Right-hander Edward Cabrera, a top Miami Marlins prospect with a 100-mph fastball, is scheduled to make his major league debut on Wednesday against the visiting Washington Nationals.
“It’s a lot to be excited about — big stuff,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of the 23-year-old Cabrera. “He gained more experience (in the minors) this year. It will be exciting to see him in our rotation.”
Miami has lost eight straight games, including a 5-1 defeat to Washington on Tuesday night.
“I don’t feel like we’re pressing,” Mattingly said. “We keep coming in here with the expectation to win.”
The Nationals will counter Cabrera with their own 23-year-old right-hander, Josiah Gray, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 30.
Gray is 0-1 with a 3.90 ERA in six appearances this year with the Dodgers and Nationals combined. He has made five starts, including all four of his appearances with the Nationals. His loss came with the Nationals, and he has a 2.86 ERA for his new team.
“I’m going to get a good shot to prove myself in the major leagues,” said Gray, a native of New York and a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2018. “I’m really excited for my future with this organization.”
Gray, the Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2019, projects as a mid-rotation starter and perhaps higher if he can develop his changeup.
His fastball sits at 93 to 96 mph, but he can dial it up to 97-98 in short bursts. He gets swings and misses with the pitch due to its late life and run.
Gray, who also has an above-average slider, has earned praise for his athleticism, intelligence and his ability to rise to the occasion so far in his career.
Cabrera, who started playing baseball at age 13, has made a quick rise due to his electric fastball.
The Dominican Republic native — he points out with pride that he is from the same hometown as former major league star Jose Reyes — has a four-pitch mix. Besides his fastball, his curve is an out pitch, and his slider and changeup are regarded as above-average.
Cabrera has struck out 92 batters in 61 1/3 innings this year, including 41 in his past four starts at Triple-A Jacksonville.
In fact, Cabrera has ripped through three levels this year — from Class A to Triple-A — and is 3-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 13 total starts, holding opponents to a .205 batting average.
Cabrera, a 6-5, 215-pounder, has come a long way since signing with the Marlins for $100,000 as an international free agent in 2015.
Baseball America ranks Cabrera No. 74 among all minor league prospects, including No. 5 among the Marlins. MLB Pipeline has him ranked even higher: No. 30 overall and No. 2 in the Marlins chain.
As for the Nationals lineup that Cabrera will face, there is a good chance center fielder Victor Robles will get the call. He didn’t start Tuesday’s game due to an illness, but he played as a reserve.
The Nationals also have first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who homered on Tuesday. Zimmerman has 40 career homers against the Marlins. Only Ryan Howard, with 41, has ever homered more against the Marlins.
Meanwhile, Miami’s offense is led by Jesus Aguilar, who had a pinch-hit RBI single on Tuesday. Aguilar, who leads the National League with 88 RBIs, will likely be back in the starting lineup on Wednesday.
–Field Level Media