With another year of fantasy baseball looming, I felt the urge to find a fantasy related topic to explore. I’ve also been playing a lot of Mortal Kombat lately, (greatly anticipating Mortal Kombat: Legacy season 2 coming in April) so the idea of pitting two players against each other seemed like a natural fit.
Melky Cabrera and Alex Gordon seem strikingly similar to me. ESPN fantasy preseason rankings (generated to give some order for the draft day madness) semi-reflect it by ranking Gordon at 84 and Cabrera at 98. Personally, I see both as fringe top 100 guys and I’m rather intrigued with these players.
Here is how both players fared over the past three seasons for the 8 hitting categories my 16 team rotisserie fantasy league tracks. I was lazy and didn’t take the time to calculate each players OBP (On-Base Percentage) over the three season course. I can tell both are good without seeing the exact number.
Know oneself – ROUND 1 – FIGHT!
Hall of fame football coach Bill Parcells said it best, “You are what you are.” Parcells said that referring to his teams win/loss record at any time during a season, but it can easily be applied to this argument too. Surface value, both Cabrera and Gordon seem to be viable players that are trending up and entering the prime of their careers. The elephant in the room here is the Melky Cabrera PED case. Who exactly is Melky? Is he the guy who has blown up over the past season and a half? Or is he actually the guy nobody gave a damn about before he starting using PED’s to pump up his stats. Gordon may have been slow to join the party at the big league level, but at least we know who he is and what he is capable of. Like life, trust is a major factor in fantasy and that’s why Alex Gordon edges out a round one win.
Know their surroundings – ROUND 2 – FIGHT!
“Always mind your surroundings.” Those words of wisdom were given to Bruce Wayne from Ra’s al Ghul in Chistopher Nolan’s movie “Batman Begins”. That sentiment plays nicely in the realm of fantasy baseball as well. Alex Gordon’s surroundings have the potential to be lethal, but most of his compadres are young stars in waiting or players who are on the cusp of fulfilling long-awaited expectations. No one for Kansas City has actually been a proven anchor for a line-up (Please don’t give me the tired Billy Butler argument). The Toronto Blue Jays on the other hand have a roster that is expected to win the AL East. With Jose Reyes leading off and Jose Bautista hitting in the 3 hole, Melky has an enviable position hitting second. Plus, some hitters behind Bautista have put up 25 homer seasons in the past (Encarnacion, Lind). Melky Cabrera gets the check mark in round two.
Splitting hairs – ROUND 3 – FIGHT!
I thought about running with the splitting hairs pun and chatting about player splits like home/road or righty/lefty. But even I don’t heavily rely on those stats throughout the season, why should I bother you with them? This is a simple case taking what we know from the first two rounds and adding one element: Which player helps a fantasy owner the most and hurts them the least? With only 30ish games separating each players stat totals over the past three years, even a common eye can tell that the results are very similar. The only glaring difference is the strikeouts. Gordon has struck out 120 more times than Cabrera in 29 fewer games. Even before Melky got all roided up, he wasn’t striking out nearly the rate Gordon was. And that, my friends, is the toasty-worthy uppercut that ends the debate in my book.
Just a personal feeling, but I do believe Melky is more the player who broke out compared to the nobody of three seasons ago.
Melky Cabrera wins.