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Astros: Dana Brown- Options Trader- Trey Cabbage Trade Analysis

Updated: Feb 2

Executive Summary- The Trey Cabbage trade may be great for the Astros. It is probably too early to tell based on his time so far in the MLB. The Trey Cabbage trade is a typical move for Dana Brown. Astros fans should get comfortable with Dana Brown searching for options like this Trey Cabbage trade.

Here is a Trey Cabbage video highlight from last year at AAA.

Here is the Astros official tweet announcing the Trey Cabbage trade:

During the 2023 season, I talked about how I thought Dana Brown was doing a good job of giving the Astros OPTIONS at little to no cost. I am not even considering the bigger deals when I talk about this. I am focusing on the low risk / unknown reward option type deals. Those options included:

  • 1/31/23 - Signed Ty Buttrey to a Minor League deal.

  • 2/7/23 - Signed Bryan Garcia to a Minor League deal.

  • 2/13/23 - Claimed Matt Gage off waivers.

  • 5/5/23 - Purchased Nick Allgeyer from Philadelphia.

  • 5/8/23 - Purchase Kyle McGowin from Staten Island.

  • 6/17/23 - Traded for Bligh Madris

  • 6/23/23 - Traded for Spenser Watkins (lost to waivers on 8/8)

  • 6/24/23 - Signed Jon Singleton as a free agent.

  • 7/31/23 - Claimed Jake Cousins off waivers.

  • 8/16/23 - Signed Andrew Knapp as a MiLB free agent.

  • 9/3/23 - Claimed Benett Sousa off waivers.

  • 10/25/23 - Claimed Oliver Ortega off waivers.

  • 11/18/23 - Signed Kervin Castro as a MiLB free agent.

  • 12/3/23 - Signed Brailyn Marquez as a MiLB free agent.

  • 12/6/23 - Traded for Dylan Coleman

  • 12/7/23 - Signed Wander Suero as a MiLB free agent.

  • 12/12/23 - Signed Tayler Scott as a MiLB free agent.

  • 12/21/23 - Signed Chris Gittens as a MiLB free agent.

  • 1/4/24 - Claimed Declan Cronin off waivers.

  • 1/29/24 - Re-Signed Joel Kuhnel as a MiLB free agent

  • 1/31/24 - Traded for Trey Cabbage

These are deals where 90% percent of them won't make a difference, and some in the Astros fan base get frustrated thinking "is that all" before there are big deals like the Hader signing. Folks, THIS is where Dana Brown is making a difference for the Astros. IF any of these deals make a difference, it will be like panning for gold and finding some. Brown may have to make fifty of these transactions to get one that really matters. One could argue the Sousa or Singletons deals already qualify.

So, the question today is:

Is the Dana Brown trade for Trey Cabbage an options type deal that will make a difference for the Astros?

I would submit to you that MLB General Managers have a secondary task for their teams that intend to challenge for the postseason. They need to mitigate the effects of potential injuries on their teams. The best GMs do this proactively when they can. Dana Brown got hired so late last year that he had to address these situations on the fly last year.

For example, we know now that Jose Abreu's back was having issues most of last season. I would submit to you that the Astros signed Singleton in late June as partly an injury mitigation for Abreu. They did not really have an option in AAA that was showing he was ready for the MLB.

  • Matijevic on 6/23/23 was hitting 90 wRC+ in AAA

  • Singleton had hit 119 wRC+ in AAA before the Brewers had released him.

Why am I giving you this preamble? Because THAT is how I view Trey Cabbage and most of the options trade/ deals that Dana Brown is making. Dana Brown is giving himself another OPTION for the 2024 Astros. Cabbage is another Dana Brown lottery ticket. You keep playing the lottery Dana. Some day you might win a large prize.

Who is Trey Cabbage (MLB Profile)?

I had never heard of him until yesterday. I am not the prospects guru guy and do not pretend to be. Here are some things I see as I would call Trey Cabbage a younger version of Jon Singleton.

Cabbage Comp

Cabbage is five years younger than Singleton. He has potential to play both 1B and the OF. In very limited data, one may question his range in the outfield.

Cabbage Stats

The AAA stats for Singleton and Cabbage are VERY similar with Cabbage walking less and striking out more. There is one factor that Cabbage has that Singleton does not- speed. Cabbage stole 33 SB in 2023. Cabbage seemed to add the SB as a big part of his game in the 2022 season. This could be a differentiator vs. Singleton.

Singleton has had a weird anomaly with his MLB stats. Both of the LHHs have been better in the MiLB vs. RHP. Singleton in his MLB career has not hit vs. RHP.

So, if Cabbage is basically the same player as Singleton with speed, then Dana Brown may have just traded for Singleton injury insurance or possibly more. We will see. Monitor this battle in Spring Training. I think they are probably pretty even as it starts. Both can be valuable as PH vs. RHPs.

Options traders in the stock market can tell us how this works. They understand what Dana Brown is doing. The Trey Cabbage trade is the latest Dana Brown options trade for the Astros. Maybe this one turns to gold.

Addition- Warning Signs with Cabbage

I am adding this because I missed some of this initially, and it does give an alternate view. I strive to give you the most accurate analysis I can. There are warning signs with Cabbage.

  1. The BABIPs (Baseball Reference Page)

    1. 2023 MLB- 0.370 in 56 PA

    2. 2023 AAA- 0.394 in 474 PA

    3. 2022 AA- 0.474 in 136 PA

    4. 2021 AA- 0.393 in 278 PA

    5. I don't know how to treat this. Normally, I would raise a red flag and scream, "He has just been lucky!" Is he a high BABIP guy with his speed and power? I just don't know.

  2. wOBA 0.239/ xwOBA 0.172 Gap- Another indicator of luck.

  3. Projections are all over the place (Fangraphs data)

    1. ZiPS has at 96/99 wRC+

    2. FGDC has at 91 wRC+

    3. Steamer has at 81 wRC+

    4. Which one is it? That is the difference of sticking as an MLB backup or going back to AAA.

Folks, when I say Cabbage is a lottery ticket and Dana Brown is trading with potential options, I mean it. I do not have a strong conviction to give you here. I suppose that is good news given their minimal investment.

Another Tidbit

AAA Career stats

  • Cabbage 26.7 yr old - 474 PA OPS - 0.975 OPS

  • Julks 27.9 yr old - 719 PA - 0.853 OPS

  • Adolph 27.1 yr old - 73 PA - 0.773 OPS

  • Hamilton 25.6 yr old - 132 PA - 0.771 OPS

  • Leon 25.7 yr old - 1143 PA - 0.765 OPS

  • Loperfido 24.7 yr old - 138 PA - 0.737 OPS

  • Dirden 26.5 yr old - 506 PA - 0.708 OPS

  • Arias 26.7 yr old - 9 PA

  • Corona 23.9 yr old - 0 PA

Which Astros AAA OF/ 1B are you worried Cabbage could steal time from?

2023 Averages for context

  • PCL Average - 0.822 OPS

  • Sugar Land - 0.764 OPS

  • Salt Lake (where Cabbage played) - 0.811 OPS

If you want some other takes on the Trey Cabbage trade, here are some suggestions:

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