Asdrubal Cabrera Signs With Rangers

Though it might feel like he’s older, Asdrubal Cabrera will be entering just his age 33 season. It will happen while in a Rangers uniform, as he signed a one-year deal with the club on Tuesday. This makes it his sixth team in six seasons. Despite moving all around the country, he has remained pretty consistent offensively. How might the move to Globe Life Park (GLP) affect his stable performance? Let’s check the park factors, comparing GLP to Citi Field (Mets), as he spent the majority of last season in New York.

Park Factor Comparison
Team SO BB GB FB LD IFFB 1B 2B 3B HR Basic
Mets 102 101 97 101 98 110 95 96 87 99 94
Rangers 98 104 100 100 103 98 104 98 110 101 108
-Park factors are from the FanGraphs 2017 page
-Park factors are already halved to account for only half the games played at home
-1B, 2B, 3B, HR factors are calculated for switch-hitters; the rest are for all hitters

It’s a clean sweep! You don’t find this often, but it sure makes the analysis a whole lot easier.

We’ll start with the plate discipline factors. GLP slightly suppressed strikeouts, while Citi inflated them. Cabrera’s strikeout rate has remained remarkably consistent throughout his career, never dropping below 14.1% and never exceeding 20.3%. However, his rate did jump last year to the second highest mark of his career, supported by a SwStk% that surged to its third highest mark. There could be aging effects here, so the move to GLP could help damper those effects.

Both parks boosted walks, but GLP did so by a greater degree. Typically, hitters will increase their walk rates as they age, but that hasn’t happened here. Just once has Cabrera’s walk rate gotten into double digits, and that was during a partial season all the way back in 2008. Ever since, his walk rates have typically, though not always, sat below the league average. A more favorable park for walks could raise his runs scored opportunities.

Let’s talk batted ball type and BABIP. GLP boosted line drives (versus Citi which suppressed them), while simultaneously suppressing pop-ups (IFFB), the perfect pair to raise BABIP. Citi was actually a pop-up hitter’s nightmare as it increased that batted ball type by 20%! Sticking with the BABIP theme, we find that GLP also inflates singles, while Citi suppresses them. All together, these factors have serious BABIP boosting effects. Cabrera’s BABIP has jumped around like most batters, but generally been around the league average, sporting a career mark just above the average. At the very least, this move should push his BABIP back above .300.

GLP also wins for doubles and triples factors, and while the triples factor is rather meaningless for Cabrera, the doubles factor is not. He has hit at least 30 doubles in seven of the last eight seasons, so he could take advantage at more friendly surroundings. Of course, the doubles factors are pretty close, so he’s not going to gain all that much.

Surprisingly, the home run factors are much closer than I expected. It’s possible that relative to the league, GLP has become less home run friendly. It’s still a bit more home run friendly than Citi was, but the difference here shouldn’t mean much for Cabrera’s projection.

Overall, this is a clear win for Cabrera’s projection. His BABIP forecast should get a bump, while his strikeout and walk rate should improve marginally. All those improvements should also drive his counting stats slightly higher. All in all, this should lead to an extra couple of bucks of value.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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3 years ago

Also the fact that he is in a lineup without a pitcher hitting must help.