Leave it to San Francisco Giants fans to get a little over excited about having a league average offense this season. So excited, in fact, they tried to vote the whole lineup in as All-Stars. Who says the All-Star Game couldn't be spiced up with a little Brandon Crawford? Another 300,000 votes, and we would have found out.
One player was deserving of his All-Star nod, however, and that's Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera. Cabrera has been a revelation this season. While Giants fans were dreaming of Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, Cabrera crept into San Francisco unawares. He was a band-aid for a Giants offense that was in desperate need of reconstructive surgery.
This is a guy who flamed out in the Bronx, was cut by the Braves and found himself at age 26 clinging to the big leagues with one last chance in Kansas City. I'll admit, I was not excited. I said so vocally. We rationalized away his 201 hits and 20 SB. "Well, it was in KC."
How good has Melky been this year? He leads the NL with 111 hits. Nobody else even has 100. Melky accounts for 16 percent of the Giants' total hits. He scores one of every five Giants runs. Last year, Giants left fielders contributed 135 hits total. 63 RBI total. And it's been a long time since the Giants had an outfielder who consistently did this.
And don't forget that magical month of May, where Melky single-handedly propped up a struggling Giants lineup by hitting .429 with a Giants record 51 hits in 28 games. With Pablo Sandoval on the DL, and no production coming out of first base, second base and shortstop, Cabrera kept the Giants in the race. When everyone else in the lineup figured it out in June, the Giants swept into first place. All the while, Melky kept hitting.
Can Melky continue this production in the second half? The smart guys say that Melky's .390 BABIP is unsustainable. Apparently, the hits will start finding gloves, not holes. Sure, I guess. What did we use as a statistical buzzkill before the days of BABIP? Last season, Melky actually improved in the second half, hitting .322 after the All-Star break. Given that KC never competed last season, this number should also put to rest historic concerns over Melky's focus and desire.
With a year and a half of solid Melky Cabrera production, it's no use looking at previous seasons. Melky has finally figured it out, and Giants fans are reaping the benefits.
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