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Still experimenting, Rockies add Double-A starter to rotation

Jun 27, 2012, 12:00 AM EDT

Edwar Cabrera - Bowman

As chaotic as things are with the Rockies pitching staff right now, is this really the time to be adding a top prospect from Double-A? GM Dan O’Dowd obviously thinks so. The club called up Edwar Cabrera today and announced that he’d make his major league debut in starting Wednesday’s game.

He’ll be taking the spot of Alex White, who struggled in both of his outings after the Rockies went to a four-man rotation.

The 24-year-old Cabrera was a late bloomer for Colorado. He didn’t even make his full-season debut until last year, but when he did, he went 8-3 with a 3.34 ERA and a 217/47 K/BB ratio in 167 innings for two A-ball teams. This year, he was 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA and an 82/23 K/BB ratio in 98 innings for Tulsa.

There’s still some skepticism regarding the left-hander. Even though he led the entire minors in strikeouts last year, Baseball America ranked him as the Rockies’ No. 18 prospect entering 2012. While his other numbers this season were great, he had given up 15 homers for Tulsa, a total that suggests he might not be a great fit in Coors Field.

All signs point to Cabrera being used just like the rest of the Rockies’ starters: three days’ rest, 75-pitch limit. That’s the case even though he was used conventionally in the minors: all of his recent starts had come on four days’ rest and he had pitched a total of 22 innings in his last three starts.

Especially in the wake of pitching coach Bob Apodaca’s departure, this seems like the wrong time for the Rockies to be breaking in someone new. Still, I will be very interested to see how Cabrera performs. He has some truly remarkable numbers. In April, he pitched 33 innings and allowed six runs, all of them coming on solo homers. In all, 23 percent of the hits he’s allowed this year have been homers (15 HR, 65 H). No MLB pitcher has ever had such a high ratio in a 150-inning season. Three have in a 120-inning season, and two of those were Coors Field-aided (Scott Elarton in 2001 and Denny Stark in 2002).

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    How does Danny O still have a job in Colorado?

  2. yahmule - Jun 27, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    Because the Monforts are totally insulated and arrogant and they take punitive measures against criticism in the local media by restricting access. They don’t deserve the fans in Colorado. Despite a horrible product and temperatures over 100 degrees, the Rockies drew 40,000 and 36,000 the last two days.

  3. mjay424 - Jun 27, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    I’m sure the Rockies felt like they had no other choice but to call up Edwar Cabrera. They knew they couldn’t go again to Alex White. The reality is the Rockies, like some people in life, don’t see their mistakes so they keep making them.

    Alex White and Christian Friedrich both started well this season at Triple-A but had been major disappointments in 2011. So, after a limited amount of time (and success) at Colorado Springs, the pitching poor Rockies called up both White and Friedrich. While both undoubtedly have shown well at times, they were not ready for advancement. White has been demoted again and Friedrich was blasted again last night and now sports an ERA close to 6.00.

    Cabrera is a fascinating prospect. A control artist with a renowned changeup. He’s had his best season in many respects. He’s never been more difficult to hit and his ERA reflects it. The problems are his strikeouts are down and the home runs, a problem a year ago are worse now. He may have been ready for Triple-A and the altitude test at Colorado Springs but the major leagues? Again, a rush job, and the results will be predictable.

    The Rockies called up Juan Nicasio last season from Double-A. The book on him was outstanding control, a pitcher who could get outs on his own via strikeouts and a guy who kept the ball in the yard and runs off the board. He looked like a solid bet except for one factor – he allowed almost a hit per inning. It wasn’t like he was impossible to solve. Nicasio looked strong when called up, like he could develop into a no. 2 or 3 starter, before being injured.

    This season, after a near-fatal injury on the mound last year, he doesn’t look right. He has the appearance of a no. 4 starter now.

    The majors are a difficult place to learn, especially when you play home games at Coors’ Field.

    The Rockies rushed White and Friedrich and are now doing it with Cabrera.

    White might be destined for the bullpen in 2013, Friedrich could still become a solid starter but is learning lessons he should have learned in the minors this season and Cabrera will struggle, despite his ability, and be sent down later this season.

    Colorado Rockies’ Prospects Report
    and Rockies’ Analyst Magazine

  4. yahmule - Jun 27, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Bob Apodaca deserves his share of the blame. Hammel and Morales are the two most recent pitchers to show marked improvement once they left Colorado. I thought his removal as pitching coach might be sign of actual accountability in the organization, but he’ll keep drawing a paycheck as a “special assistant” to Dick Monfort. Business as usual for that dysfunctional franchise.

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