As the roster continues to be trimmed down, it's becoming more and more clear that the competition for the final roster spot is down to Clay Rapada and Cesar Cabral for the 7th and final spot in the bullpen. Joe has acknowledged that this is the case and said he envisions using whichever guy is chosen as the true LOOGY and making Boone Logan a general middle reliever. So that being the situation, who makes more sense for the Yankees to take?
Both Rapada and Cabral have pitched very well this spring, and their stat lines stack up very well:
- Rapada: 8.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 11 K in 9 appearances
- Cabral: 10.1 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 12 K in 9 appearances
Rapada has been more consistent over the course of the spring while Cabral has come on of late, allowing 0 runs, 3 hits, and striking out 9 over 5 IP in his last 4 appearances, including an impressive 2-inning, 6 K performance against Tampa a week ago. Where the comparisons really start to drift apart is in the L/R splits. Rapada has been murder on lefties this spring, allowing just 1 baserunner (on a BB) and striking out 8 in 4.2 IP against left-handed hitters, but has given up more hits and more walks against righties, living up to his extreme career L/R split. Cabral has actually been better against right-handed hitting, blanking righties over 5.2 IP while giving up the majority of his hits and all his runs allowed against lefties. The small sample size curse could be at work here, though, as 8 of Cabral's 12 strikeouts have come against left-handed hitters.
Ultimately the decision will come down to how much upside the Yankees think Cabral has. At 23, he is considerably younger than Rapada and conceivably could be developed into a more effective and possibly complete relief pitcher. Rapada would be viable as a LOOGY and LOOGY alone. With the success each has had this spring, they are very likely to get a job elsewhere if they aren't chosen, Rapada because of his MiL deal and Cabral because of his Rule 5 draft pick status, so the Yankees are going to lose whichever guy they don't pick. I was high on Rapada earlier in camp, but I'm leaning towards Cabral now because of his youth and better performance against righties. Having that kind of flexibility in the 'pen with Cabral and Logan makes the entire bullpen that much deeper.
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