At first, I thought this one was a bit of a thinker, but I suppose it’s probably all about depth after a long bullpen game yesterday: Our Chicago Cubs #10 prospect, and the 2020 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Cory Abbott, was scheduled to start against Omaha for the Iowa Cubs tonight, but instead, he’ll reportedly head to San Francisco to join the big league Cubs.
Sources: #Cubs calling up RHP Cory Abbott from Triple-A Iowa.
— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) June 5, 2021
My first instinct was that something was up with Kohl Stewart, scheduled to start against the Giants tonight, but Robert Murray hears that Abbott will pitch out of the bullpen. So, yeah, this is probably just a move for some extra depth tonight. And since Abbott is already on the 40-man roster it’s no big deal. We still don’t know who’ll come off the active roster (I’ll update this post as soon as we find out), but that’s it for now.
Abbott, 25, was drafted by the Cubs in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft and this will be his big league debut. He’s made five starts for Triple-A so far this season, allowing 18 earned runs in 25.1 IP (6.39 ERA). Obviously, that’s not great, but he’s really just been bit by the home run ball (6 HRs in 5 starts), which could indicate some flukiness. And, indeed, I will point out that he’s struck out 41 batters (34.2 K%) to just 14 walks in his 25.1 IP. Here’s more on Abbott from Bryan before the season:
Skill Set: Cubs love the edge he plays with, and he benefits from an attack-attack-attack mentality on the mound. I believe the slider is more plus than it gets credit for, a belief that is backed up by the results (as a reminder, hitters went 25-for-213 in his last 11 AA starts). Can pitch backwards off his two breaking balls, or pitch conventionally, as the command of his fastball is generally above-average.
Developmental Focus: Drew considerable praise from Cubs personnel for the way he’s attacked workouts this winter, as he’ll enter 2021 in the (say it with me) Best Shape of His Life. I believe this, in concert with minor mechanical adjustments from South Bend, are going to result in the best velocity of Cory’s career. He talked in the past about finding a comfortable changeup grip, and Matt Dorey recently mentioned on a podcast that he’s added a one-seam fastball, so it will be interesting to see how the Cubs integrate those into the four-seam, slider, curveball mix that earned him 2019 Pitcher of the Year honors.
Big League Projection: I see a long career starting games in the big leagues.
UPDATE: Lefty reliever Brad Wieck, who pitched yesterday (17 pitches), has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room.
Cubs have recalled RHP Cory Abbott (No. 15 prospect for Cubs per MLB Pipeline). LHP Brad Wieck optioned to clear a roster spot in the bullpen.
A chance to get a look at Abbott, but Ross said move really about having length in bullpen right now after last two games.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 5, 2021