Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: Albert Abreu (RHP, #18)
One of the few prospects in the Yankees farm system who has cracked into the MLB, the former potential starter in Albert Abreu’s next steps are to find potential as a reliever if he wants to stay in the MLB long-term. An extensive injury history and lack of control play against him, but if he can learn how to best use his tools and stuff, the 25-year-old still has a shot at a solid career out of the bullpen.
ALBERT ABREU, RHP (#18):
Age/Date of Birth: 25 Years Old (09/26/1995)
Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): New York Yankees (MLB, 2020 & 2021)
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019, Regular Season): 0-1 Record, 10.80 ERA, 2.40 WHIP, 3.1 Innings, 5 Strikeouts, 4 Walks, (4 Games, 0 Games Started)
Height/Weight: 6’2”/190 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):
What to Know:
Coming out of the Dominican Republic during the 2013-2014 international signing period, Albert Abreu was signed by the Houston Astros for $185,000. That same year (2014), Abreu would start his professional career in the Dominican Summer League (Foreign Rookie) with the Astros Blue.
Abreu would spend 2 more years in the Astros system, spending all of 2015 with the Greeneville Astros (Appalachian League, Rookie) and splitting time in 2016 between the Quad Cities River Bandits (Midwest League, Class A) and the Lancaster JetHawks (California League, Class A+). A budding prospect, that November, Abreu (+ Jorge Guzman) would be traded to the New York Yankees for Brian McCann.
In 2017, Abreu was sent to continue in Class A+ with the Tampa Tarpons (Florida State League), but his appearances had to come come around two different stints on the DL which kept him out for half of May and then from early June to late August. That Fall he would also spend time with the Scottsdale Scorpions (Arizona Fall League). This trend would continue in 2018 for Abreu, starting out the season with the Tampa Tarpons, but having another 2 DL stints that kept him out for most of April and then from late June to mid-August. He would finish the year with a start with the Trenton Thunder (Eastern League, Double A) and then spent part of the Winter with the Tigres del Licey (Dominican Winter League). Over 2017 and 2018 Abreu found himself on the tail-end of some Top-100 prospect lists, but the injury concerns dropped him quickly afterwards.
2019 would see Abreu only take 1 DL stint that kept him out for a few weeks between July and August, but for the first time since 2015 he spent a whole season (including rehab stints) at one level: with the Trenton Thunder. Over 23 games (20 starts), he would pitch to a 4.28 ERA over 96.2 innings.
In 2020, as he was a part of the 40-Man Roster, Abreu was sent to the alternate site during the MLB regular season, and he would make his MLB debut on August 8th against the Tampa Bay Rays with a 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K appearance. He would go back to the alternate site afterwards and make another appearance (0.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 HR) which would be all of his 2020 MLB experience. Again, he would pitch with the Tigres del Licey during the winter. In 2021, Abreu is on the reliever shuttle, having already made two relief appearances.
As a pitcher, Abreu has a very powerful fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90’s and can top out around 101 MPH out of the bullpen. He combines it with a mid-80’s “slurve” that is inconsistent for finding the strike-zone and a mid-80’s changeup that he only uses when ahead. While all three pitches grade out above average, Abreu struggles to have command of all three at the same time. With a short-arm delivery and the injury history (shoulder, elbow, and bicep injuries) his future as a starter is nearly done, and it is now time to see if he can put it together while airing it out in the bullpen.
What Will the Future Hold?
Albert Abreu has already cracked into the MLB, and his future at the level is not super promising as of late. He has the pitches, power, and stuff to succeed, it is just a matter of getting it to all mold together at the highest level. For 2021 he’ll be used as a shuttle-reliever between Double/Triple-A and the MLB (once the minor league seasons begin) and time will tell to see if he forces the issue to stay around long term.
While I can see the promise in Abreu, and understanding he is still just 25 years old, I personally don’t see a long MLB career for him. Like many other potential MLB flamethrower arms, the injury history kept him from being able to perfect and fine-tune his craft as he had to continue to battle back to form. Abreu seems like a stretch goal. Hopefully he puts it all together and gives the Yankees another powerful arm, but I am hesitant to imagine that happening, let alone in 2021. Though, the given the Yankees recent track record with relievers, Abreu may be in the right system to find that talent.