the rest of their relievers discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.
Leach: Let's start with one of the biggest names -- and for a long time one of the absolute stalwarts of fantasy baseball: Miguel Cabrera is off to a rough start. And he's at the point of his career where you start worrying a little bit. I don't think anybody thinks that Miguel Cabrera is gonna just vanish, but you look at the guy that we've sort of paralleled him to for years, Albert Pujols, and he's about at the age that Pujols started his decline, and started changing from an all-around elite hitter to a power hitter who is not an all-around elite hitter. What is your level of concern with Cabrera -- not for going off a cliff, but for no longer being a top-tier all-around hitter?
Zinkie: I'm not that concerned. A little bit, because as you said, there is some precedent here and a nice comparable for him. Actually, you paint a really good picture. Because when I look at Cabrera's advanced stats, he's still hitting the ball hard often, he's still hitting the ball in the air often. What he is also doing, though, is striking out more often, which could lead to that transition toward not a .300 hitter, but still a fairly powerful hitter.
That being said, he's kind of been in and out of injuries early this season, and he's just been so good I don't want to write him off at a time when he maybe just hasn't found his groove yet. We saw the same with Jose Bautista striking out so often in April and then has found his stroke in May. If we can give Bautista a bit of a break, we can probably give Cabrera a bit of a break. I think he's a buy-low guy right now.
Leach: I agree. I think we're sort of in the same place on him. I think you kind of have to acknowledge at this point, particularly as the strikeouts pile up, that the days of Miguel Cabrera hitting .320, .330 are probably past, and he probably is beginning that path to where he's not the same hitter he was. But he's been unbelievably unlucky on contact this year, based on a Statcast™ measure that takes expected Weighted On-base Average based on quality of contact, relative to actual Weighted On-base Average, he's been the unluckiest hitter in baseball.
Now, he was also one of the unluckiest hitters in baseball by that same measure last year, so there may be something else going on -- to do with his home ballpark, his lack of speed, any number of things. It is certainly possible that there's more going on there, and it's not just unlucky. But still, he is particularly unlucky by that measure this year, and while the strikeouts are a concern, I'm with you: I think he is a guy to get on board now.