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Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2020: Albert Abreu (RHP, #11)

Today we continue our Yankees Top-30 Prospects Countdown for the 2020 season with RHP Albert Abreu.

Signed by the Houston Astros in 2014, Abreu came to the Yankees as part of a package for Brian McCann. He showed top of the rotation talent with an incredible fastball, but his luck turned for the worst when injuries and even an emergency appendectomy have limited him to just 222.2 innings in three years. This has resulted in lack of development and a need for lots of improvements, most importantly to his command and control if he wants to be a starter. If not, a quick move to the bullpen could help him reach his MLB dreams.


(Screenshot From New York Yankees Video, here:

(Screenshot From New York Yankees Video, here:

Albert Abreu, RHP (#11):

Age/Date of Birth: 24 Years Old (09/26/1995)

2019 Team(s): Trenton Thunder (Double A)

2019 MiLB Statistics: 5-8 Record, 4.28 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 96.2 Innings, 91 Strikeouts, 53 Walk, (23 Games, 20 Games Started)

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height/Weight: 6’2”/175 Pounds

Acquired: Traded to the New York Yankees from the Houston Astros in the Brian McCann Deal.

MLB ETA: 2020


Albert Abreu Scouting Grades (20-80 Scale):

Fastball: 65

Curveball: 60

Changeup: 55

Control: 40

Overall: 50


What to Know:

Signed by the Houston Astros for $185,000 out of the Dominican Republic as part of the 2013-2014 signing period, Abreu has always shown that he was a promising fireball pitcher. The big question on him however, as with many hard and fast throwing young prospects, was how he was going to develop. In his signing season he started 14 games in the DSL to a 2.78 ERA over 68.0 innings.

His next season in 2015, Abreu made his American professional baseball debut in the Appalachian League, yet split time in the bullpen and rotation over his 13 games, recording 7 starts. He pitched well again with a 2.51 ERA over 46.2 innings, and earned himself another promotion heading into 2016.

Starting in the Mid-Atlantic League (Class A), Abreu again spent a decent part of his season in the bullpen, starting 14 games of 21 appearances. He did see an increase to his ERA up to 3.50 over 90.0 innings, but still earned a late season bump up to the California League (Class A Advanced) for a quick 3 game stint. This helped prove his worth into an offseason trade, alongside Jorge Guzman (later traded for Giancarlo Stanton) to the New York Yankees for Brian McCann.

After arriving with the Yankees, Albert Abreu moved back down to start the season in Class A with the Charleston RiverDogs. Pitching in 3 games with 2 starts, Abreu recorded a 1.84 ERA and earned another shot in Class A Advanced with the Tampa Tarpons. Again, he struggled, although less so than the year before with a 4.19 ERA over 9 games and 9 starts. However, this season did feature his first stints on the IL, which happened on two different occasions, first from May 2nd to May 19th and the second from June 7th to August 20th. This also brought him a quick stint in the GCL. However, the Yankees did select his contract, adding him to the 40-Man Roster.

2018 brought about a similar season for Abreu as he again found himself making some stints on the IL and back down, from April 5th to April 29th and again from June 30th to August 11th, which again sent him to the GCL. When healthy he did pitch 13 games with the Tarpons to a 4.16 ERA and earned an end-of-the-season bump to the Trenton Thunder (Double A) for a 1 game stint. And, even so, Abreu’s promise still helped keep him as one of the Yankees top prospects, where he had sat in the Top-10, and ended 2018 at #3 and was ranked as a Top-100 prospect in the league.

And 2019 brought about more of the same for Albert Abreu, as he again had a stint on the IL which kept him out from July 24th to August 13th. Yet, for the first time he was stable at a level, spending the whole season with the Trenton Thunder. While this isn’t promising for a player who at one time was expected to make the MLB in 2019, after two straight injured seasons the expectation was dropped back a year to 2020. While with the Thunder, he pitched to an okay but uninspiring 4.28 ERA over 23 games (20 starts) and 96.2 innings with a 1.61 WHIP.

Overall, the past three seasons with the Yankees have not been lucky for Abreu as he has dealt with shoulder, elbow, and biceps injuries alongside an emergency appendectomy. Luckily, Abreu does still have incredible tools with three above-average pitches: a 94-98 MPH fastball that can reach up to 101 MPH, a curveball that produces good depth in the mid-80s, and a mid-80s changeup. His delivery also helps with deception against hitters, but has a bad side-effect of producing poor control of his pitches and command of the strike zone.

What Will the Future Hold?

After another season with the Trenton Thunder ending with an ERA above 4.00, Abreu needs to show improvements to reach his potential as a front-line starter. However, given his constant dealing with injuries, this may prove to be a challenge as he lacks consistent playing time to correct mistakes in game. Given his performance with Trenton as well, he could definitely use the time to lower his ERA at the level. If he doesn’t, the Yankees may wish to convert him into a full-time reliever with closer upside, which could have helped him potentially break into the MLB in 2020. Given the current state of everything, a break-in for 2021 should be better expected.

As a prospect, Albert Abreu has already started to see a steep fall from being ranked #3 as recent as last preseason (2019) and could continue to see this continue to happen if he doesn’t continue to prove that a starting role could very well be in his future. His ceiling of being a top-end piece keeps his stock high, but with that possibility shrinking more and more it’s hard to justify his prospect status. Expect more fall from Abreu through 2020.


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