Pirates, Tigers Trade Minor Leaguers

The Detroit Tigers have traded one-time top pitching prospect Andrew Oliver to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league catcher Ramon Cabrera.

Oliver, a left-handed pitcher drafted in 2009 as a second-round pick out of Oklahoma State, was rushed to the big leagues in 2010. He struggled and went 0-4 with an ERA of 7.36 and a WHIP of 1.773 in five starts. He also made two starts for the Tigers in 2011 where his struggles continued as he posted a 6.52 ERA with a WHIP of 1.966. He spent all of 2012 in Triple-A Toledo here he went 5-9 with an ERA of 4.88 and a WHIP of 1.619. He had a 112/88 K/BB ratio in 118 innings.

The Tigers moved him into a relief role at the end of last season. While he put up an impressive strikeout rate of 20 in just 16 and two-thirds innings, he also gave up 12 walks.

Cabrera comes from a major league pedigree. He is the son of former Diamondbacks first baseman and Japanese League superstar Alex Cabrera. In 384 at-bats last season for Double-A Altoona, Cabrera batted .279 with an on-base percentage of .342 and a slugging percentage of .367. However, he is considered below average defensively having thrown out just 22 percent of runners trying to steal a base off of him throughout his minor league career. It seems unlikely that his bat would play well anywhere other then catcher, limiting his chances of having a future in the big leagues unless he improves his defense behind the plate.

He only played one game last season in Triple-A so it is unknown if the Tigers plan to start him out in Double-A or move him up to Triple-A.

In regards to Oliver, Pittsburgh hasn’t given any indication whether or not he will be used as a starter or a reliever. However, he is only a two-pitch guy with a fastball and a slider, so a relief role would likely be the better fit for him.

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