One of minor-league baseball’s liveliest arms is heading to the majors. The Atlanta Braves called up right-handed flamethrower Mauricio Cabrera, owner of a 100-plus mile per hour fastball, to add more youth and upside to their bullpen.
In a corresponding move, the Braves designated veteran Alexi Ogando for assignment.
Cabrera, 22, has been a well-known commodity in the Braves farm system even before the franchise’s rebuild, simultaneously enticing scouts with his electric arm and creating concerns with his ongoing command issues.
Once considered one of the team’s top pitching prospects, he transitioned to a full-time relief role in 2014. His strikeout rate reached double digits in rookie ball and last season at Double-A Mississippi, but an extremely elevated walk rate caused his ERA to spike at 5.71 through 17 1/3 innings pitched. Similar issues plagued him in the Arizona Fall League.
He’s flashed more consistency in his second season at Mississippi. Cabrera’s 3.41 fielding-independent pitching is the best of his career, and though the command remains his No. 1 concern, his pure stuff — assuming he can continue to develop his breaking ball and changeup — remains closer quality at the major-league level.
The 6-foot-3 righty out of the Dominican Republic has touched 103 miles per hour this season.
Ogando’s production declined in June as he posted a 6.52 ERA and 6.13 FIP in 12 outings, posting a higher walk rate than strikeout rate.
The Braves have been a middle-of-the-pack bullpen for most of the season, but with the recent promotions of Tyrell Jenkins and Cabrera it’s clear the Braves are shifting their focus to replacing struggling veterans with youth.