The Cincinnati Reds promoted catching prospect Ramon Cabrera to the majors on Monday. Here's a quick report.
Ramon Cabrera was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Venezuela back in 2007. He played reasonably well at the lower levels but first got a lot of attention after hitting .343/.410/.471 in 327 at-bats for Bradenton in the Florida State League in 2011. He followed up with a .276/.342/.367 line in Double-A in 2012, then was traded to the Detroit Tigers and hit .304/.392/.388 in Double-A in 2013. He split 2014 between the Tigers and Pirates (who reclaimed him on waivers) systems.
For 2015 he signed with the Reds as a minor league free agent and hit .290/.343/.353 in 317 at-bats for Triple-A Louisville. Cabrera received a brief trial in the majors last year, hitting .367 with a .500 SLG in 30 at-bats, and has now returned to the Show.
Cabrera is a 5-8, 195 pound switch-hitter, age 26. His best skills are defensive: he is quite reliable behind the plate, blocking and receiving well, handling the pitching staff, and making few mental mistakes. On the other hand, Baseball Prospectus' advanced catching metrics do not like his pitch-framing and he's never been especially deadly against runners, throwing out just 23% in his career. This has improved lately; with a 32% kill rate in Triple-A, and he did catch three of five during his big league trial last fall. Overall his defense can be described as solidly competent. He's not exceptional but he's not a butcher, either.
As a hitter, Cabrera makes contact but lacks home run power due to a level swing. He neither walks nor strikes out much and usually puts the ball in play. If you played him regularly in the majors he could probably hit .260, albeit an empty .260.
Overall, Cabrera profiles as a reserve big league catcher and Triple-A regular.
Video from Milb.com. Note open batting stance.