Friday, June 8, 2007

Call Me Crazy ...

This may sound like a stretch, but if you're in need of an outfielder in your fantasy league, and you're finding the waiver wire a little thin, take a look at Melky Cabrera.

I know what you're thinking: 'Wait, Melky Cabrera? Isn't he a fourth outfielder for the Yankees? Why the hell would I want a guy who doesn't play every day?'

With Jason Giambi's heel injury and/or pending suspension and Johnny Damon's lingering leg problems, Yankee manager Joe Torre is committed to playing Cabrera in centerfield every day (his range and throwing arm are much better than Damon's - hell, my arm is better than Damon's).

Cabrera filled in very nicely for the Hideki Matsui in 2006, but coming into this season, he wasn't assured of a consistent spot in the lineup because the entire outfield was healthy and Giambi was slated to DH full-time. Melky started off very slow this season, most likely because he was just trying not to lose his job.

But now that the door has opened again due to injury, Cabrera seems poised to re-gain his form from last season (he scored 75 runs, drove in 50 and stole 12 bases in 130 games). Melky is also a switch-hitter, which means he'll start against most lefties and righties ... plus he can bat 9th (in which case Damon would be behind him) ... or he could bat leadoff or second, which means Derek Jeter or Bobby Abreu will be backing him up.

I'm not saying you should drop a prime player for Melky, but if you're in a deep league of 10 or more teams with a lot of roster spots - or ESPECIALLY if you belong to an A.L. ONLY league, take a look at Cabrera. Heading into New York's weekend series with the Pirates, Melky has hit in 7 of 8 games - including 5 multi-hit efforts.

With the Yankee offense finally starting to come around, you could be looking at a hidden gem that will provide you with some power and speed for the rest of the season.


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