Cabrera pitching for the Washington Nationals on April 13, 2009.
|Free Agent — No. --|
|Born: May 28, 1981
San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|May 13, 2004 for the Baltimore Orioles|
(through August 27, 2009)
|Earned run average||5.09|
Daniel Alberto Cabrera Cruz (born May 28, 1981, in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic) is a right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who is currently a free agent. He is one of the taller pitchers in the league, standing at 6' 9" and 270 lb.
For his first two seasons as a minor leaguer, Cabrera played in the rookie leagues; first with the Gulf Coast Orioles, then with Bluefield. He posted a 5.49 ERA his first season and a 3.28 ERA his second. When he was 22, Cabrera became a part of the Orioles Single-A ballclub, the Delmarva Shorebirds. His record was 5-9 with a 4.24 ERA.
By the end of his third season in the minors, Cabrera was racking up the numbers one would expect from a power pitcher. He recorded 105 strikeouts over 101 innings of work with the rookie leagues between 2001 and 2002, and added 120 strikeouts over 125.1 innings in Single-A Delmarva the following season. He was promoted to Double-A Bowie before the 2004 season.
While at Bowie, Cabrera began dominating; through five starts, he posted a 2.39 ERA and averaged over 11 strikeouts per nine innings. On May 11, 2004, he was called up to make his major league debut against the Chicago White Sox.
Cabrera did not disappoint. In his very first start, he tossed six shutout innings. In June, he had a 2.83 ERA and held opponents to a mere .204 batting average. Though utterly dominating for the first few months, Cabrera's control slowly left him; by the end of the season, he was walking far too many batters to be effective, and finished the season with an even 5.00 ERA. He finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
At the start of the 2005 season, Cabrera was listed as the Orioles #2 starter, thanks to a dominating Grapefruit League performance. His performance was extremely up-and-down, however. Though he had many utterly dominating performances, he had an equal number of disastrous outings. His 2005 ERA of 4.52 belies the inconsistency he experienced from start to start.
During 2005, Cabrera's name surfaced in trade rumors involving A.J. Burnett of the Florida Marlins. These trade rumors never reached fruition, however, and Burnett and Cabrera both remained with their respective teams for the duration of the season.
Cabrera once again demonstrated his potential with some dominating performances against major-league caliber rosters while pitching in the WBC. Many baseball experts, including ESPN analysts Rob Neyer and Peter Gammons, predicted a breakout season for Cabrera in 2006. However, on July 14, 2006, Cabrera, after showing inconsistency at the major league level (leading the majors in both walks (75) and wild pitches (13)), was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa. To take his place in the starting rotation, left-hander Adam Loewen was recalled from Ottawa.
Cabrera was recalled on August 7, 2006, and pitched a complete game shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays on August 19, 2006, allowing only five hits. On September 28, 2006, Cabrera took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the New York Yankees before surrendering a line drive single to Robinson Canó. He completed the game, only giving up that one hit.
Cabrera was ejected in the fourth inning for throwing a beanball at the head of the Boston Red Sox's second baseman, Dustin Pedroia on September 7, 2007, after a third base balk. MLB commentators have cited this as being another instance of Cabrera being a man of massive potential with poor major league career execution. On September 13, 2007, he was suspended six games by Major League Baseball for the incident.
In 2007, he had the lowest range factor of all major league pitchers, 0.75.
In 2008, Cabrera was 5-1 with a 3.48 ERA through 10 starts, but fell off after that. He finished the year leading the majors in hit batters (18) and had the majors' worst strikeout:walk ratio (1.06), and led the American League in wild pitches (15), and finished second in the AL with 90 walks. Overall, he finished the season 8-10 with a 5.25 ERA. On December 12, the Orioles gave up on Cabrera and did not tender him a contract.
On December 29, 2008, Cabrera signed a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals. On April 19, 2009, Cabrera reached base safely for the first time in his career with a four pitch walk. He struck out 18 times in a row beforehand.
On May 26, 2009, Cabrera was designated for assignment, and once clearing waivers the Nationals announced that he would be released.
On November 4, 2009, Cabrera filed for free agency
On January 14, 2010, Cabrera signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox with an invite to spring training.
On March 17, 2010, Cabrera was released by the White Sox.
Cabrera throws three pitches: a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup. His fastball is his strongest pitch—he is able to throw it consistently in the upper 90s, with significant sinking and tailing action. He throws two different curveballs. One is a sharp-breaking, hard curve that behaves like a slurve and tops out in the mid-upper 80s. He also throws a looping, 12-6 curveball that tops out in the high 70s. Cabrera's changeup is improving, though in 2005 it was extremely inconsistent. He featured this pitch with more effectiveness while representing the Dominican Republic in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
Cabrera's mix of velocity and pitch movement have enabled him to rack up impressive strikeout numbers, as evidenced by his excellent K rate in 2005 (8.8 K/9). However, he has had difficulties with control, as is often the case with a power pitcher of his size and level of experience. His career walk rate is an extremely high 5.1 BB/9; his career high for walks in a single game is 9, most recently in a bizarre outing where in addition to his walks, which loaded the bases in three of his five innings, fanned 10 batters and allowed only one run to cross the plate, on a wild pitch.
Though displaying tremendous potential for success, Cabrera is sometimes chastised for his perceived lack of mental toughness and overall inconsistency.