Daniel Cabrera And The Ace That Wasn’t

It looks like Daniel Cabrera – the tall, formerly hard-throwing, always on the cusp of turning the corner and dominating, pitcher – is still kicking around, having signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox. Cabrera’s career hasn’t turned out quite the way many Orioles fans (myself included) had expected and hoped. I took a look at how D-Cab progressed – from his call-up back in 2004 to where he is today – over at MLBNotebook. An excerpt’s below; click through for the full version.

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“In 2006 Cabrera upped his strike-out rate again, to 9.55 K/9. That placed him in some pretty good company (pitchers with at least 100 IP):

Francisco Liriano – 10.71 K/9
Scott Kazmir – 10.14 K/9
Cole Hamels – 9.86 K/9
Ben Sheets – 9.85 K/9
Jake Peavy – 9.56 K/9
Daniel Cabrera – 9.55 K/9
Johan Santana – 9.44 K/9
Pedro Martinez – 9.29 K/9

His control regressed though, to a 6.32 BB/9 rate that was easily the worst in the league (amongst pitchers with 100 IP again). The groundballs turned back into flyballs – and line-drives – and while his FIP only went up to 4.20, his xFIP was at 4.56. That’s still decent for a 25 year-old in his third pro season – and at 2.7 WAR he was still a fine contributor behind Erik Bedard in the rotation – but the warning signs weren’t good. That off-season people were hanging their hopes on his final start, in which Cabrera pitched a complete game one-hitter (taking a no-no into the 9th) in Yankee Stadium and gave up just one unearned run, while walking two and K’ing 5. “You just wait until next year, when he’ll do that every time out!””