Cabrera, 24, made a big impression with the 2016 Braves, tossing 38 1/3 innings of 2.82 ERA ball and showing a blistering fastball that averaged 100.1 mph and would routinely touch 102 mph. However, Cabrera didn’t post the strikeout rates one might expect to go along with that heat, averaging just 7.5 K/9 with a solid but not overpowering 11.7 swinging-strike rate. He also walked 19 batters in those 38 1/3 frames (4.5 BB/9), hit another and threw a pair of wild pitches.
Shaky control and lack of missed bats weren’t necessarily catastrophic red flags considering the fact that Cabrera was a 22-year-old rookie. But Cabrera had some elbow soreness in Spring Training the following season, and his control in the minors in 2017 proved to be disastrous. Cabrera didn’t return to the Majors last season and ultimately walked 46 batters in 45 innings across four minor league levels.
Things haven’t improved for Cabrera in 2018. To the contrary, his startling inability to locate the ball has worsened, as he’s tossed 31 innings but yielded a staggering 41 walks while spending the entire season in Class-A Advanced.
Given Cabrera’s youth and velocity, it’s certainly possible that other clubs will have interest in trying to chip away at the young flamethrower’s control issues. Then again, Cabrera also went unclaimed on waivers back in Spring Training, and that was before he averaged nearly 12 walks per nine innings pitched in A-ball this season. Given the alarming extent of his control issues, it’s not surprising to see the Braves move on from the once-promising right-hander.