Genesis Cabrera secures a late-inning role
In 2021, the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen looks like it will be a force to be reckoned with. First, Jordan Hicks is making his return, but the group also is returning with Andrew Miller, Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley, John Gant, and whoever else doesn’t earn the 5th starter spot.
The group was a strength last year, but one name isn’t being talked about enough. If you could guess, that is Genesis Cabrera. Right now, Cabrera is penciled in as the third lefty on the depth chart out of the bullpen, but there is a chance he could jump up the chart with a strong spring.
Cabrera, the centerpiece of the Tommy Pham trade, debuted in 2019 but is still just 24 years old. While 2019 was a little shaky, he doesn’t get enough credit for the way he threw in 2020. Second only to Tyler Webb in appearances (but beating him in innings with 22.1), Cabrera was quietly one of the team’s best relievers last season.
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His 2.42 ERA and 12.9 K/9 reflect the fantastic stuff that Cabrera has, even if he needs to get his walks down (16 walks in his 22.1 innings). Like Martinez, Cabrera also pitched in the DWL. Over six appearances (7.2 innings), Cabrera didn’t let up a single hit or run, striking out 10. However, he did walk five batters.
The Cardinals don’t love to name roles in the bullpen, but it’d be easy to see the fireballer play his way into an 8th-inning role if he can show more command. Walking batters late in games is an easy way to not pitch late in games, but Cabrera’s stuff is too electric to ignore. If he can just get the walks under control, the sky is the limit for the lefty.