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Can Genesis Cabrera be a bullpen force in 2019?

Left-handed pitching prospect Genesis Cabrera is being described as a bullpen force in the Dominican Winter League. Can he be the much needed help on the left-handed side of the bullpen for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019.

MLB.com has touted St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Genesis Cabrera as a bullpen force in the Dominican Winter League. The left-hander has pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed just two hits with 14 strikeouts in his last 10 appearances. As reported by Mike Rosenbaum, the 22-year old Cabrera, has a 1.26 ERA in 14 1/3 innings, striking out 21 and only walking two for the Tigres del Licey of the DWL.

The St, Louis Cardinals are looking to add help in the bullpen this off-season, with the left-handed side of the pen being of particular concern. Last week, it was announced the Cardinals had come to terms with free agent left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, formerly of the Cleveland Indians. This is considered by many fans as the marquee lefty the Cardinals have spent years in search of.

Now the question becomes, will the Cardinals continue to add left-handed help through the free agency, trade or look for an internal option. It has been reported the Cardinals were in talks with free agent Zach Britton, who also has extensive closing experience. A trade option could be San Francisco’s Will Smith, who the Cardinals were rumored to be offering Jose Martinez in exchange.

However, with his performance thus far in the DWL, Genesis Cabrera has to be considered as one of the internal options for the St. Louis Cardinals as a southpaw.

A closer look at Genesis Cabrera

Cabrera came to St. Louis from the Tampa Bay Rays, along with Justin Williams and Roel Ramirez, in the Tommy Pham trade on July 31, 2018. In the Tampa organization, Cabrera was rated as the number 17 prospect before the trade to St. Louis. Currently, he is the number 13 prospect in the Cardinal organization.

The 22-year old native of the Dominican Republic, was used primarily as a starter in his four and half years in the Rays minor league system. While he has never reached higher than AA ball, Cabrera has above average control, with a fast ball reaching 97 mph and a solid slider/cutter that reaches the mid to high 80’s.

This combo of fastball and slider could make him an effective reliever not only against left-handed hitters, but also against right-handed batters. Because of this, the Cardinals allowed Cabrera to taste AAA in 2018 as a reliever, and he did exactly as he was supposed to in that flickering moment. This experiment continues in the DWL, and so far looks promising.

Spring Training should tell us more.

If the St. Louis Cardinals don’t add another left-handed option through the trade or free agent market, they have some options internally.  Currently on the 40-man roster, along with Miller and Cabrera, are Brett Cecil, Austin Gomber, Chasen Shreve, and Tyler Webb. With these options, it’s unlikely Cabrera will make the team coming out of spring training, but he will get a close look.

Realistically, Genesis Cabrera should start the year in AAA Memphis and continue to work out of the bullpen. The Cardinals always dip down into the minors during the year when they need help  during the regular season in the bullpen. If Cabrera performs well in Memphis, he will see time in St. Louis during 2019.

Next: Andrew Miller headed to St. Louis on multi year deal

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One thing you can count on is the bullpen at the start of the year will look different at the end of the year. It always happens, and Genesis Cabrera will very likely be a part of the Cardinals 2019 bullpen.

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