Powerful Cabbage has 'a good shot' at making club

February 4th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Brian McTaggart's Astros Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Other than infielder/outfielder Mauricio Dubón and backup catcher Victor Caratini, the Astros will enter Spring Training with some question marks concerning the composition of their bench. Last week’s trade with the Angels to acquire gives first-year manager Joe Espada another option to compete with Jonathan Singleton, Grae Kessinger and Corey Julks, among others.

Cabbage brings versatility and speed, and the Astros hope he can tap into some of the power from the left side of the plate that he showed in the Minor Leagues last year. Cabbage hit .306/.379/.596 (.975 OPS) with 30 homers, 89 RBIs, 25 doubles and 32 stolen bases in 107 games with Triple-A Salt Lake in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

“I think he’s going to [Spring Training] to showcase what we all know he’s capable of doing,” Espada said. “We like what we see, we like what we heard from people in the industry and what he’s capable of doing. I think if he goes and shows he can hit for power and cut down on swing and miss, I think he’s got a good shot at making the club.”

Cabbage, 26, was DFA’d a week ago by the Angels. He made his MLB debut on July 24 and hit .208/.232/.321 (.553 OPS) with one homer, two doubles and seven RBIs in 22 games. He was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Halos’ No. 26 prospect.

The Astros are intrigued by his tools and his ability to play both corner outfield spots, as well as first base. Singleton can only play first base, Julks can only play in the outfield and Kessinger can play all over the infield. Espada said he thinks Cabbage is “an adjustment away from figuring some stuff out at the plate and being a legit threat offensively.”

Cabbage also has two Minor League options remaining and could shuffle between Triple-A Sugar Land and the big leagues this year, while also giving young prospects and fellow lefties Jacob Melton (the club’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline), Joey Loperfido (No. 6) and Will Wagner (No. 15) from being exposed in the Majors should each make their debut in 2024 and need more seasoning.

Cabbage was a fourth-round Draft pick by the Twins in 2015, then he joined the Angels' organization in '21. Over parts of eight Minor League seasons, he’s hit .261/.336/.473 (.809 OPS) with 96 homers, 345 RBIs and 62 stolen bases in 567 games. The Astros are his third organization.

“He sounded really excited,” Espada said. “He’s going get down [to the Astros' Spring Training facilities] early to get acclimated. He was asking if there were going to be coaches down there early to work out, and I said, ‘Yes, I’ll be down there.’ We have a [Minor League] minicamp going on. He sounded really excited and ready to take the field and show what he’s capable of doing.”