Despite his status as the 30th best prospect in baseball, like every player who grows up with the game, Edward Cabrera was just another kid with a dream. That dream has became reality.
“I woke up this morning with a lot of confidence. I had it in my mind, “You’re here.””, Cabrera said through a translator. “But last night, I was thinking a lot about the dream, of making my MLB debut,”
On Wednesday night in Miami, just over 700 miles from where it all began in Santiago, Dominican Republic, the 23-year-old fireballing righty made his major league debut. He didn’t disappoint. Cabrera worked 6.1 quality innings on four hits, and three earned runs while striking out two and walking three. Though the big K numbers Cabrera has come to be known for were not there, he pitched much better than his stat line on his way to becoming the first Marlins pitcher to throw a quality start in his debut since Jordan Yamamoto in 2019. According to Cabrera, he hoped his family was as pleased with his outing as he was.
“All of this, I do it mostly for my family,” Cabrera said. “All of the sacrifices and everything I do is for them.”
Any jitters Cabrera may have been suffering from in his career defining moment were partially quelled very early when Brian Anderson made a great play and cross-body throw to get leadoff hitter Lane Thomas to ground out. Anderson is making it a trend to back young starters making their debuts with incredible plays. Last season, he provided Braxton Garrett with a play that left Garrett in disbelief. Cabrera was also the beneficiary of the latest jaw-dropping defense from Bryan De La Cruz, this time in center field. A ball that would have been a home run in 11/30 MLB parks was somehow snagged by the Marlins’ trade deadline return piece for Yimi Garcia.
Cabrera went on to have an eight pitch inning and did not throw a ball. In the second inning, he recorded his first career strikeout on an 83 mph slider that was left up but still froze the eight hole hitter, Riley Adams. Cabrera followed that up by striking out the opposing pitcher Josiah Gray on a bunt foul out. Those were the only two Ks recorded in the start by Cabrera which is unconventional for him. But in place of the strikeouts, he was extremely economical with his pitches and through six innings, extremely stingy when it came to allowing base runners. Headed into the 7th inning, he was just one batter over the minimum and had thrown just 56 pitches. Twelve of his 18 outs recorded were quick outs.
“I was attacking the zone. That’s one of the things that was working — they were swinging at it. I said, if they were swinging, maybe put the ball in the zone,” Cabrera said. “That’s what you have to do: if they want to get themselves out, you have to let the batters get those outs.”
Cabrera made few mistakes on the night as a whole but two came in a very short time frame in the 7th inning. He bounced back from a leadoff walk by retiring Juan Soto on a flyout (he retired Soto all three times he faced him) but then had his changeup sail out over the plate. Josh Bell didn’t miss. A batter later, Cabrera showed confidence in the pitch by immediately going back to it but it also stayed flat and was crushed by Yadiel Hernandez.
Up until the 7th, Cabrera was twirling a gem, locating all four pitches for strikes with his usual fiery velo. His fastball topped at 99 and his changeup at 93. There were a few bad locations mixed in and he gave up some hard contact but overall, this was a very encouraging start and great building block for Edward. Though the strikeouts weren’t there, it was moving and very encouraging to see Cabrera have the maturity to notice aggressive hitters attacking early, challenging them with supreme confidence in his stuff, saying “here it is, come get it” and get the job done in that capacity, however unorthodox it might have been for him. After he got back to the dugout following his removal, Cabrera could be seen on the bench breaking down the outing with Marlins’ leader (and a very similar pitcher, should Edward reach his ceiling), Sandy Alcantara. The pair carried a conversation for an inning and a half.
“He told me congratulations and how good I did. He explained to me that it was great that I attacked the zone, some of the pitches some of the locations,” Cabrera said. “Having him there is just a blessing: having him there and chatting the game with him. As we know, Sandy is truly the GOAT.”
Edward Cabrera is here, he’s mixing well, throwing all of his pitches for strikes, he’s already effective on the mound and he’s beginning to building relationships with Alcantara, Mel Stottlemyre and the rest of his teammates as the Marlins look towards being competitive again in 2022. The floor is very high and the sky is the limit for this young star whom we compare to Zack Wheeler.