Yordy Cabrera can play with the pros

Jim Ecker
Published: Thursday, July 2, 2009

When Yordy Cabrera has the time, he wanders over to Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla., and works out with the Detroit Tigers' team in the Gulf Coast Rookie League. Cabrera will be a senior at Lakeland High School this year, but he can already handle playing with the first-year pros.

And forget about Rookie Ball. According to one expert, Yordy could compete at an even higher level if given the chance.

"He can compete in 'A' ball right now," said Basilio Cabrera, Yordy's father and the manager of the Gulf Coast Tigers.

Basilio Cabrera might be a little biased, but he reached Double-A ball during his minor-league career and is a veteran coach and skipper.

Yordy Cabrera is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound shortstop, third baseman and pitcher. He was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States with his family when he was 14, not speaking a word of English. He's learned the language and learned how to play the game at a very high level.

"He's a 5-tool player," his father said. "He can do everything in baseball. Power. Speed. Hit for average. Great arm."

Cabrera will display his skills at the 2009 Aflac All-American High School Classic at PETCO Park in San Diego on Sunday, Aug. 16 as a member of the East squad. He was named as an infielder and pitcher, which should give him a chance to flash his glove, bat and 94 mph fastball.

Cabrera said he's looking forward to playing in the Aflac game. "It's a great opportunity," he said.

Basilio Cabrera played in the minor leagues for seven years before becoming a coach and manager. Yordy said his father taught him "pretty much everything" about baseball, starting at an early age. "I grew up with the game," he said. "I was always playing and watching it."

Cabrera is bilingual now, but English was a completely foreign language when he moved to Florida four years ago. "It was pretty much hard," he said. "I had to learn the language. I got through it."

His father is proud of the way his son has adapted to a new country and a new language. "It was kind of hard in the beginning. He got used to it and did a good job," Basilio said.

Yordy is perfectly fluent in baseball, whether it's Spanish or English. He helped Lakeland High School win the Florida Class 6A state championship in 2008 and hit .446 with four homers, 19 stolen bases, 29 RBIs and a 1.98 ERA this past season.

Cabrera enjoys practicing with his father's Rookie League Team and hanging around the stadium with his father and the players. "Every time he has a chance," Basilio said. "He loves it. It's always a joy to have somebody like that around."

Cabrera has committed to play college baseball at the University of Miami (Fla.), but he's considered one of the top high school prospects for the 2010 draft and probably will have a big decision to make next year. He said he'll worry about that when the time comes.

He's already proven to at least one minor league manager that he's ready for pro ball.

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