Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Crystal Ball: Daniel Cabrera

It was a tale of two seasons for Daniel Cabrera. From April to July he was terrible and was regressing by almost any statistic, including a walk rate that was bad even by Daniel Cabrera standards. He was sent to AAA to work things out and came back in August a new man. He posted WHIPs under 1.35 in back to back months, a first for his career. His walk rate was still high but at just over 4 BB/9 it was just over half what the rate was pre-August. And just for good measure he struck out 9.5 per nine.

Has he turned a corner? Did Leo get through and get him to throw it over the plate? It looks to be a tentative yes. He has always struck out a lot of batters and never given up a lot of homeruns (only 11 surrendered last year) but if he really has the walks minimized, he could finally have that “breakthrough” year predicted over the last two seasons.

Looking at some other peripherals, Cabrera’s FIP number gave him an expected ERA of 4.30 vs. his actual ERA of 4.74. So he may have been unlucky, even with the walks, and pitched better than his ERA and his record. His K/9 rate has risen steadily over the past three years from 4.5 to 8.4 to 9.1.

The walk rate is still dangerously high but a 4.25 ERA is certainly reachable if he maintains the K and HR rates. I am pretty excited about his potential (he’s still only 25 when the season starts), especially with a full Spring Training with Mazzone for him this year.

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