A funny thing happened on Andrew Abbott’s road through his college career. It’s a good sign for his future.
- Born: June 1, 1999
- B/T: Left/Left
- 6’0″, 180-lbs
- Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2021 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of Virginia.
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
Abbott started his pro career in complex ball where he had no problem with the seven batters he faced. So off to A-ball he went, and he continued to get oodles (a technical scouting term) of strikeouts, but his control needed work and his WHIP suffered.
So far in 2022, now in High-A, he on the oodles-plus level of strikeouts, still dealing with control issues, but the hits have been luckier and his WHIP hasn’t had quite the workout it had the year before.
EDIT Dec. 9th, 2002:
With a full season to look at now, we see Abbott finished his High-A time with 12 more innings in which his WHIP came down as his walks came down, and he finished that level looking just fine. His five games at High-A had walks of 2-2-2-1-0.
Then he went to Double-A and the strikeouts dropped and the walks shot to their highest level yet. Granted, he still strikes out enough to keep his K-BB% rate fine. But that walk rate! Let’s take a closer look:
There’s his great full April. Then he goes to Double-A and has a great first month. It was June where he struggled, and then July where the walks peaked. But then in August he started to right the ship, and by September he was right back to dominating with his highest K-BB% of the season!
He strikes out 23% of the lefties he faces, and 49% of the righties he faces. But then he has a worse WHIP against righties, and his only HR and five of his six walks have come against him.
So for a guy who strikes out so many batters, why didn’t he have more hype. Here’s why:
In his University of Virginia years, he spent his first three seasons in their pen. A lot of scouts saw him as a guy with a decent fastball but needing to work on his secondary pitches, and might not have the stamina to start. Abbott heard that talk and said:
With 106.2 innings pitched as a starter his Senior season, he matched his previous three seasons combined. The Reds drafted him and have been developing him as a starter since.
EDIT Dec. 9th, 2002: (As you see, the scouts grew more interested later in the season)
He hasn’t reached Double-A yet. [Updated Dec. 9th, 2022]
He walks too many.
His secondaries (a good curve and a very improved changeup) need to be firmed up to remain a starter.
Abbott knows what he has to work on, and he has the mindset to do that. He needs to tighten up his pitch quality, and he’s at the level to do so. I want to see the walks come down by the time he’s finished with Double-A. [Edit Dec. 9th, 2022 — He did just that]
If he does that, he has the ceiling of a #4 SP in the majors. [Edit Dec. 9th, 2022 — Maybe even a #3]
Are you going to tell him he can’t?
EDIT Dec. 9th, 2002: Abbott is now described as having three at-least average pitches, with a good curve and a deceptive changeup, plus a new slider. All he needs is to work on his command. But he had three good command months out of six, with only the summer months where he lost control of his pitching. By the end of the season he was dominating Double-A, so the next step is Triple-A in 2023. If he can keep the walks in check, this could be a mid-rotation arm in the majors. At a minimum, he looks like a end-rotation innings guy. But again, are you going to tell him he can’t be more?