A's Pick Up Where Yordy Cabrera's Father Left Off

PHOENIX—A legion of scouts descended on Lakeland (Fla.) High to watch Yordy Cabrera play shortstop prior to the 2010 draft. Nearly all agreed his future would be at third base.

Two folks dissented, however, and their opinions carry the most weight for the Athletics: farm director Keith Lieppman and Cabrera himself.

"I can play there, (and) for the rest of my career," Cabrera said. "I love it."

"He has a good arm—that may be his best tool," Lieppman said. "He has good hands. He has all the skills to stay at shortstop."

Scouts expect that the 6-foot-4 Cabrera eventually will outgrow the position. For now, the Athletics intend to keep their rifle-armed 20-year-old in the middle of the diamond.

"His size is fine," Lieppman said. "Something would have to change dramatically to make us want to make the switch right now."

A second-round pick last June, Cabrera has become one of Oakland's more intriguing prospects. He spent his early years in his native Dominican Republic, but at age 14 he called his father and told him that he wanted to live with him in the United States.

His father is Basilio Cabrera, a manager and hitting instructor in the Tigers system. Yordy came to the U.S. and entered the Lakeland school system, graduating at age 19 and entering the draft. He also got an education in baseball from a father devoted to teaching him the skills that would enhance his career.

"Oh yes, he taught me everything I know before getting into pro ball," Cabrera said. "He was the one who developed me. He's always there for me—we talk every day. We're best friends, pretty much."

Cabrera signed at the deadline for $1.25 million, then joined the Rookie-level Arizona League squad in time to play in five games.

"He's a very tools-oriented player. In the short amount of time we've had him, he's really shown the capability to hit for power," Lieppman said. "He has a real easy swing. You can tell that he's from a good baseball family, (and) his dad taught him to have a good work ethic.

"When you combine that with the talent, you have the makings of a good major league player."


• Elbow soreness will keep 19-year-old lefty Ian Kroll out for at least the first month of the season.

• Righthander James Simmons missed last season with arm injuries and did not report to spring training until the end of camp as he continued his rehab program at home.