In 2013, Cabrera signed with the Rays (see Transactions below).
In 2018, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Genesis as the 14th-best prospect in the Rays' organization. He moved up to #6 in the winter before 2019 spring training. He was at #3 in the offseason before 2020 spring camp opened.
MLB debut (May 29, 2019): He was the starting pitcher. But later on, he settled into the Cardinals' bullpen.
April 27, 2022: Cards reliever Génesis Cabrera received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his role in the bench clearing scuffle with the Mets. Cabrera served his suspension and was unavailable out of the bullpen.
Sept. 2022: Cabrera chose to play for the Dominican Republic in the 2023 WBC.
November 11, 2013: Cabrera signed with the Rays as a free agent for $34,000, via scouts Carlos Batista and Danny Santana.
- July 31, 2018: The Cardinals traded OF Tommy Pham and International slot money to the Rays for minor leaguers Justin Williams, Genesis Cabrerra and Roel Ramirez.
- July 21, 2023: The Cardinals traded LHP Génesis Cabrera to the Blue Jays for C Sammy Hernandez.
|Birth City:||Santo Domingo Cento, D.R.|
|Draft:||2013 - Rays - Free agent - Out of the D.R.|
Cabrera has a 91-99 mph 2-seam FASTBALL that exhibits late sinking life, has exploding life out of his hand, and grades 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also has an 86-89 mph power SLIDER that has slicing action and looks more like a curveball at times. But it has the depth to grade at 55. Genesis has good fade and depth on his 86-87 mph CHANGEUP to battle righthanded hitters, and it grades 50. (Spring 2020)
Cabrera generates easy velocity with a lightning-quick arm and explosive delivery, but he’s still learning how to harness his electric stuff and throw strikes. The heater he shows as a starter plays up in shorter bursts. He has swapped his power slider for a slower, more distinct curveball that flashes above average, with a good spin rate and downer action. He also throws a changeup that right-handed hitters struggle to square up.
Cabrera was able to trim his walk rate last season in Triple-A, but he struggles to consistently deliver quality strikes because he has a violent delivery that makes his over-the-top arm slot difficult to repeat. That, in turn, leads to questions about the southpaw’s future role, with many pegging him as a reliever long term. The Cardinals still believe in Cabrera as a starter and will develop him as such in 2020, knowing that they can easily slot him into their Major League bullpen if his control doesn’t improve. (Spring 2020)
Genesis commands his heater far better at lower 92-95 mph, which is when his movement is most impressive with it. He hides the ball well.
He is an athletic lefthander who lacks control because of his violent delivery. Because of that delivery, Cabrera struggles to repeat his arm slot and locate consistently, especially with his secondary pitches. He also gets too cocky at times, resulting in poor pitch selection and overthrowing.
Genesis has 40 grade for Control.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 56.3% of the time, his Sinker 4.4%; Change 17.6%; and Curve 21.7% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.7 mph, Sinker 95.4, Change 88.4, and Curve 83 mph.
2020: Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 51.7% of the time, his Sinker 5.7%; Change 13%; and Curve 29.6% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.6 mph, Sinker 96.7, Change 88.8, and Curve 81.7 mph.
Spring 2019: Cabrera is getting used to the rhythm of relief—when to work out, when to warm up, how often to be ready and how to know when his arm is tired or his stuff spotty.
Genesis appearance as a as a reliever in Triple-A Pacific Coast League playoffs intrigued the organization. Cabrera’s velocity climbed in the Memphis bullpen and he utilized his best stuff while minimizing some of his erratic control.
Described by some scouts as “Carlos Martinez from the left side,” Cabrera has the same build and similar wiry athleticism. He does not have the same horsepower or power sinker, though he sits near 97 mph as a reliever.
Genesis has a lively left arm for easy velocity. Since he is only 6 feet, it is difficult for him to pitch downhill. But he doesn't give up many homers. Cabrera has developed his pitch-ability.
Cabrera has the arsenal and fringe-average control to develop into a big league starter, although his fastball-slider pairing also give him a bright future as a reliever, one who can get outs from both sides of the plate.
Cabrera reminds many of Pirates closer Felipe Vasquez with his power stuff from the left side but questionable control.
Genesis could potentially complement free agent pickup Andrew Miller as a lefthander in the St. Louis bullpen. (Spring, 2019)
- May 28, 2019: Though his season numbers don’t quite match up to others’ in the Triple-A Memphis rotation, it will be lefthander Genesis Cabrera who gets the first opportunity to fill Michael Wacha’s vacated rotation spot.
Consider the selection a product of recency bias.
Though he has a 6.35 ERA over nine Triple-A appearances (seven starts), Cabrera, 22, drew rave reviews from the field staff and player development group following his last two starts. He allowed two earned runs over six innings in both and made a particular impression with his ability to maintain elite velocity deep into those games.
According to Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, Cabrera is registering an average fastball velocity of 96 mph and touching as high as 98 mph on the radar gun. He’s also throwing his curveball with more conviction.
“Just the reports we’ve gotten from Memphis have been very positive,” Shildt said. “It was a strong recommendation, and we followed it.”
Cabrera, whom MLB Pipeline ranks as the organization’s No. 8 prospect, will make his Major League debut in the Cardinals’ second of three games in Philadelphia. Assuming there are no other debuts before then, Cabrera will earn the distinction of becoming the franchise’s 2,000th player with that appearance.
In choosing Cabrera over other candidates righthanders Daniel Ponce de Leon and Jake Woodford, the Cardinals will be adding a lefty into their rotation for the first time this year.
“We’re obviously righty-dominant, so there’s definitely an appeal there,” Shildt said. “I don’t feel like we have to force it, but it is nice to have a lefty to give us a different look."
The assignment, Shildt added, is for “one start and possibly more.” Because the Cardinals don’t expect to plug Wacha back into the rotation anytime soon, that spot is there for the taking. But it’s also worth noting that the club should have two more stating candidates available soon with Austin Gomber and Alex Reyes on the mend.
Cabrera was one of three players the Cardinals acquired from Tampa Bay in last summer’s (2018) Tommy Pham trade. A starter throughout his climb in the Rays’ system, Cabrera moved into the bullpen for Memphis’ postseason run and then continued to pitch in relief during a winter ball stint in which he struck out 21 over 14 2/3 innings. That’s when the organization saw his velocity spike.
The high radar gun readings left many anticipating that Cabrera would break into the big leagues in 2019 as a reliever. But after he struggled in Grapefruit League play and endured two rough outings out of the ‘pen to open the Triple-A season, the Cardinals shifted Cabrera back into a starting role.
Things have settled for him since, and Cabrera has finished six innings in each of his last three starts. (J Langosch - MLB.com - May 26, 2019)
May 29, 2019: Cabrera's Major League debut may not have gone exactly as he had hoped, but he provided possibly the lone bright spot for the Cardinals 11-4 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Cabrera struck out the side on just 11 pitches in the second inning, finishing off all three hitters with his electric fastball.
"I felt great with the fastball," Cabrera said through a translator. "I was just trying to throw the ball where [catcher Matt] Wieters was asking me to, and tried to establish my fastball early in the game, so that I could work with my secondary pitches."
After missing with his first pitch of the frame to Scott Kingery, Cabrera got the Phillies' center fielder to swing through a changeup, foul off a 95-mph fastball and whiff at a 97-mph fastball above the zone for strike three.
Next up, Cabrera struck out Maikel Franco on three pitches, the last of which hit 99 mph on the radar gun. Cabrera then made quick work of Aaron Nola, who struck out looking at a 98-mph fastball on the high, outside corner.
"This guy’s got a big arm, a live arm," manager Mike Shildt said of Cabrera. "He’s athletic, loose and his stuff is good. He was everything that was advertised from our player development department." (P Casella - MLB.com - May 30, 2019)
- In 2019, Genesis started utilizing his curveball more often, becoming more deft with it, and went back-to-back quality starts with 10 strikeouts total to earn the promotion.
"The main thing here is, I can’t miss twice,” Cabrera said of his mini-trip through the majors. "You can miss once. But the second time they will hit you.”
Returned to Memphis, Cabrera had an assignment to polish the knots out of his mechanics and erase the tells from his delivery. His sinker has enough sizzle, if hitters don’t know when it’s coming. (June, 2019)
2020 Season: Season stats: 4-1, 1 SV, 2.42 ERA, 19 G, 22.1 IP, 10 H, 3 HR, 16 BB, 32 K, 4.76 FIP, 1.164 WHIP, 12.9 K/9, 0.1 bWAR
Postseason stats: 2 G, 18.00 ERA, 1 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 1 K, 4.00 WHIP
Statcast: 7.2% barrel %, 84.0 exit velocity, 31.8% hard hit %, .319 xwOBA
Best Statcast category: Exit Velocity, Whiff % (98th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Barrel % (25th percentile)
On COVID IL: No
Overview: There’s a lot to like about Genesis Cabrera, but all thoughts of the reliever right now are overshadowed by his playoff performance in Game 2 of the Wild Card Round. With the Cards up four runs and looking like they were headed on to face the Dodgers, Cabrera came in and walked the bottom two hitters in the Padres lineup to start the sixth.
While he did strike out Trent Grisham and the bombs that came next were off of Giovanny Gallegos, the lack of control seemed to summarize a lot of what we think about Cabrera. There are so many times where he can dominate, but night to night you don’t know if that will show up.
While the other two parts of the Tommy Pham trade made their Cardinals debut this season, Cabrera is always going to be the one that people link to that trade and the one that has the burden of making it at least respectable from St. Louis’s side. There’s still plenty of reason that can happen, though the idea that Cabrera could be a valuable part of the rotation is starting to fade if, for nothing else, in that he hasn’t done much of it for a while. The Cardinals seem to think that he can be a potent bullpen piece, and that 12.9 K/9 definitely lends to that line of thinking. A consistent Cabrera, coupled with the arms that are out in the bullpen now, would help make for many shorter games.
That happened a lot this season. It felt like Cabrera, Alex Reyes, and Giovanny Gallegos made up the A Team of relievers. If there was a game the Cards had a lead in the sixth or seventh, those guys were going to pitch and, often, they brought home the victory. It wasn’t always without drama–only six of Cabrera’s 19 appearances did not include a walk, though three of those were in his last four–but it was usually effective. Twice Cabrera went two hitless innings (though he walked someone in both outings) and went longer than three outs eight times. In a game that now requires three batters to be faced, having guys that can go longer really helps manage a bullpen.
Cabrera’s command issues weren’t any better against lefties–he actually had a higher rate of walks per plate appearance against them than righties–but other than that he looked like a significant weapon against those from the sinister side. He allowed only two hits by left-handed batters all season and none went for extra bases, leading to a .319 OPS. If he can figure out how to be more effective around the strike zone, he could become a very dominant factor. That’s the if with his whole game, though.
Outlook: Cabrera has pitched in only two seasons at the big league level and neither one of them was complete. He turned 24 a few days after the Cardinals packed up for the winter, so there’s a lot of rawness still in him. It’s not surprising for a young man like that to be still figuring things out and the Cards will watch him continue to develop next year as one of their relievers, most likely getting to see his first Opening Day as a member of the Cards. (Cardinal70 - Nov. 9, 2020)
2021 Season: With Genesis Cabrera really coming into his own last year, the St. Louis Cardinals finally have a shutdown lefty in their bullpen. This is a bit uncommon for the team, but Cabrera is not just a weapon against left-handed hitters, he is also more than capable of dominating right-handers as well.
In total last year, Cabrera had a 3.73 ERA and 3.28 FIP. Against same-sided batters, Cabrera had a solid 3.65 FIP and allowed a .339 wOBA. Those numbers improved mightily against right-handed batters as the flamethrowing southpaw allowed just a .248 wOBA and compiled a stellar 3.08 FIP.
Before I go any further, it is important to mention that we aren’t dealing with the largest sample size here as Cabrera only threw 25 innings against lefties and 45 innings against righties. Still, there was a significant difference in the way that he pitched to the different-sided hitters.
In 2021, Cabrera turned two forgotten pitches into weapons against right-handed hitters. In 2020, sinkers made up just 6% of Cabrera’s arsenal. The pitch jumped to 19.6% usage in 2021, with nearly 70% of them being thrown to righties. The left-hander also bumped his changeup usage from 13.1% to 16.8%. At the expense of these increases, Cabrera threw fewer four-seamers and fewer curveballs. Those pitches were still his primary offerings against left-handed hitters, but he expanded his arsenal against right-handers and that helped him overcome his platoon disadvantage
Last season, Cabrera threw 347 sinkers and changeups combined to right-handed hitters. Those batters had just a .208 wOBA and 84.1 mph exit velocity against the two offerings, which made up over 46% of Cabrera’s arsenal against righties.
The most effective pitch against opposite sided hitters was clearly the changeup (.144 wOBA). The pitch also generated a 54.1% groundball rate, which is the highest rate of any of Cabrera’s pitches. Since he threw the pitch more often, he got more groundballs last year, which helped him increase his groundball rate from 34% to 42%. The other factor in this increase was obviously his increased sinker usage, though his sinker did not generate as many groundballs as you might think (45.5% overall GB%, 34.4% against RHBs).
The main reason Cabrera doesn’t get more groundballs with his sinker is that it’s not exactly a movement based pitch. The offering drops just 13.8 inches, which is actually less than Andam Wainwright’s four-seamer. This is 5.5 inches below average. His pitch is also 2.3 inches below average in terms of horizontal break. Much of this below average movement can be attributed to Cabrera;s elite velocity. Because the pitch is so fast, it simply has less time to break before it crosses the plate. (Blake Newberry Feb 6, 2022)
- As of the start of the 2022, Genesis had a career record of: 8-8 with a 3.67 ERA, having allowed 8 home runs and 85 hits in 112 innings with 128 strike outs.
- 2022 Season: After pitching really well in the first half of the season, posting a 2.60 ERA in 34.2 innings of work, he only managed to appear in 10 games during the second half, with an 11.70 ERA and awful 2.00 WHIP.
While his mid-season injury likely played a role in his struggle, he did see diminished velocity and an increase in home runs that is a bit alarming going into 2023. (Josh Jacobs - Feb. 4, 2023)
July 18-27, 2019: Cabrera was on the IL.
- June 26-July 8, 2022: The Cardinals placed Cabrera on the Cardinals’ injured list.