Name: Oswaldo Cabrera
DOB: March 1, 1999
Batting and Power. What makes Cabrera so intriguing is his advanced feel for hitting. He simply has a knack of barreling up the baseball and it all starts with advanced plate patience and pitch recognition, and some of the quickest hands around. His bat just explodes through the zone and his barrel seemingly stays in the zone longer than most. It's why he has already shown some decent long-term average power potential despite being more on the skinny side right now. His power is more from alley to alley right now and perhaps will stay there long-term but it's anyone's guessing game how far his power could go as he continues to develop what is a very, very projectable frame. Cabrera, a switch-hitter, also shows a good feel for hitting from both sides and that's a rare trait indeed for somebody so young too.
Base Running and Speed. Cabrea is more heady than speedy on the bases, showing more average to a tick above average speed. While there are quicker runners among his peers few show quite the same maturity and instincts running station to station and even swiping bases. He shows the kind of wheels to be a solid double-digit contributor stealing bases but it's not of the elite variety.
Defense. Just like in the running game Cabrera is more instinctive than tooled-up on the defensive side of the ball. A little Derek Jeter-like in that regard, Cabrera gets to a few more balls because of how well he positions himself pre-pitch and he has very good hands. His arm strength is more a tick above average right now but still incredibly skinny it's worth nothing that, just like the power in his bat, there's no telling how far his arm strength could wind up down the road as he continues to get stronger in the coming years. He has shown the defensive chops to not only stick at the position long-term but the natural feel and leadership abilities to be one of the better defenders there too as he continues to progress.
Projection. At 17 years old Cabrera is still very much a kid, one who hasn't been widely noted for his top-shelf tools to date but in fairness to him he's just so young too that the tools haven't really had a chance to materialize yet. So while the power, speed, and arm strength all technically project right now to be more on the average side of things, the fact is nobody truly knows just yet how much stronger he is going to get in the coming years. At 5-foot-10 and just 165 pounds, given his extreme youth, there is some considerable physical ceiling yet to be tapped physically. And when combining that with his advanced feel for hitting and his already solid defensive abilities, as well as through the rough makeup, it's quite possible that Cabrera could develop into one of the better all-around shortstop prospects eventually. Hitting-wise there are some legitimate comparisons to Mets' infielder Wilmer Flores but Cabrera has a lot more defensive potential, speed, and range at a similar age.
ETA. N/A. Cabrera advanced three minor league levels in his first season and even got to play under the lights too. His bat is so advanced that it's not out of the question that he could potentially see some long-season league time at some point in 2017 but the safer bet has him back in the short-season leagues next season, either back in Pulaski for some more seasoning or potentially even in Staten Island if things break right for him in Extended Spring Training.