While Sixto Sánchez is the more famous prospect, there are Marlins executives who believe that Cabrera has a brighter future. A late bloomer in the Dominican Republic, he went unsigned when first eligible in 2014 before turning pro for $100,000 a year later. He made huge strides with harnessing his electric stuff in 2019, when he excelled in Double-A at age 21, and almost certainly would have made his big league debut last year if he hadn't been bothered by minor shoulder soreness.
Cabrera's best weapon is a fastball that sits at 93-97 mph and climbs into triple digits, with its heavy life and the downhill plane he creates with his 6-foot-5 frame leading to a lot of weak groundball contact. He improved the reliability of his slider in 2019, continuing to deal at 82-85 mph with increased bite. He also maintained more consistent velocity separation between his heater and changeup, which has become a solid third pitch.
Cabrera has learned that he doesn't need to overthrow to generate premium stuff, though he'll still lapse on occasion. Now that he's throwing more strikes and doing a better job of locating his pitches within the zone, he has erased talk that he might land in the bullpen. Instead, he and Sánchez should pitch at the front of Miami's rotation for much of this decade.
2020 Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
A late bloomer in the Dominican Republic, Cabrera went unsigned during the 2014-15 international period before landing a $100,000 bonus from the Marlins in July 2015. Teams began asking for him in trade talks shortly after he came to the United States for his pro debut in 2016, though his stuff was more impressive than his results in his first three seasons. That changed in 2019, when he logged a 2.23 ERA, .190 opponent average and 116 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings while advancing to Double-A at age 21.
Cabrera's main pitch is a 93-97 mph fastball that occasionally reaches triple digits, and its heavy life plus the downhill plane he creates with his 6-foot-4 frame generate a lot of groundballs. He developed a more consistent slider last season, continuing to operate at 82-85 mph while displaying more bite. He also did a better job of maintaining velocity separation between his fastball and changeup, which has become a solid third offering.
Though Cabrera still will lapse into overthrowing at times, that's happening less frequently than it did in the past. He's doing a better job of throwing strikes and commanding his pitches, quieting talk that he'd wind up in the bullpen if he couldn't add more polish. If all goes according to plan, Sixto Sanchez and Cabrera should headline Miami's rotation in the near future.
2019 Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
Signed for $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Cabrera has become the best prospect from the Marlins' crop of international talent that summer. He's still more thrower than pitcher but made strides during his full-season debut in 2018 after missing part of the previous season with a forearm strain.
Cabrera boasts a lively 93-97 mph fastball that has reached triple digits, though he has difficulty commanding it at higher velocities. He throws a hard breaking ball in the 82-85 mph range that's more slider than curveball but lacks consistency at times. He also shows flashes of a solid changeup though it's often too firm to be truly effective.
Miami has handled Cabrera with care because he has as much upside as any pitcher in the system, and his 100 1/3 innings last year were a career high. To reach his ceiling, he'll have to do a better job of locating his pitches and improve his secondary offerings. If he can't, he still could be a late-inning reliever.
2018 Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Signed for $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic, Cabrera has quickly emerged as the gem prospect from Miami's 2015-16 international class. After showcasing his raw potential during an impressive pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Cabrera's stuff and feel for pitching leapt forward with Class A Short-Season Batavia in 2017 before a right forearm strain prematurely ended his campaign. Advancing to full-season ball in 2018, a fully healthy Cabrera continued to boost his stock while pitching for Class A Greensboro.
A tall and projectable right-hander, Cabrera's velocity continued to tick up in the New York-Penn League, where he reached 101 mph with his fastball while working anywhere from 95-100 mph. He's consistently around the zone with the pitch, especially when pitching in the mid-90s. His slider shows the makings of becoming an above-average pitch, complementing his heater nicely, and he also features a changeup that improved in 2017. Already a strike-thrower, Cabrera projects to have average control and command once developed.
Cabrera's upside is as high as any hurler in Miami's system, and it's for that reason that they've carefully managed his workload early in his career. If all comes together for him, Cabrera, with his combination of size and stuff, could develop into a No. 3 starter, with the floor of an impactful late-inning reliever.
2017 Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
The Marlins haven't been big international spenders in recent years, but the team appears to have a potential gem in Cabrera, whom they signed for $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015. Assigned directly to the U.S. last summer for his professional debut, the right-hander opened eyes with an impressive showing in the Rookie Gulf Coast League.
Cabrera already operates in the low 90s with his fastball and should gain more velocity as he continues to grow into his projectable frame. His slider shows the makings of becoming an above-average pitch, pairing nicely with his heater, and he also features a changeup that's currently a work in progress. Cabrera already does a good job flooding the zone with strikes, and that should improve with more consistent mechanics.
Though raw and inexperienced, Cabrera profiles the ceiling of a No. 3 starter at maturity thanks to his combination of size and stuff.
2016 Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
While the Marlins haven't been big international spenders in recent years, the team appears to have a potential gem in Cabrera, whom they signed for $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015. Assigned directly to the U.S. last summer for his professional debut, the right-hander opened eyes with an impressive showing in the Rookie Gulf Coast League.
Though raw and inexperienced, Cabrera profiles as a potential No. 3 starter at maturity thanks to his combination of size and stuff.