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