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Pittsburgh Pirates should take a chance on Mauricio Cabrera

Thursday 12 July, 2018 | RSS Feed

Pittsburgh Pirates should take a chance on Mauricio Cabrera

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It was not that long ago that Mauricio Cabrera looked like a key part of the Atlanta Braves future bullpen. Armed with a 102 MPH fastball, Cabrera had a solid 2016 campaign, posting a 2.82 ERA and notching six saves. Even though he issued 19 walks with only 32 strikeouts in his 39.1 innings, there was hope that the then 22 year old could emerge as a dominant setup man at the very minimum.

However, Cabrera never progressed as the Braves had expected. He was sent back to the minors to start 2017, where everything fell apart. Cabrera lost his command, and then his velocity. Demoted all the way down to the Florida State League this season, he continued to be pummeled. Given that lack of production, the Braves released the once promising righty.
But one teams trash could be another team’s treasure. Enter the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the past few years, the Pirates have developed a reputation as a team that can rebuild the shattered value of once promising pitchers. Not only has pitching coach Ray Searage turned into this generation’s Leo Mazzone, but the Pirates have done a solid job developing pitchers in the minors.

They would have their work cut out for them with Cabrera. In three minor league stops in 2017, he posted a 6.20 ERA and a 1.800 WHiP, striking out 39 batters, but issuing 46 walks in his 45 innings. Those numbers were even worse before he was released, as Cabrera had an 11.03 ERA and a 2.710 WHiP. In his 31 innings, Cabrera managed 27 batters, but he also issued 41 walks.

It is possible that Cabrera never gets back to his previous form, turning into another Daniel Bard, or Rick Ankiel before his transformation into an outfielder. Yet, his brief time in the Dominican Winter League, when he struck out six batters in his three innings, gives hope. He may have had three walks in that time, but he showed swing and miss stuff. If a team took a chance, and could figure out a way to fix his command, Cabrera would be quite a bargain.

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