As we prepare for the upcoming 2021 MLB Draft we start to look at players the Atlanta Braves could target in the first two rounds.
We’re less than a week away from the 2021 MLB Draft where the Atlanta Braves will have the 24th overall pick and three picks in the top 100.
Leading up to the draft we’ll start to target players we think the Braves could take with that 24th overall pick, and perhaps even their second-round pick at 59th overall.
Today we focus on Virginia left-hander Andrew Abbott.
This is someone I’ve watched a lot this year and the first time I saw him my immediate thought was Tom Glavine.
Not really because of their pitches, and Abbott certainly doesn’t have the control that Glavine did — although that’s improved — but more so because they are lefties of similar height, have similar deliveries, and the same type of mannerisms on the mound.
And I’m certainly not saying Abbott will be a Hall of Famer, his ceiling is likely a number three starter in a big-league rotation.
But whenever I watched Abbott pitch, Glavine was the comparison that kept popping up in my mind.
Braves: Abbott Draft Profile
The 6-foot lefty spent his freshman and sophomore seasons for Virginia in the bullpen where he pitched 95 innings with 137 strikeouts and a 3.51 ERA with 9 saves.
He pitched for Team USA in 2019 and had a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings with 12 strikeouts and a save.
In the shortened 2020 season Virginia kept him in the bullpen where he dominated through the first four weeks going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 innings with 28 strikeouts.
They finally moved him into the starting rotation in 2021 where he became one of the best college starters in the country.
Abbott went 9-6 with a 2.87 ERA in 106.2 innings with 162 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.13.
Command was an issue for Abbott in 2019-20 with a BB/9 over five. But he lowered that to 2.70 in 2020, which helped him take off and improve his draft stock with many believing he’ll be a solid strike-thrower in pro ball.
As for the stuff, he primarily leaned on his low-90s fastball and plus curveball as a reliever. This past season he worked on developing his change-up, which is still a work in progress.
What I love about Abbott every time I see him pitch is that he’s so smart and has a bulldog mentality.
He figures out what pitches are working best for him that night and is able to dominate with that pitch(es).
His last time out in the College World Series was very impressive pitching 6 shutout innings against Tennessee.
He proved he can work deep into games going 5 innings or more in his last nine starters, including a three-game stretch where he went 7 innings or more.
Why Abbott Makes Sense for the Braves
Ranked as the 51st overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, this seems like the type of guy the Braves could target in the first round and hope to sign under the slot value of $2,831,300.
Atlanta had a similar strategy in last year’s shortened draft taking Jared Shuster, a draft prospect ranked in the 70s, and signing him for $540,000 under slot.
Plus, Abbott likely doesn’t make it to the Braves with their second pick at 59. If they do really like this kid, as I do, they’d have to take him at 24.
I think Abbott is a very safe pick in the back-half of the first round. Someone who could very easily become a middle-to-back of the rotation starter in just a few years.
And if he doesn’t work out as a starter, he has a very good track record as a reliever as well.
I think this pick makes a ton of sense for the Braves, but I’ve never guessed their first-round pick correctly, so you can safely assume Abbott won’t be the pick.