|I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at the prospect of using Melky Cabrera as our everyday replacement for the wounded Matsui and Sheffield. Those are mighty big cleats to fill, and minor league Yankees have made a habit out of folding under the pressure of the pinstripes when they’re brought up to the Bronx. Indeed, just last year Melky was called up for 6 games, and despite being one of the most dominating minor league hitters he was severely outmatched when placed in a major league outfield or opposite a major league pitcher. In 19 at-bats Melky collected 4 hits (all singles) and no walks, before the Yanks shipped him back to Columbus in favor of more Bubba time.
This year, though, Melky is a year older and a year wiser, and he’s doing everything he can to make an impression on Torre. He’s played in 18 games this season, and he’s hitting a very cool .328, including 3 doubles and 1 triple. Even more impressing is his OBP, which is currently .406; he’s taken 8 base-on-balls in 61 at-bats. Plate discipline is one of the last skills one expects to see from a 21-year-old kid with minimal major league experience, but it looks like our little Melky’s got the goods. Seeing kids succeed in the majors after rising up through the Yankees’ farm system is an all too rare experience, and that alone endears players like Melky and Cano to the fans’ hearts; Melky has the entire fanbase (and his team) rooting for him and reveling in his excellent performance. The Yanks may not have Lastings Milledge or Delmon Young waiting in the wings, but rookies like Cano and Melky are certainly helping to put a better face to the Yankees farm system.