A 2023 MLB season that’s already seen more than its fair share of electric pitching prospect debuts is about to get another one, as the Cincinnati Reds are reportedly set to call up lefty Andrew Abbott from Triple-A:
David Bell confirms Andrew Abbott will start Monday vs the Brewers.— Brian Giesenschlag (@BGiesenschlag) June 4, 2023
Hunter Greene’s next start will be pushed back a few extra days as he’s dealing with stiffness in his right hip.
Abbott will get the ball for his first Major League start at home on Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds have five healthy starters in their rotation in Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, Brandon Williamson, Ben Lively and Luke Weaver. But the last three of those names don’t figure to be central to the team’s long-term plans, and given Abbott’s performance so far this season it makes sense to give MLB Pipeline’s No. 95 overall prospect his first crack at the Majors.
It caps a meteoric rise for the lefty, who caught fire toward the end of last season and has ridden that momentum all the way from A-ball to the Show in about nine months. But just what makes him so effective, and what does it mean for your fantasy baseball team?
Andrew Abbott fantasy impact
A four-year star at the University of Virginia, Abbott was thought to be a fast riser when the Reds took him in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Command problems short-circuited that plan, though, with the lefty walking 38 en route to a 5.76 ERA in his first four months at Double-A last season.
But once the calendar flipped to September, something clicked: Abbott closed the year with 21 strikeouts and no earned runs — and, crucially, just three walks — over his last 16 innings. That’s continued so far this year, in a big way:
Three eye-popping starts to begin the year at Double-A — a 1.15 ERA with 36 strikeouts in just 15.2 innings — earned Abbott the call to Triple-A Louisville, and he’s just kept on dominating ever since. The lefty has pitched to a 3.05 ERA across seven outings, with a 12.7 K/9 and just 14 walks over 38.1 innings of work.
Abbott won’t light up any radar guns, sitting around 92-94 mph with his fastball, but he’s commanded the pitch very well for almost a full year now — and when your breakers are as good as his are, you don’t need your heater to do too much. The lefty boasts both a curveball and a sweeping, frisbee slider, both of which have missed bats and induced weak contact at every level, while his changeup (with a 38.1% whiff rate) profiles as at least an average offering that he can use to combat righties.
The command could backslide at the highest level, but it’s encouraging that Abbott hasn’t slowed down despite multiple promotions. Great American Ball Park is a tough place for any pitcher, but Abbott’s strikeout upside makes him a recommended add in 12-team leagues and deeper.