He was a major prospect as a high schooler in 2017, but Cabrera made it to campus at Louisiana State University and has thrived in his three years there. As a member of the LSU Tigers, Cabrera has had a distinguished career and posted a career .300/.382/.520 line. Like fellow Tigers draftee Dillon Dingler, Cabrera was getting first round buzz as the draft drew close, but slipped as many teams are drafting with an eye to finances. Detroit took advantage and popped him well after he was anticipated to be gone.
Cabrera’s numbers with LSU are not a mirage or a product of poor competition, he was one of the most ready-made hitters available in this draft class. His polished swing and advanced approach at the plate has long been his calling card and he’s been an impact performer from the day he donned the purple and gold.
“He’s since been a productive SEC hitter and a cog in one of the conference’s best lineups. His loose lefty swing has natural loft and above average bat speed,” wrote Prospects Live, who rated him 30th among draft prospects. “His real strength is his ability to adjust on pitches and mid-at bat.”
That feeling is echoed throughout scouting reports on Cabrera just about everywhere. Both MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs grade him as a future above-average hitter and Eric Longenhagen commented that his swing is “potent.”
There are concerns about what Cabrera’s ultimate ceiling may be. The Prospects Live report referenced earlier also expressed some concern about his ability to recognize breaking balls below the zone, but he’s an adept hitter and that’s considered a fixable problem. More concerning is the fact that, as a corner outfielder, the expectation for a player to be a prolific hitter if they’re going to pin down a regular role. Cabrera has the ability to drive the ball consistently, but there are questions about whether he’ll ever bring over-the-fence power into his game. Without much in the organization to block his ascent to that role, though, we’ll likely find out sooner than later.
The Tigers’ next selection comes in at 73rd overall.