2010 MLB Draft Q&A: Yordy Cabrera

Coming over to the United States in his early teens, Lakeland Senior High School star Yordy Cabrera has emerged as one of the top position prospects in the 2010 draft. We sat down with the shortstop to discuss his big move, the longest homerun he's ever hit, and the toughest pitcher he's faced so far.

I will be running a new interview with one of the best MLB draft prospects 2010 has to offer each Sunday and Wednesday up until June, and you can click here to find an up to date archive of them all.

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Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Are you still 6'3", 195 lbs?

Yordy Cabrera: Yeah, I'm around 190 lbs now. I've been working out with light weights and just getting in shape.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Do you play any other sports besides baseball?

Yordy Cabrera: I used to play soccer, but once I found my skills in baseball I stopped playing everything else – that was about five years ago.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: You moved here from the Dominican when you were 14 years old. How difficult was the transition for you?

Yordy Cabrera: Yeah, it was difficult at the beginning but then I kind of got used to it. I didn't know the language so I had to really focus on what I wanted to do; concentrate on learning the language. Once I learned the language things were easier.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: How did baseball help you through that transition?

Yordy Cabrera: It's always been the game that I love, and whenever or wherever I play I always feel comfortable with it.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What drew you to commit to Miami?

Yordy Cabrera: They have a great baseball program and team, the school is fantastic, and the coaches are really nice and understand how things work.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What other schools were you considering?

Yordy Cabrera: I was looking at schools like Florida and Florida State, but Miami was the one that got my attention pretty quickly.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: So how much do you think about the draft?

Yordy Cabrera: Believe it or not, I honestly haven't thought about it. Right now I'm not thinking about the draft and I'm not thinking about college, I'm just enjoying my last high school year and focusing on helping my high school team to see how far we can go. We're having a pretty good season right now - we've only lost three games so far and won fifteen. We have a good team and just have to stay within ourselves.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: When you do allow yourself to dream of playing professional baseball, what's the picture you get in your mind?

Yordy Cabrera: [laughs] I see myself pretty successful young man, a player that everyone likes to see and everyone goes to see.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: How many teams have you heard from?

Yordy Cabrera: I've heard from pretty much all of them.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Were the Yankees one of those teams?

Yordy Cabrera: Yeah, I got a letter from them and a workout invitation. I haven't been to any of those workouts yet though.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Is your dad still the manager of the Tigers GCL team?

Yordy Cabrera: Yes, he's the manager.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What kind of influence has that had in your baseball life?

Yordy Cabrera: It's helped me a lot because I really get to see what it takes to be there, all the extra work you've got to do, and the kind of people you have to deal with – there are going to be lots of different types of people, and you just have to go out, be a good teammate, and play the game the way it's supposed to be played.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Did you hang around that team a lot?

Yordy Cabrera: Yeah, I hang out with some of them, and whenever I have free time I just go and watch the games, or the practice, and try to pick up things that I don't know or need to learn.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Do you get to practice with them?

Yordy Cabrera: No, the always practice on their own, but I get to watch and help my dad with whatever he needs.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Can you describe your hitting style?

Yordy Cabrera: I'm pretty much just looking for one pitch to hit when I'm up there – the one that makes me comfortable, and that's the one that I don't miss. When I get my pitch I'm going for it and trying to do something with it.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: I've heard from a bunch of guys that you have a ton of power. Do you remember the longest homerun you've ever hit?

Yordy Cabrera: Yeah, I've hit some pretty far homeruns. I think the longest was at a field that was 425 feet to centerfield and I hit one over that wall that was probably around 500 feet. I'm not really sure though because those are things that I don't really pay much attention to – I don't make a big deal about it.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Wow, was that with metal or wood?

Yordy Cabrera: That was with a metal bat. With a wood bat it's probably 475 feet or something like that.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: So you clearly have the power, but what about being able to use all fields?

Yordy Cabrera: I consider myself a guy that can hit side to side; I can hit it hard to rightfield, and I can hit it hard to leftfield – it doesn't matter to me, either way I'll hit it.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Defensively you've been playing shortstop, but will you stay there when you go to Miami?

Yordy Cabrera: Yeah, that's where I play now, and that's where they say I'll be playing – that's where they want me.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Have any scouts said that they see you more as a third baseman or corner outfielder?

Yordy Cabrera: They really don't tell me anything about it, they just say to keep working hard and we'll see what happens at the end of the day.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: You've pitched in the past, but are you still doing so?

Yordy Cabrera: Yes, I'm the closer on my team.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Can you give me a description of your arsenal?

Yordy Cabrera: My fastball, in a good game, is sitting 95-96 MPH, but most of the time I'm 94-95 MPH. My changeup is about 72 MPH, and my breaking ball is 69-70 MPH.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Which one is your outpitch?

Yordy Cabrera: My best pitch, you mean?

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Yes, which one do you go to when you need a big strikeout?

Yordy Cabrera: [laughs] My fastball!

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Are any teams looking at you as a pitcher at all, or do they all see you as a hitter?

Yordy Cabrera: I think they all look at me as a hitter right now, but no matter where I go – if I sign or go to college – they'll have the option to turn me into a pitcher…but I don't think that will happen! [laughs]

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What is your personality on the field?

Yordy Cabrera: I think they would see that I'm a funny, friendly guy that's nice to everybody, and when I'm on the field I'm going to always be me no matter where I am.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Do you try and to not show emotion when you're playing?

Yordy Cabrera: No, I'm always happy when I'm on the field because that's the place where I want to be.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Who are the players that you look up to for their skills or the way they conduct themselves?

Yordy Cabrera: Albert Pujols is pretty much my favorite one out of all of them. His work ethic is amazing, and I just love watching him hit the ball.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What team were you a fan of growing up?

Yordy Cabrera: I don't have a favorite team, I always just go for the winners – it's fun to watch teams play well and win.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: If you could steal one skill from anyone else in your draft class, whose would it be and why?

Yordy Cabrera: Hmmm…I don't know – I think I can do it all! If I had to choose though, I'd probably take Jameson Taillon's arm.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Who is the toughest pitcher you've faced?

Yordy Cabrera: [laughs] I just gave you his name in my last answer!

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: He said that you were the toughest hitter that he's faced, that you had more power than he's ever seen. He said he wasn't scared of you, but he was very careful with the way he pitched you.

Yordy Cabrera: [laughs]Well I wasn't scared of him, but I had to really concentrate when facing him!

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: When you're away from the baseball field what do you like to do?

Yordy Cabrera: I like to hang out with my friends, watch movies, find an interesting book to read, or just relax around the house.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: If you were drafted and the team offered you a nice contract, is playing professionally out of high school something that you would consider?

Yordy Cabrera: I really don't know – I haven't thought about it. I don't know what I'm going to do yet, and it would take me a little time to think about it if that happened.

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: But you would consider the opportunity if it presented itself?

Yordy Cabrera: Yeah.

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