As if it weren’t impressive enough to join the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching rotation, Andrew Abbott has shown signs of one day becoming the staff ace.
Abbott, 24 and a product of Halifax County, has a 4-1 record after seven starts to go with a 2.38 earned-run average. He had 48 strikeouts in just under 42 innings.
Abbott’s hope this season “was just to throw a lot more innings and to be more efficient,” he said earlier this week. “I’ve added a slider so I’ve continued to develop that pitch along with the change-up.”
Prior to his selection in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft, Abbott spent four years at Virginia, where he had 327 strikeouts, which ranked second in school history.
Abbott, a left-hander, was a first-team All-ACC selection for UVa.
“Last year was a lot of fun; I got to play in high-A and then double-A in the futures game as well,” he said this week. “I had a lot of experience in the lower parts of the minor-league system and that kind of set the floor pretty well for me.
“I think it just kind of taught me what kind of pro ball it is and what to expect with the season, the travel and things like that. You know what to expect for the next season and I was very grateful for that.”
He wasn’t in the rotation to start the season this year.
“There are times when you think that ‘maybe I’ll have to prove it a little more that I belong,’ and that got noticed in the first month and a half of the minor league, so they decided to make a move.”
He started the season in double-A and was struck by how soon he was moved after that.
“I always knew I was ready for it, so that wasn’t a surprise,” he said, “but there was a quickness to it.”
The Reds were 62-100 last year and finished last in the National League’s Western Division. This year, they lead the Central Division with a 50-41 record, one game ahead of Milwaukee in the win column.
“It’s kind of all coming together at the same time, which is a very good thing to see,” Abbott said.
He’s been in the Reds’ pitching rotation since June 5, when he struck out six batters in six scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over Milwaukee in Cincinnati.