Can Daniel Cabrera Pitch ??

June 29, 2007 |

Are you growing tired of hearing about Daniel Cabrera’s potential? It seems that every bad outing …. which is a common occurrence these days, is excused with disclaimers regarding his talent and raw ability. Yesterday’s performance was another subpar outing for Cabrera, who seems to make one or two poor choices …. that cost him and this team in the box score.

Cabrera continues to struggle when behind in the count, and he’s predictable. Being able to forecast the pitcher’s next offering is a substantial benefit to any hitter. And, keeping hitters off-balance and guessing is every bit as key in keeping the upper hand while pitching …. just ask Greg Maddux, who can’t throw a ball nearly as hard as Cabrera. Yet, Cabrera can’t carry Maddux’s lunch.

While watching last night’s telecast, I witnessed Andy Phillips stroke one of the worst hanging, breaking balls I’ve ever seen. The ball reached the left field seats in “speed of light” fashion. As Phillips rounded the bases, Jim Palmer remarked about a conversation he had with him, prior to yesterday’s game. Palmer stated that he asked Phillips, “how do you beat Daniel Cabrera?” Phillips, replied, “You sit on the fast ball and hope he hangs a curve.” There you go …. just as ordered.

Aside from being stubborn, Daniel Cabrera is as predictable as the storms that rolled through town, last night. He’s a two-pitch hurler, and his second pitch isn’t very good. Consider this …. if you were managing a must win game; needing a solid 7 innings from your starter and your staff was comprised of Daniel Cabrera, Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer and Kenny Rogers, who would NOT get the nod?

Of the names mentioned above, Daniel Cabrera is the only player under 30 years old. And, the others are all older than 40. However, they can pitch …. and they won’t overpower opposing batters. They possess an arsenal of more than one pitch. In fact, they all possess more than 2 formidable pitches, and this makes them pitchers. It’s not the 100 m.p.h. fastball that keeps a guy in the game, just ask Randy Johnson.

The “Big Unit” was every bit as lackluster and frustrating as Cabrera until he developed a nice breaker and that trademark, devastating slider. Then , he became a pitcher. The list of guys who threw hard and nothing else is long and unflattering. Remember Rocky Coppinger, Hideki Irabu and Mark Wohlers? Or, for the oldtimers, do you remember former Oriole, Steve Dalkowski? These guys are all examples of pitchers who really offered nothing formidable, beyond a fastball.

In comparison to past seasons, Daniel Cabrera’s walks are down …. which is a great sign. However, until he’s able to get hitters guessing, he’s gonna struggle. He’ll dominate the lesser offensive talents, but true hitters know him and they’re willing to wait for the mistake …. which will be delivered. If Andy Phillips can figure you out, it’s time to really commit to a more cerebral approach to the game.

Daniel Cabrera’s promise, ability and potential have not delivered tangible results. He’s not due …. he’s overdue. The Orioles have suffered, substantially, from their commitment and faith in the young hurler. He has one of the best pitching minds at his disposal. I can imagine how frustrated Leo Mazzone must be ….

There will probably come a day, a few years down the road, when we learn of Leo’s thoughts regarding the undelivered and unrealized potential of Daniel Cabrera. By then, Daniel’s days as a big-league starting pitcher might be over. I’m not suggesting he can’t get it together. Curt Schilling and Dave Stewart learned to pitch and capitalize on their ability after years of struggling. Can Daniel Cabrera be the next Curt Schilling ….

Or, is he just another Rocky Coppinger ….

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