Detroit Tigers Prospects

Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects: No.10 Daniel Cabrera

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 20: A general view of Comerica Park from centerfield during the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 20, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. The Indians defeated the Tigers 7-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 20: A general view of Comerica Park from centerfield during the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 20, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. The Indians defeated the Tigers 7-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Welcome to the first-ever installment of the Motor City Bengals Top 20 Detroit Tigers prospects. The MCB staff has compiled our prospect lists and we will be releasing our consensus rankings, along with a breakdown of each player, in a series of articles in the coming days. In this article, we explore our #10 prospect Daniel Cabrera.

Background

The Detroit Tigers drafted LSU Tigers outfielder Daniel Cabrera with their Competitive Balance Round B pick as part of the 2020 draft; a pick that was widely-applauded by those who cover the game and the draft. In fact, many were hoping the Detroit Tigers would have drafted Cabrera with their second-round pick, which they would ultimately spend on Dillon Dingler (more to come on him in the future for our rankings).

Cabrera had some draft buzz out of high school and would have gone much higher than the 26th round by the San Diego Padres in 2017 had he not been so firm on his LSU commitment. At LSU, Cabrera would hit .305 across three seasons and 140 games; clubbing 22 home runs, walking 72 times, and stealing 9 bases.

Daniel Cabrera’s Strengths

Cabrera’s game is well-regarded for two reasons: first and foremost, his polished hit tool from the left side that gets props for its patience and line-drive approach that goes from foul line-to-foul line. Prospects Live and our co-expert Chris Brown lists Daniel Cabrera’s hit tool at an above-average projection at the major league level, along with most other major publications.

The other calling card with Cabrera is his defensive chops, which while most consider it average, he has been steady and reliable throughout his collegiate career. At LSU, he posted a .977 fielding percentage over his career while leveraging his above-average arm to four assists.

Secondarily, Cabrera is also highly-regarded for his character, donning the famous #8 for LSU, which is typically given to the player who would be the team captain and shows exemplary leadership attributes.

Daniel Cabrera’s Weaknesses

The tough part about someone like Cabrera is more a product of the positional demands and things that are simply out of his control. Cabrera would project as a competent, MLB regular with his bat if he played at nearly any other position. However, because of his speed, he is likely going to get pinned into a corner outfield role long-term.

The issue is not the defense or the fact he plays a corner that makes him less valuable, it is more about the pre-requisites that are necessary to play in a corner outfield spot at the MLB level. Primarily, corner outfielders that are everyday players mash. Home runs are not a strength of Cabrera’s game; his approach is more based around finesse–working counts, spraying line-drives, taking the occasional extra base. Attributes that undoubtedly have value, but not likely to surpass the 30 home-run guys that typically patrol his parts of the field.

Our Take on Daniel Cabrera

At his best, Cabrera has second-division regular potential; where nothing stands out, but the culmination of average or slightly above-average tools makes him a valuable asset that finds the lineup daily.

More likely, due to the shortcomings with his power, he is likely bound for a utility-type role where he can work his way in and out of the lineup depending on match-ups and roster construction. The welcomed attribute with Cabrera, however, is that the hit tool is not a question mark as it has historically been for Detroit Tigers prospects throughout the years.

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