So exactly what were the Cardinals thinking bringing up Genesis (yes, I know it's pronounced HEN-uh-sis, but I'm not going to let that stand in the way of a good pun) Cabrera?
Jake Woodford is pitching lights out in Memphis. And Daniel Ponce de Leon is a proven commodity, albeit small sample sizes, in the majors. So what gives?
In short, it's the big league's brass fascination with speed. Cabrera's 100 mph stuff is like catnip to the front office. Two additional motives in play here as well.
Motive 1: Cabrera is the second coming of Jordan Hicks.
If you squint hard enough, you can see similarities between the two in looking at Hicks' last minor league season. Hicks started that season in A-ball (Peoria) where he gave up as many. hits (75) as innings (78) and way too many walks, more than a walk every two innings. Hicks wasn't prolific at striking people out at this level (63 K in 78 IP) but he limited the long ball giving up just 3 homers. His wildness was on display with 13 HPB in those 78 innings. Ouch!
When Hicks moved up to high A in Palm Beach, he found better control. Only 6 walks in 27 innings, just 21 hits and the strikeouts soared to 32. Most telling, the HBP dropped to 2 (Florida State League hitters thank you Mr. Hicks).
The problem with Cabrera is he's never shown that progression. In fact, he's been fairly constant across all levels of baseball. Here's what to expect with Cabrera:
More hits than IP.
True in Springfield last year, Memphis this year and, sadly, in St. Louis (13 H, 8.1 IP).
Plenty of gopher balls.
One every 4 innings in Memphis and in St. Louis.
One walk every two innings.
Again, true at his last three stops. There's some mitigation here with a strikeout an inning but when you give up that many hits, walks and homeruns, there is going to be damage. Big damage. StL ERA: 6.48. Memphis ERA: 5.84. Springfield ERA: 4.74.
The question isn't why Cabrera failed. The question is why did he get called up in the first place? The only thing he's got going for him is a fastball he can't control. Which brings us to...
Motive 2: The front office needs to save face for trading Tommy Pham for a bag of shag balls.
Cabrera and two guys named who are pretty weak return for a starting outfielder (Pham) slashing 282/398/450.
Lesson for the Redbirds front office---you can't fix one bad idea with another.
Up next: The Greatest Cardinals Pitcher You've Never Heard Of