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Prospect of the Day: Edwar Cabrera, LHP, Colorado Rockies

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Colorado Rockies pitching prospect Edwar Cabrera (Photo by Randy Kulina, courtesy Modesto Nuts)
Colorado Rockies pitching prospect Edwar Cabrera (Photo by Randy Kulina, courtesy Modesto Nuts)

Prospect of the Day: Edwar Cabrera, LHP, Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies lefty prospect Edwar Cabrera looks like his name is missing a letter, but he's leading the minors in Ks. Relatively unheralded pre-season, he can no longer be ignored.

Cabrera was signed by the Rockies as a free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2008. He signed at an older age compared to most Latin American prospects, at age 20. He split 2008 and 2009 between the Dominican Summer League and Casper in the Pioneer League, pitching well in the DSL but performing erratically up north. In 2010 he pitched for Tri-City in the Northwest League, and while he posted a 1-8 record, his 3.07 ERA and 87/24 K/BB in 73 innings were more indicative of his potential. I gave him a Grade C in the book this year, but noted that if he improved his command he could take a step forward at higher levels.

Cabrera began 2011 with Asheville in the Low-A South Atlantic League, going 4-2, 3.14 in 86 innings, with a superb 110/18 K/BB ratio. The Rockies promoted him to High-A Modesto at mid-season and he's continued to whiff hitters at an impressive rate, fanning 98 in just 76 innings, walking 22, giving up 74 hits for a 3.67 ERA. Overall, he is 8-3, 3.39 with a 208/40 K/BB in 162 innings this year with 151 hits allowed and a 1.16 GO/AO. He leads the minor leagues in strikeouts.

Despite the big K-totals, Cabrera isn't a big guy, standing just 6-0, 160. He generates solid velocity for a lefty in the low-90s, but what makes him special is a nasty changeup, a true swing-and-miss pitch. He's also shown improvement with his breaking ball this year, and the combination of those two offerings plays his fastball up. He throws strikes and has a good feel for his craft. He can lose his location high in the strike zone and give up home runs at times, but the low walk rate usually limits that damage.

Cabrera turns 24 in October. The Rockies usually promote their pitchers conservatively, so he should begin '12 in Double-A. If he performs well at that level, and I expect he will, we should see him in the majors sometime next year.