Monday is an off day around minor league baseball. This year we’re going to spend some time each Monday to look at some of the on-goings on the Cincinnati Reds farm system. Sometimes that’s going to be talking about specific players and what happened in the past week, but other times we may talk about some things that have taken place on the year to that point for a team or a player.
Andrew Abbott has been the star of the farm system through the first two weeks of the minor league season. Heck, he may even be the star of all of minor league baseball at this point. The left-handed starter has been hilariously good through his first two starts of the year for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. Abbott, the 23-year-old starting pitcher drafted in the 3rd round out of Virginia in 2021, fired off 4.2 hitless innings in his first start of the year. That start also featured just one walk and he struck out 11 batters.
That’s not a bad way to start the season. But it was bested the next time out as the lefty tossed 6.0 shutout innings that featured two singles allowed, no runs, no walks, and he struck out 14 of the 20 batters he faced in the game. Abbott needed just 82 pitches to complete his 6.0 innings. 24 of those pitches went down as swinging strikes against Mississippi hitters.
10.2 innings pitched, two hits, one walk, no runs, 25 strikeouts. It’s tough to imagine a better start to the season while factoring in that because it’s early in the season he’s been working with a limited pitch count and hasn’t been allowed to pitch deeper into the games just yet. No other pitcher in the farm system has more than 14 strikeouts so far this season (Joe Boyle has 14 in his 8.0 innings for Chattanooga).
Carlos Jorge just keeps hitting
The 2021 international signing group of the Cincinnati Reds has been outstanding since day one. While Carlos Jorge wasn’t the top signing in the class in terms of signing bonus – that went to current teammates Ariel Almonte and Malvin Valdez – Jorge got a sizeable bonus and was a good prospect at the time of the signing date. All he’s done since then is perform about as good as anyone in the entire class. As a 17-year-old in 2021 he hit .346/.436/.579 and had 27 stolen bases in 47 games in the Dominican Summer League while splitting time between second and short. Last season he spent most of his time at second base for the ACL Reds and hit .261/.405/.529 with 27 steals – leading the league by a wide margin – and finishing 4th in the league in OPS.
This season has been more of the same for the now 19-year-old infielder. He’s played in eight games with Daytona thus far and he gotten on base in each of them. Jorge has hit .333/.481/.714 so far with a double, two triples, and a home run. The left-handed hitter has also walked more than he’s struck out – fanning just four times while drawing five walks. His OPS of 1.195 is second in the league, as is his slugging percentage.
The way the Reds pitching has been going of late I’m sure it will be very tempting to bring Abbott up if he keeps pitching this way.
He’s older (23) than I originally thought. Perhaps he can skip a level in the minors?
I know it is not normal but didn’t Mike Leake skip the minors completely when he was signed. It would be really great if the kid was ready, but I also am worried he might not handle it well. You never know though.
Thanks for all of your hard work Doug. Outstanding content like this is why your sites are are always my first read when I want reds content.
Now the game threads on the other hand….
Abbott is really encouraging. The big question of course will be when does he get called up, and to where? If he continues to pitch well – his ERA could jump 2 runs and he’d still be incredible – then surely he’ll at least be headed to Louisville. But might it make sense for him to jump all the way to Cincinnati? Besides Mike Leake skipping the minors entirely, what precedent is there for a pitcher to jump from AA to Cincinnati? And succeed?
Luis Castillo made the jump and Mahle only pitched 2 months in AAA.
Mike Leake didn’t pitch in the minors at all. The Reds drafted him out of college and he won a starting pitching spot in Spring Training the very next year.
He did pitch in the Fall League, but never officially in the minors.
Most likely this is before most, if not all of you responding to these comments were born, but back in 1968 the Reds signed lefty Don Gullett right out of high school in Lynn, Kentucky. He then was assigned to Class A ball in Sioux Falls, Idaho where he threw 78 innings in 1969. When Cincinnati broke camp in the spring of 1970, Don Gullett was a member of the Reds’ bullpen, a left handed flame thrower, where he went 5-2 on the season with a 2.43 Earned Run Average. He became a starter in the 1971 season and was a prominent addition to that rotation from that ’71 season through 1976, left the Reds in free agency to sign with the Yankees and lasted two more years before shoulder issues got the best of him. But coming out of Class A ball, he was able to win 91 games for the Reds in those years and added 18 more victories for New York. He ended his career with a very respectable 3.11 ERA. Manager Sparky Anderson seemed always quick with the hyperbole of Hall Of Fame possibilities for young players and Gullett was no exception. Had it not been for those shoulder problems, who knows, that guy might have gone on to a very, very good career in the majors.
Where do the minor leagues for Dayton, Daytona and Chattanooga stack up in terms of hitter v pitcher friendly league and same with their home parks. I know I was at a game in the Florida A league awhile back and the parks were huge and didnt seem hitter friendly.
Dayton’s league is slightly pitcher friendly most year, but that’s also a bit deceiving. In the first two months or so it tends to be quite pitcher friendly because of the weather. Then it gets a little hitter friendly moving forward in the year.
Chattanooga’s league is neutral. So is Louisville’s league.
I think you’ve covered this at various points. Is the Florida league any different this year? Understand that it’s only a week in, but the Tortugas offense is about as good as the high expectations many felt. Has anything about the setting changed (field dimensions?) or is the pitching slow to get going? If they keep this up for several weeks there are 5 or 6 who could be in Dayton.
Great start for Legumina as well. With Sims on the way, the bullpen gets a little less awful and maybe some of these close losses can become wins.
As for the rotation, Churchill once said you can always count on Americans to do the right thing…after they’ve exhausted all other options. I get the feeling the front office will arrive at the conclusion Abbott is the best option only after cycling through all the older veteran AAAA types. Will they never learn?
All said, I’m good with where the team is. Always too much sorting in April instead of competing, but at least they’re treading water. Barring injury, they’ll only get better as the season progresses and the schedule eases up in May.
Abbot, Williamson, Stoudt and some others are still kind of “unknowns” in terms of how they will perform in the Majors.
Something seems to have really clicked with Abbot; mechanics, delivery, slightly better velocity, better breakfast cereal….I dunno.
But he will get a few more starts in AA ball before he gets promoted to AAA.
I think in regards to “Stuff”, he is ready, but if you push a player a little too fast, they can have a breakdown of sorts…they make some mistakes and lose confidence and then they take a big step backwards.
I remember seeing YouTube videos of Johnny Cueto in AA ball, and he looked like he had amazing stuff….for AA hitters. He struggled at times when he arrived in the Majors, but eventually he did get more consistent with his delivery. There is a lot less margin for error in the Majors, when guys hitting in the Bigs have a better eye and lay off pitches that are swinging strikes in AA or even AAA, that are out of the strike zone.
The Umps are better too in the Majors, and umpires everywhere make bad calls.
Cueto’s first ML game was not a fail though, as he dominated San Diego IIRC.
You don’t recall correctly. It was against Arizona. The only hit he gave up on the day still hasn’t landed. Justin Upton hit a ball over the moon. Cueto dominated everyone else over 7 innings.
On paper, Sims back in the bullpen seems like an upgrade. In real life, I have my doubts. Hope he proves me wrong.
It’s been a while since we have seen Sims even attempt to be the pitcher, he was a few years ago. Hopefully the injuries are behind him.
Abbott’s been awesome, but it’s still early. I want to see how he transitions to AAA. Last year he started like this in A ball, and when he transitioned to AA he wasn’t very good. He clearly found himself at the end of the season. I want to see if he figured something out that carries with him up to AAA, or if he’ll need time to acclimate to his new level of competition.
I can’t see them keeping him in AA more than 3 more starts, and if he’s pitching well 5 starts into AAA then it’s go time.
There are a few “highlight” videos of Andrew Abbott pitching on YouTube.
He has a good breaking curve, but by Major League standards, it sometimes looks a little sloppy (to my relatively untrained eye).
It works pretty good in the minors, but Major Leaguers might crush “hanging” curve balls, or lay off the curves that are out of the strike zone.
His stuff looks pretty good, but he will have to sharpen it up with regards to consistency and location. To my untrained eye.
Any updates on the injured prospects???Collier/CES/EDLC?
Collier isn’t injured. He had an injury in the spring and the team is taking it easy bringing him back to full games when he’s playing in the field.
I have not made any calls about the others. I will soon.
Is Andrew Abbott related to former pitcher Jim Abbott at all?
Not that anyone seems aware of.
No he has 2 hands.
Actually, I heard somewhere that Jim Abbott is his half brother.
There is nothing in his profile from Virginia on it (where it mentions his parents and two sisters). Nothing in the media guide.
If they were related it would certainly have been asked by someone and verified and shown up somewhere.
Doug, that was my poor attempt at humor. I’m known for such things. Just ask my wife. My son laughs sometimes.
I’m wandering if Abbott is on an innings limit and if he will have enough to help the Reds later this year.
Abbott threw 118 last year, and 106 the year before in college. Maybe 140 – 150 innings in 23?
Maybe give him a start or two more in AA and a few at the most in AAA. If he does well bring him up before he runs out of innings?