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A deeper dive into Edward Cabrera’s start vs. the Rockies

Cabrera returned to the big leagues and pitched incredibly well on Wednesday.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Edward Cabrera (27) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports

With the Marlins running low on starting rotation candidates due to injuries, they had little choice but to call up right-hander Edward Cabrera from Triple-A Jacksonville. The good news is that the highly ranked prospect looks like he’s ready for the challenge. His start against the Rockies in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader was the best of his young major league career.

Edward earned his first win at the highest level, totaling a personal-best 9 strikeouts. Cabrera also made some history in the second inning by retiring Brendan Rodgers on a 96 MPH changeup. This is the fastest changeup strikeout recorded in the pitch-tracking era (since at least 2008), according to Baseball Savant.

Keep in mind, Coors Field is the toughest environment for MLB pitchers. On a day when 40 runs were scored by the Marlins and Rockies combined, Cabrera made it look easy.

Something else to note is that the Rockies went hitless until the 6th inning. C.J. Cron singled to end Cabrera’s bid for a no-no.

Compared to the Edward we got to know last season, the plus velocity was still there—he maxed out at 99 MPH and averaged 97.0 MPH. Control is still an issue as he walked 4 batters and had 2 other hit by pitches.

As Aram Leighton of Just Baseball points out, his changeup made a huge difference. “Even at altitude, Cabrera’s changeup featured more vertical drop,” Aram writes, “giving it more of a gyro-changeup profile.” For the most part, Cabrera located it low in the strike zone and to his arm side (inside to righties and away from lefties). It was his most-used pitch in this start (37.2% of his total pitches) and got the majority of his swinging strikes.

Cabrera’s fastball was a bit out of control, but didn’t lead to any hard hits for the Rockies. He mixed in 25 breaking balls—curveballs and sliders—which sometimes caught batters by surprise and helped him get into better counts.

Before Thursday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, I had the opportunity to speak to catcher Nick Fortes. He has more experience working with Edward than any other catcher in the Marlins organization, dating back to 2018 at Low-A.

Fortes had this to say on calling the pitches for this impressive start:

Cabrera is lined up to make his next start against the Washington Nationals, the same team that he faced in his major league debut.