ATLANTA -- Time will tell whether Mauricio Cabrera has the ability to harness a high-velocity fastball that has placed him in the exclusive company of Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. But through his first two big league appearances, the Braves reliever has proven he can throw strikes while consistently lighting up
ATLANTA -- Time will tell whether Mauricio Cabrera has the ability to harness a high-velocity fastball that has placed him in the exclusive company of Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. But through his first two big league appearances, the Braves reliever has proven he can throw strikes while consistently lighting up the radar gun board with triple-digit readings.
While retiring the only two batters he faced during the eighth inning of Wednesday night's 3-0 loss to the Indians at Turner Field, Cabrera threw six fastballs, each of which clocked at least 100 mph. Two of those heaters registered 103 mph and two others were 102 mph.
"I've been very impressed with him, because we've brought him in both times with guys on and he's gotten the ball in the strike zone, and a hundred is a hundred," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "There's just not a lot of guys that do that. Every time he comes in, I like what I see."
According to Statcast™, Chapman and Cabrera are the only big league pitchers who have thrown pitches that have clocked at least 102 mph this season.
Chapman entered Wednesday having thrown 336 pitches, 10 of which have registered at least 103 mph and 36 of which registered at least 102 mph. Cabrera has thus far totaled 15 pitches. Each of the 12 fastballs he has thrown has registered at least 100 mph. Two have registered at least 103 mph and six have registered at least 102 mph.
So what is the difference between a fastball that registers 100 mph and another that hits at least 103 mph?
"It depends if it's straight or not," said Braves catcher Tyler Flowers who has been behind the plate for both of Cabrera's first two appearances.
So how would you describe Cabrera's 103-mph fastballs?
"They weren't straight," Flowers said. "It's a little challenging. Whenever he's in on righties, it gets a little run on it. Whenever he's away, it's relatively straight and has even a little cut on some. It's a nice weapon to have at such a high velocity."
Cabrera issued 18 walks in 17 1/3 innings for Double-A Mississippi last year and 22 more in the 33 2/3 innings he completed for the same affiliate this year. But he issued just six walks in the 17 innings leading up to his promotion to Atlanta earlier this week.
Since making his debut on Monday, Cabrera has surrendered one hit and retired four of the six batters he has faced. More importantly, he has registered a strike with 11 of his 15 pitches.
"Hopefully we'll keep working him in in some of those situations," Snitker said. "I'm sure there are things as [pitching coach Roger McDowell] lays eyes on him he'll want to work with."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.