Nov 12, 2016

2016 Mets Leader In Hits & Doubles: Short Stop Asdrubal Cabrera (2016)

Asdrubal Jose Cabrera was born November 13th 1985 in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. The six foot, switch hitting middle infielder, was signed as an amateur free agent by the Seattle Mariners in 2002.

In the minors at just 19 years of age, Baseball America named him the best second baseman in the Midwest League. He quickly jumped right up to AAA level.

In 2006 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Eduardo Perez. He began 2007 at AA ball & was fourth in the league in batting by mid summer.  He was brought up to the Indians big league club as a second baseman that August. He contributed to the Indians stretch run, batting .283 as they won the Central Division making it to the ALCS.

Post Season: In his first post season game he hit a two run HR against the AL New York team as the Indians clobbered them 12-3. He hit just .176 in that series. In the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox he drove in four more runs. He would get to one more post season with Cleveland, going 0-4 in the 2013 AL Wild Card Game loss to Tampa.

Cabrera spent eight years in Cleveland making two All Star appearances (2011-2012), having his best season in 2011 when he had 165 hits hitting 25 HRs & 32 doubles with 92 RBIs (all career highs) batting .273. On May 18th that year, he became just the fifth MLB short stop to ever have a five hit, two HR day.

He would hit over .270 four straight seasons with a career best .308 in 2009 playing 131 games. He would hit 30 plus doubles for four straight years as well (2011-2014). On Opening Day 2013 he hit a 5th inning two run HR off Toronto's R.A. Dickey & made a game saving bases loaded double play grab to preserve the 4-1 Indians win.

He would lead all short stops in errors (19) in 2012 but rebounded with the leagues third best fielding % (.982) in 2013.

Trivia: On May 12, 2008 he turned the 14th unassisted triple play in MLB history, it came against the Toronto Blue Jays. He snagged a line drive, touched second forcing Kevin Mench & then tagged Marc Scutaro to complete the play. 

In July of 2014 he was traded to the Washington Nats for Zach Walters, to help the Nats playoff run, replacing Danny Espinosa. He hit 5 HRs with 9 doubles & 21 RBIs in 49 games as the Nats won the NL East. They would get eliminated in the NLDS by the San Francisco Giants. Cabrera hit a HR in the 3-2 Game 31 loss & then drove in a run in Game #3, batting an overall .200.

In 2015 he signed a one year deal with the Tampa Rays, playing as the teams main short stop posting the 4th best fielding % in the AL (.974). His offensive numbers remained relatively consistent the past few years, in 2015 he hit 15 HRs with 28 doubles 66 runs scored 134 hits five triples & a .265 average.

At the 2015 winter meetings, Cabrera signed a two year deal with the New York Mets for $18.5 million. The addition of the thirty year old Cabrera & second baseman Neil Walker the previous day, gave the Mets a strong solid infield with lots of flexibility .

Cabrera proved to be the Mets answer at short stop, playing 135 games there & posting the second best fielding % in the NL, while turning 77 double plays.

He was a great team mate & was the first Met out of the dugout, when a player hit a HR. He would wait at the edge of the dugout, to celebrate the HR, then pull that players helmet off their head & toss it away.

The importance of Cabrera's bat in the Mets line up didn't really start making a difference until about July. He ended the first three months of the season with until 8 HRs & 23 RBIs & a .255 batting average.

He hit his first Mets HR on April 23rd in a 8-2 Mets win at Atlanta. On June 21st he hit his 7th of the year, coming off the Royals Ian Kennedy in a big 2-1 win at Citi Field over Kansas City. The next day he added a two run HR off Danny Duffy, helping the Mets & Noah Syndergaard to a 4-3 win. On July 1st, he hit a pair of HRs & drove in three runs in the Mets 10-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. Later that week he hit HRs in back to back games against the rival Washington Nats.

On July 31, 2016, Cabrera strained the patellar tendon in his left knee while rounding third base in a 6-4 win against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Two days later he was put on the DL & missed almost three weeks of action. In that time the Mets realized how much he was missed. In the time he was gone the Mets fell to their lowest point of the season 60-62 with the wild card seeming like it was never going to happen.

But from the day he arrived back, the rag tag team who had been struck with injuries both on offense as well as pitching, began their incredible stretch run. Cabrera was a huge part of it. He returned  to the line up with bleached blonde hair, on August 19th on the Mets road trip in San Francisco. As the Mets went to take two of three in St. Louis, Cabrera started a stretch where he drove in runs in five straight games, with a total of seven in ten games with at least one RBI.

On August 23rd he hit two HRs n the Mets 9-4 win at Philadelphia & then added another the next day, In that week he had 12 hits in six games raising his average to .270. He began September with HRs in back to back games although the Mets lost both. He went on to a ten game hit streak & hit safely in fifteen of sixteen games, getting his average to .281. He was the NL Player of the Week in that final week of August.

Quotes: Manager Terry Collins- "I don't know where we'b be without him". In the five weeks after his return he was one of the top hitters in the NL batting .364 with 9 HRs & 22 RBIs.

He was arguably the heart & soul of the team, playing with the injured leg through pain while inspiring the rest of the squad. Before games he wrapped the knee & after games he iced it up. Cabrera said in Spanish: “With my experience, I think I’ve earned that respect from the team and from my teammates. I always try to boost everyone’s spirits.”

On September 22nd he had his most dramatic moment of the year, hitting a three run walk off HR, off Edubray Ramos of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 11th inning leading the Mets to a 9-8 win to stay atop the wild card lead in the NL. On Sunday September 25th, the Mets beat the Phillies 17-0 the biggest lopsided win in team history.

In the 7th inning, Cabrera hit a grand slam HR, his 23rd HR of the season, as the Mets continued to win. In the emotional Mets Marlins game at Florida, after the tragic death of Jose Fernandez, Cabrera had two hits & drove in a pair of runs in the Met loss.

2016 Wild Card Game: Cabrera got one of the four Mets hits off the San Francisco Giants; Madison Bumgarner in the wild card game & also drew a walk.

Cabrera would tie with Yoenis Cespedes for the teams best batting average (.280). He would lead the team in hits (146) & doubles (30) while coming in second with 62 RBIs.

He played in 141 games,  hit 23 HRs scored 65 runs stole 5 bases & posted a .336 on base %. He walked just 38 times & struck out 103 times.

In his ten year career he has hit .269 with 1253 hits 125 HRs 278 doubles 23 triples 386 walks 626 runs scored & 905 strike outs with a .329 on base% in 1247 games. He has played 1001 games at short 210 games at second  one at third & was a DH 21 times.

Family: Asdrubal & his wife Lismar have two children. Cabrera earned the nickname Pearls due to the fact he wears a white beaded necklace his wife made for him.



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