Washington Nationals: Cabrera and Gray Highlight Battle Of Pitching Prospects
By Max Rayman
The future of the NL East will be on full display tonight as top 100 MLB prospects Josiah Gray and Edward Cabrera face off.
Usually, when two divisional bottom dwellers face off there isn’t much to look forward to. Luckily, that is not the case for tonight’s Nationals Marlins game, with both teams sending out top 100 prospects to the mound.
For Miami, Edward Cabrera, the 30th prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline will be making his MLB debut. In a farm system that features Max Meyer and Sixto Sanchez, Cabrera is the team’s top pitching prospect. Signed out of the Domincan Republic for $100,000 in 2015, Cabrera has dominated at three different levels this season.
He started the year at High-A, while not allowing a run in six innings and striking out 11. From there, he was promoted to AA and went 2-1, with a 2.77 ERA, and 33 strikeouts in 26 innings. Lately, he has been at AAA, going 1-3, with a 3.68 ERA, and 48 strikeouts in 29.1 innings.
Cabrera has an impressive three pitch mix, with his fastball being his best option. It ranges from 93-97mph, while topping out above 100mph. His slider has improved over the years and ranges from 82-85mph, with solid depth. Rounding out his arsenal is his changeup with scouts beliving it is a solid third option.
Miami has taken a page out of the Nationals book, attempting to build their next core on the back of strong starting pitching. The rotation already entails Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rodgers, Pablo Lopez, and Jesus Luzardo. Cabrera has the potential to pitch at the front of that star studded rotation for years to come.
Since the Nationals decided to strip their roster, Josiah Gray has been the talk of D.C. He is currently the 54th prospect in baseball and is the Nationals number two pitching prospect behind Cade Cavalli.
Acquired in the Scherzer/Turner trade, Gray was promoted straight to The Show and has excelled out of the gate. In four starts with the Nats, he is 0-1, with a 2.86 ERA, 22 strikeouts, and a 6.13 FIP. Gray has been the abodiment of Max Scherzer, putting up high strikeout numbers, while being prone to the long ball. In fact, all seven of Gray’s earned runs with the Nats have come via solo homers.
Gray is coming off of an impressive outing agaisnt a stacked Toronto Blue Jays lineup. The rookie went six innings, while only allowing two runs, striking out four, and walking one. Gray’s secondary stuff was electric, allowing him to keep the Blue Jays batters off-balanced.
What stood out the most was how he attacked one of the best hitters in baseball, Vlad Guerro Jr. He did what anyone had barley been able to do this season, keep the slugger hittles. Vlad Jr. went 0-3, with a strikeout against Gray. On the strikeout it wasn’t even close.
Tonight, both pitchers will give a glimpse of what is to come for the NL East.