Yordy Cabrera has definitely struggled in his three minor league seasons. Ever since being drafted sixtieth overall in the 2010 Amateur Draft by Oakland, Cabrera has failed to live up to the huge expectations that come with the $1.25 million signing bonus he received. So what caused Oakland to draft Cabrera when shortstops such as Angelo Gumbs and Andrelton Simmons were available?
Cabrera was drafted out of Lakeland High School at the age of nineteen - already a year older than his senior class. Lakeland High School is less than five hours away from Miami, so it's fair to say that Marlins representatives have likely been watching Cabrera play since his high school days.
At the time of the draft, Cabrera was known for his well above-average arm and athleticism. Though few people thought Cabrera could stick at shortstop long-term, many were impressed by his reaction times and quick hands over at shortstop. One aspect of prospecting that often gets overrated, especially when it comes to shortstops, is projecting them based on their raw power. Cabrera is another example of that theory. Cabrera was expected to hit for power once he filled into his body, but now that appears close to impossible. He is never going to hit for power, and scouts should have been able to see that back when he was in high school.
Yordy Cabrera broke onto the scene as a top draft prospect after attending several high school All-Star games as a senior and leaving an impression on scouts and team executives. Cabrera's arm, speed, athleticism, and body made him fairly highly-regarded heading into the 2010 draft. Nonetheless, Cabrera's inability to stick at shortstop should have led the A's to select a different prospect.
In 2011, Cabrera's first full minor league season, he hit .231/.297/.332 in 101 games at Burlington in the Midwest League. On the bright side, Cabrera did steal twenty-three bases in just twenty-nine attempts. This past year in 2012, Cabrera took a step back by posting a 64 wRC+ in just sixty games and only stealing two bases. Most of Cabrera's struggles at the plate have been due to bad hitting mechanics.
Cabrera has the tools necessary to become one of the best third base prospects in the game. However, tools don't always equal success, and Cabrera's inconsistent defense and shabby hitting mechanics aren't leading him down the right path. The reasons why Oakland selected Cabrera in the second round of the 2010 draft are fairly obvious. Still, it surprises me that such a great drafting team would take Cabrera over some of the other options available. Nonetheless, athleticism, speed, and arm strength were what made Cabrera such a highly-touted prospect coming into draft day.