Everth Cabrera and the Starting Shortstop Position


After a solid 103 game Rookie stint in 2009, Everth Cabrera found himself in the Minor Leagues for most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons and 34 games last year as well.  During his first extended stint with the Padres since his Rookie campaign, Cabrera came back to stick and stay with the big club when he was called up in mid-May.  To his credit, Cabrera had a fine 115 game audition last year, and put his stamp on the starting Shortstop position towards the end of the season.  Overall, Everth started 104 Games at Shortstop and played in 111 total there.  Cabrera also appears to be the odds-on favorite to win the starting job at Shortstop next season as well.  Last week, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Twitter page reported the following:

"#Padres Byrnes said Forsythe will get shot at SS but job is Everth Cabrera’s “to lose”"

It’s apparently Cabrera’s Shortstop spot to lose in 2013. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

And honestly, why doesn’t Everth deserve the chance?  Cabrera was a demon on the base-paths last season, and led the National League in Stolen Bases (44).  Most of Cabrera’s best baseball was played down the stretch and over the final month to month and a half of the 2012 regular season.  During September and October (24 Games), Cabrera stole 19 Bases and had arguably his best month-long stint at the plate of his big league career.  Overall, Everth hit .281 (27 for 96), scored 14 Runs, tallied 3 RBI’s, and most importantly put up a .349 On-Base Percentage as he did most of his damage as the Friars’ leadoff hitter.

In addition to his solid end to the season at the plate, Cabrera also looked improved in the field from his Rookie season as well.  After he committed 23 Errors during 2009, Cabrera looked very much improved with the leather last year as he only committed 16 Errors and saw an increase in his Fielding Percentage from .951 in 2009 (869.2 Innings) to .966 in 2012 (915.1 Innings).  Cabrera has some terrific range in the field, and made some stellar plays like this one here.

If there is any part of Cabrera’s game that he must find a way to work on though, it would be him trying to develop some better plate discipline, especially at the leadoff spot.  Although Cabrera’s leadoff stats (28 Games) in Batting Average (.282, 31 for 110), On-Base Percentage (.352), and Stolen Bases (23) were fantastic.  Cabrera still managed to Strike Out 26 times compared to only 12 Walks at that spot in the batting order, and put up a poor 43 to 110 Walk to Strike Out ratio on the year.  The Padres have not had an effective leadoff hitter for quite some time, and like the Shortstop position, the #1 spot in the Batting Order could be Cabrera’s “to lose” if he realizes his potential.

I know that I will be anxious to see what Cabrera can do if he is indeed given the opportunity to put the clamps on the starting job at Shortstop.  I am sure that Logan Forsythe will definitely have his own say in the Shortstop competition as the tweet states, and Forsythe will probably also be challenging Jedd Gyorko and the versatile Alexi Amarista for extended playing time at Second Base during Spring Training too.

For now though, let’s hope that Cabrera can build off of his solid finish to 2012 and take his new-found chance and run with it.