clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Top 50 Rays Prospects: No. 17, Genesis Cabrera

Southpaw Genesis Cabrera brought his ERA under 3.00 for the first time this season. (Joshua Tjiong/MiLB.com)
Joshua Tjiong/MiLB.com

Genesis Cabrera is one of the youngest of the international pitching talents the Rays have added in recent years. He has been pushed faster than most and may reach Triple-A before his 22nd birthday.

No.17, LHP Genesis Cabrera, 21 years old

Born: October 10th, 1996 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Height/Weight: 6’1” 170 lbs Bats/Throws: L/L

Signed: by the Rays for an unknown amount in 2013, by Carlos Batista and Danny Santana

Twitter handle: @cabreragenesis0

Twitter profile statement: “Professional of Tampa bay rays organization and Tigres del Licey, IG; genesiscabrera04 SC; joelcabrera01”

Baseball America Rankings

  • Ranked as the 14th best Rays prospect post 2017

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 13th
  • Low: 37th

Genesis Cabrera: Abilities

  • Above-average control
  • FB ranges 93 to 97 MPH, more effective at lower levels with more movement
  • Plus cutter/slider that works 86 to 89 MPH
  • Feel for a change up that could become plus
  • Mound presence beyond his years, trusts his stuff

Grades for ‘18 (Pipeline): FB: 60 | SL: 55 | CH: 45 | Ctl: 50 | Overall: 45

  • Abilities notes: Steve Watson — the Charlotte Stone Crabs pitching coach in 2017, had this to say about Cabrera’s changes in 2017,

“He’d get too quick with his delivery at times,” “He doesn’t allow himself to get back on his back leg to a balance point, and he would open up early and let his arm drag and get underneath pitches. But he just learned to slow himself down a bit to feel his balance point and continue to drive the baseball on line to the catcher’s glove.”.

Joined the Rays by way of...

The international signing route, needing only 19 starts (just over 46 IP) thereafter between the Dominican Summer League and the Appalachian League before heading to Bowling Green (Low-A) as a 19-year-old. To put that in perspective, Alex Colome — a fellow Santo Domingo native — was signed at the same age but only made it to Bowling Green at 21 years old.

The same holds true for a more recent example, LHP Jose Alvarado, who only reached Bowling Green at 21.

With Genesis Cabrera being well ahead of schedule you would think he has plenty of time to figure things out, but international signing rules are such that he’ll be exposed in the Rule 5 draft if not added to the 40-man roster this season (per Roster Reference). So he’ll need to show well to be added or risk being exposed, with the former being more likely at this point.

Latest Transaction: assigned to Montgomery (Double-A) from Charlotte (High-A) June 26th, 2017

Note - Anticipate seeing Cabrera moved to Triple-A early on in 2018 if he shows well enough as he has enough experience to be tested at the next level and the Rays will likely want to see how well he performs there before adding him to the 40-man.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

  • Mid-season all-star in Bowling Green (2016).
  • Was 3rd youngest starter in the FSL in 2017 (those with 40+ IP). Despite this, he was 7th in lowest average against and tied Mitch Keller of the Pirates with a 1.00 WHIP while there.
  • Once in the Southern League, Cabrera was 5th youngest behind only Mike Soroka, Luiz Gohara, and Kolby Allard of the Braves, and Jaime Barria of the Angels.
  • Was noted for a potential “impact change up” here by Eric Longenhagen.
  • Baseball Census have a write up on Genesis available here.
  • I noted his debut in Bowling Green, obviously coming off as a huge fan of his, which I still am.
  • Ranked 19th by Prospects1500 and 22nd by MLB Pipeline pre-2018.

Stats

Genesis Cabrera 2017

GP 25
GP 25
GS 24
IP 134
W 9
L 9
Sv (SvO) 0 (0)
H 120
BB 52
SO 111
HR 9
AvgA 0.235
Whip 1.280
BAbip 0.284
LOB% 73.2%
GB% 35.9%
FB% 44.5%
HR/FB% 4.1%

Stats Notes: An oddity from 2017 in Double-A is that Genesis threw 34.2 innings at home, only allowing 27 hits (.214 avg), 1.24 WHIP, while striking out 29. The road is where he struggled over 30 innings of work, allowing 48 hits (.366 avg), 1.97 WHIP, and striking out 22. A similar issue was experienced in 2016 while in Low-A, when he allowed a .229 avg at home and .276 on the road. Something to look at in 2018 to see whether or not it continues.

Interesting Comparison: Jose Quintana

Both Quintana and Cabrera are LHP who stand 6’1”, and although Quintana weighs 220 lbs (or so) today, he was actually shorter (6’0”) when first called up by the White Sox.

Their roads to The Show (presuming Cabrera gets there) could not be more different. First and foremost, Cabrera got to LoA level well before Quintana did (19 yrs old vs 21 yrs old). Secondly, Quintana saw his first AA action at 23 yrs old, while Cabrera was 20 yrs old when first tested at the level.

Having said that, the focus here is on how they look in MLB and the arsenal should be fairly similar aside from Quintana using a 34 slot and Cabrera being more over-the-top.

Going back to when Quintana broke into MLB, and using Brooks Baseball graphs for Quintana, we can see that both Quintana worked in the low to mid-90s with his fastballs and had secondary stuff that included a strong cutter and change up — as is the case with Cabrera. Quintana did have a curve that he threw fairly regularly but aside from that the arsenals are similar.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

Sometimes scouts can drive you mad, and Cabrera is an example of when their skepticism can go a little overboard. What you hear in Cabrera’s case are questions about his remaining a starter due to lack of a downward plane. I have so many issues with such hogwash.

First of all, he’s 21 years old in Double-A — how about we give the kid a chance to show us what he looks like when more polished? Second of all, he’s 6’1”, not under 6’0”, which is plenty — plenty — of height for a starter. Using the previously noted example of Quintana, Carlos Martinez, who stands 6’0”, and Luis Severino, who stands 6’2” as examples, we can see that height should not be a barrier to anticipating Cabrera remains a starter going forward. Let’s ignore that for now, shall we?

Because if what we’re rating here is stuff and potential of that stuff alone, Cabrera should by all accounts remain a starter, and a fine one at that.

If we want to point to areas of improvement instead, one thing Cabrera will need to improve in order to remain a starter is to gain strength and perform at a high level all season long.

Looking back at 2016, when he added 99 innings as compared to the previous season’s total, he dominated in the first half of the Bowling Green season with a stellar 1.98 ERA, 1.19 whip, and .223 average against, yet fell back to a 5.58 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, and .282 average against in the second half.

The same thing occurred in 2017, when he added another 18 innings and began the year in Charlotte (High-A) where he maintained a 2.84 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and .183 average against. In the second half, in Montgomery (Double-A), that fell to an almost identical to 2016’s second half level with a 3.62 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, and .283 average against.

Cabrera’s lacking second half results should not be seen as a weakness, however, as they also point to a strength. Despite seemingly being out of gas, Cabrera battled through those starts and went 5-4 in Double-A. He also managed enough through his first seven starts in Double-A to indicate how effectively he can handle that level. Cabrera had lasted 5 or more innings in those 7 starts and only gave up more than 2 runs on a single occasion (4 ER). He also missed enough bats to strike out 32 in 41 IP. All of these are positives to build on going forward.

And that’s where Cabrera will begin 2018, trying to build on encouraging aspects of his 2017 season, once again in Double-A. With experience behind him and more openings than expected ahead of him now that the Rays are using a shuttle of starters in relief roles, there’s a very good chance he gets a look in Triple-A at some point this season.

Placing a ceiling on Cabrera at this point is hard to do, but if he adds the strength required to remain a starter long-term and improves his change up as expected there’s no reason to doubt his ability to start. His floor is definitely one of a very effective left-handed reliever, but his ceiling is much, much higher — as in Jose Quintana (No. 2 starter) higher.

Along with the previously ranked Brock Burke and Resly Linares, Cabrera provides the Rays with intriguing LHP options in the near future. Look for him to step on the Trop’s mound at some point in 2019. He’ll need to sharpen his command and increase his over strength to remain a starter, and Rays will look to continue building on both before deciding on a role.

Genesis Cabrera: Spotlight Videos

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 55 Rays Prospects

*Note: rankings were adjusted and reflect recent additions to the system - it is now a Top 55 list