Marlins promote Edward Cabrera tops MO2’s prospect spotlight
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
JUPITER, Fla. — It’s the end of August, which basically is the September call-up period for Minor League prospects.
All 30 MLB organizations have already begun promoting prospects deemed ready for the next level. The Miami Marlins have had their share, recently advancing pitchers Eury Perez and Dax Fulton from low A ball to High A. Infielder Jose Salas has been elevated from the Florida Complex League to the low-A Jupiter Hammerheads.
MO2 spent a couple of nights at Jupiter this past weekend, checking out the Hammerheads at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
As for the Marlins, their biggest organizational decision came a week shy of the September call-up period. They have promoted touted pitching prospect Edward Cabrera from Triple-A Jacksonville.
The Marlins haven’t had this much buzz over promoting a pitcher since last summer when Sixto Sanchez reached the big leagues. Sixto played a big part in Miami reaching the playoffs in the abbreviated, 60-game 2020 big league season.
If not for some nagging arm issues last summer, Cabrera probably also would have reached the big leagues.
Instead, he built up Minor League innings in 2021, logging 61 1/3 total. There’s never been a question of “stuff” or natural ability with Cabrera. It’s always been a matter of health for the 23-year-old.
His combined Minor League numbers this year is a 2.93 ERA, with 92 strikeouts, 25 walks and a 1.14 WHIP.
MO2 has long been a big fan of Cabrera, tracking his rise in recent years. Before the pandemic, the 6-foot-5, 217-pound right-hander was one of the talks of Spring Training in 2020.
Like so many Minor Leaguers, Cabrera’s development was impacted by no Minor League season. He did participate at the alternate training site, and faced hitters. The Marlins made more than 60 roster moves a year ago, and Cabrera clearly would have been one of them, if not for some minor ailments. During the playoffs, Cabrera was with Miami’s taxi squad. He even threw in a simulated game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. But he wasn’t added to the playoff roster when the Marlins faced the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series.
Cabrera was eased into action this season, and has built up some innings and pitch counts.
Cabrera’s MLB debut is expected for Wednesday against the Nationals at loanDepot park.
From what MO2 is hearing, the book on Cabrera is: great stuff. Fastball up to 97 mph. It has touched 100. Slider and changeup have a chance to be plus pitches. So, we’re talking about a legitimate rotation fixture with tremendous upside.
We’re also hearing, Cabrera still needs refinement, which is expected considering the missed time. His fastball command has been shaky.
Otherwise, it’s a matter of letting getting him out there and seeing what he can do.
From an organization looking for a spark, the arrival of Cabrera is exciting for a fan base that has endured a frustrating 2021 season. Cabrera now gets a taste of the big leagues for the final six weeks of the season.
As Cabrera readies for his MLB debut, at the lower Minor League levels, MO2 breaks down some of the prospects who caught our attention.
INF Jose Salas, Jupiter Hammerheads: There is plenty of excitement over Salas, an 18-year-old infielder from Venezuela. A switch-hitter, he’s off to a solid start with the Hammerheads, hitting .294 wit a .368 on-base percentage in his first four games.
Counting his time at the complex level, Salas’ combined stats are .358 batting average with a .931 OPS in 109 ABs.
MO2 doesn’t base its evaluations and projections heavily on stats. We watch and talk to our insiders in basing our opinions.
From all indications, Salas looks like he has a bright future. He’s listed at 6-2, 191-pounds, and may ultimately profile as a third baseman.
For now, he’s handling shortstop just fine. His swing is sound from both sides of the plate, as well.
INF Cody Morissette, Jupiter Hammerheads: A left-handed hitting infielder, Morissette has been playing second and third base. He’s got a good swing and approach, and comes with the reputation of being a pure hitter. Miami’s second-round pick from Boston College, Morissette is getting settled into pro ball. His numbers after 13 games are a modest .160 batting average with a .311 OBP.
Don’t read too much into a “slow start.”
When I look at Morissette, I see some Chris Coghlan. Remember him? For those who don’t, Coghlan was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2009. Coghlan’s career was hindered by knee issues. Before he was hurt, Coghlan had a knack for slapping hits all over the field.
Morissette showed me some of that when he flicked an outside pitch into left-field for an opposite-field single. The more he plays, the more acclimated he will become.
OF Victor Mesa Jr., Jupiter Hammerheads: Mesa Jr. is one of my favorite Marlins’ prospects to watch. I’ve enjoyed seeing him play since he was on the backfields after signing a few years ago. The left-handed hitting outfielder brings energy. He’s fun. He never looks overmatched, even while being either the youngest, or among the youngest, at his level.
Mesa turns 20 on Sept. 8, and he keeps doing a lot of things right, in my book.
I’m not sure he’s going to hit for power. I’m not sure he’s going to be a standout big leaguer or more of a fourth outfielder. But I wouldn’t count him out to becoming an impact player. He may not be the fastest outfielder, but he makes terrific reads and is showing he can handle center field.
At the plate, he’s hitting .252 in 341 at-bats, with 15 doubles, three triples, three homers and 12 stolen bases.
The more he plays, the better he seems to get.
INF Kahlil Watson, FCL Marlins: I haven’t personally seen Watson play yet, but reports I’m hearing from those I trust, the 18-year-old has a chance to be a big league regular who can hit.
Blessed with elite bat speed, Watson impacts the baseball. He’s athletic enough to stick at shortstop. He can run, hit, hit with power.
Thus far, in his first six games at the complete league, he’s 8-for-22 (.364).
The 16th overall pick in the first round. Watson is probably the Marlins true top prospect.
It’s a matter of letting him play and develop.