It’s been fun to see a Yovanny Cabrera develop this year into an outstanding reliever. When guys are signed at 16 or 17 and they come up to the DSL, sometimes it takes a while for things to click as their bodies mature and get stronger. Such is the case with Yovanny Cabrera. I’m surprised that right now, he’s not a member of South Bend bullpen. Maybe he will be later this summer.
Height – 6 foo-2
Weight – 180 at his signing
Throws – Right
From – Santiago, Dominican Republic
Signed as an international free agent on May 20, 2019
Considering his size, the Cubs initially had Cabrera being used as a starter when he began his career in 2019 in the Dominican Summer League. He pitched in 19 games and started five. What impressed me about that first year was that he struck out 48 in 41.2 innings and opponents only had .156 against him. The issue, as we’v0e seen before, was walks.
In 2020, the pandemic punched a reset button and he would begin his career again in Arizona in 2021 as a full-time starter. Strangely enough, he pitched 41.2 innings again, but only struck out 41 this time and opponents got a hold of him a lot more often as they batted .221 against him, and that did not go well with his high walk rate. As a result, he had an ERA of over six.
When 2022 came around, the Cubs shifted Cabrera to the bullpen, and he seems to have taken to it pretty quickly. Even though he had a 5+ ERA last year in Mesa, he did get a midseason promotion to Myrtle Beach. Neither of his ERA’s were stellar last year, but the strikeout rates looked pretty good, and he was starting to mature physically into his frame.
This year, he doesn’t look like a kid, he looks like a man out there. and it shows in his statistics.
For the year, he has a 2.57 ERA at the time I wrote this. He struck out 46 in 42 innings and has a somewhat respectable WHIP of 1.24. But when you break it down by month, you start to see improvement from month to month.
In April he had a 2.53 ERA and in May it was 2.77. That went down to 0.56 in June and then he had his worst outing of the year to start July. Still, what we’re seeing is consistency from month to month as well as improvement. Cabrera played a key role in the bullpen as he functions in a variety of ways. He can close, he can come in and give you two or three innings and shut another team down, and he can be a set up man. Whatever Buddy Bailey and pitching coach Bruce Billings needed from him, that’s what he did. I’m excited to see how he does in the second half of this year, and if he does wind up in South Bend with a lot of his former teammates.