Asdrubal Cabrera’s career took a dramatic turn for the worse in 2013, and it partially stemmed from an issue that’s been brewing over the past few seasons.
Cabrera struggled mightily in two-strike counts last season, especially against right-handed pitching. While it’s an obvious concern, what makes it even more worrisome is the fact that he’s been on a downward trend in two-strike situations over the past few seasons.
In 2010, Cabrera posted a .280 two-strike OBP against righties which was well above the league average of .256. But over the past three seasons, he has continued to fall back towards the league average until it dropped all the way down to .230 last season.
Among other lefties facing right-handed pitching, Cabrera’s .230 OBP in two-strike counts ranked as the seventh worst in all of baseball.
So how can Cabrera change his approach?
The issue may stem from the fact that Cabrera hasn’t been taking what’s given him. In 2010, 54 percent of the pitches Cabrera saw in two-strike counts were fastballs, primarily on the outer portion of the strike zone. Cabrera responded with a high percentage of ground balls going to the opposite field.
But while Cabrera has seen fewer fastballs in the years since, his groundball rate his plummeted and his pull percentage his risen.
It’s certainly possible that other issues are at play, but it’s clear that Cabrera’s two-strike approach isn’t working.
Hopefully an altered approach allows Cabrera to regain his All-Star form in 2014.