Cabrera Learning At An Advanced Level

BURLINGTON, IA - Yordy Cabrera is only a little more than a year removed from high school, but he is playing with and against guys with years of collegiate and professional experience under their belts. The Oakland A's second-round pick has demonstrated he belongs in the Midwest League and he is continuing to work on improvements everyday.

That it has been a roller-coaster ride through the Midwest League for Yordy Cabrera, Oakland's second-round pick out of Lakeland Senior (Fla.) High School last June, should surprise no one.

The 6'1'' shortstop started slow, heated up in May and has cooled off in June. But the fact he is even in the Midwest League this soon is a testament to his ability.

Cabrera signed with the A's on deadline day last August and only made a cameo appearance in the Arizona Rookie League. Still, his advanced tools were enough for the organization to send him out to a full-season affiliate this spring while fellow high-school draftees Aaron Shipman (3rd Round) and Chad Lewis (4th Round) remained in Arizona.

"I guess I was the luckiest one," said Cabrera, who despite his offensive struggles was recently named starting shortstop for the MWL West Division All-Star Team. "To be honest, I really don't know (how I got chosen to come to Burlington).

"I just kept working hard and did everything they asked me to do. I think that was about it. I've showed that I can play about anywhere they put me. I've learned from all the situations I've been in. You're trying to feel comfortable, relax and not do too much out there."

Cabrera shook off a slow start in the month of April and hit .375 with a 1069 OPS and five stolen bases during a 10-game stretch in early May. He went on to post a line of .286/.363./.455 over 22 games last month.

"At the beginning of the season, I didn't really know what I was doing," Cabrera said.

"I was just out there swinging. I tried to be more calm and relaxed and look for the right pitch to hit. I'm trying to focus on seeing the ball and hitting it."

However, for the most part his offensive struggles have returned in June. Cabrera launched a two-run homer in Burlington's first-half division-clinching victory on Tuesday night, but is hitting .229 with a 671 OPS for the month.

Defensively, Cabrera appears to be in the A's future plans as a shortstop. He has a .920 fielding percentage with 15 errors thus far, so he still has some work to do with the glove.

"That's where I'm playing right now and I think I have proven to everyone that I can stay there," Cabrera said.

"I've made improvements every day and have done extra work all the time with coaches. I've learned something every day."

The Bees' shortstop should continue to improve with experience, as he did last fall in the A's fall Instructional League. After getting his feet wet in five rookie league games and reaching base seven times in 20 plate appearances, Cabrera felt he really put himself on the map with the work he did after the season.

"I played the last five games of rookie ball and did alright," Cabrera said.

"I never really had the chance to get comfortable, but I got to go to instructional league and that was the key for me. It was really fun because I got to play with guys from all levels – Double-A, Triple-A and High-A. I toned my swing down and competed well against them. I didn't give up at any moment and didn't put myself down in any situation."

With the confidence he gained in Arizona, there were never any regrets for Cabrera about signing a deadline deal with the A's and turning down a scholarship at the University of Miami. Cabrera signed for $1.25 million.

"It was pretty much the last five minutes of the night," he said.

"I really did not know and was really confused. My dad, family and I talked all the time, but we really didn't know what to do. I was really into college, but we talked to the A's and worked something out and here I am. I'm happy with the deal I got and was ready to play ball."

Cabrera will continue to work on daily improvements as a key member of the Burlington infield, where he will likely spend his first full year of professional ball.


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