Dominican southpaw Sandro Cabrera debuted in the United States on Monday night in the AZL Giants 2016 opener. The native of Santo Domingo was signed to six figures in 2014, among other international players like outfielder Sandro Fabian ($500,000), outfielder (turned third baseman) Beicker Mendoza, and right-hander Jasier Herrera (18-year-old from Colombia).
Cabrera didn't pitch in 2014, but was second in the Dominican Summer League in strikeouts (86) in his first pro season in 2015. Opposing hitters averaged just .177 off him in 77.2 innings to go along with a 3.31 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It was truly a stellar season for Cabrera, whose 2.56 FIP was eighth best in the DSL among pitchers throwing more than 70 innings.
He has a very similar build to fellow countryman Michael Santos, who turned 21 last month. (Cabrera turns 21 tomorrow, by the way.) Santos is two inches taller, but they both clock in at around 175 pounds.
And while Cabrera's breaking ball isn't quite as 11-5 as that of Santos, it is certainly his best secondary offering. The pitch consistently fooled hitters during his two-inning outing Monday night, and was hardly, if at all, ever left up in the zone. Catcher Cody Brickhouse had his hands full blocking balls in the dirt. Best examples of the breaking ball's effectiveness can be seen at the 1:14, 2:19, and 3:36 marks.
I'll get more on his other pitches on Tuesday, as I wasn't able to grab pitch specificities and velocities from the charters and scouts. If I were to guess, Cabrera mostly threw a low-90s fastball, the aforementioned breaking ball (likely high-70s to low-80s), and possibly a harder slider or cutter that came in the mid-80s. I didn't notice a changeup.
Statistically speaking, it wasn't the prettiest debut. He lasted two innings, giving up two runs on two hits, two walks, and a hit batsman. He also balked in a run. One hit was the pitch at the 0:42 mark that Cabrera athletically saved from hitting him in the head. That ball was smoked. But the other single was a slow chopper that got through the third baseman and shortstop. He didn't appear super sharp, but all in all a solid opening outing. He pitched five or more innings in 10 of 15 starts in 2015, so we'll likely see more of that in the coming weeks once he gets settled in.
— For the latest on #SFGiants minor leaguers, follow @Giant_Potential on Twitter