We've seen a lot of prospect call-ups already this year, but none as interesting as Andrew Abbott.
Notice I didn't say significant or exciting or impactful. I said interesting, which is often glossed over because it too often serves as a catch-all for any number of traits, both good and bad.
What I mean by it is this: Abbott is a prospect who defies convention. He doesn't fit into a particular phenotype, which makes it hard to predict what comes next for him.
But we'll learn soon enough whether his deceptive, albeit low-velocity, fastball translates to the same big strikeout totals in the majors as in the minors. We'll find out shortly whether his vulnerability to the long ball ultimately sinks him at Great American Ballpark.
The left-hander is set to make his major-league debut Monday against the Brewers. And before we know exactly what it means, we'll need to act.
CIN Cincinnati • #41 • Age: 24
Andrew Abbott has earned his reputation as a bat-misser, his vertical approach angle creating a "rising" effect on his low-90s fastball to make it a swing-and-miss offering. It means he succeeds on deception more than stuff, which always raises sustainability concerns, and there are others. If we exclude his three starts at Double-A Chattanooga of the Southern League, which is experimenting with pre-tacked baseballs, and count only the seven he made at Triple-A Louisville, his ERA goes from 2.50 to 3.05, his K/9 from 15.0 to 12.7, and most significantly, his HR/9 from 1.3 to 1.9. That's a bit troubling given that he'll be calling the majors' most homer-friendly park home. So to be clear, Abbott is no slam dunk to succeed in the majors, but you'll still want to add him prior to his big-league debut Monday in case he strikes out everyone in sight.
CLE Cleveland • #41 • Age: 25
Logan Allen's latest start Saturday wasn't as good as the 10-strikeout effort that preceded it, but it was his third straight quality start and gives him seven straight with three earned runs or fewer to begin his big-league career, his ERA clocking in at 2.76. He's throwing consistent strikes, giving him just 2.6 BB/9, and is capable of generating whiffs with all three of his pitches, resulting in a 12.7 percent singing-strike rate that ranks ahead of Cristian Javier and Corbin Burnes. Another deceptive lefty who works in the low 90s, Allen seems to be settling in even as he gains exposure at the major-league level, and particularly given the Guardians' track record with pitchers, he deserves the benefit of the doubt now.
Matt McLain SS
CIN Cincinnati • #9 • Age: 24
It's fairly amazing that Matt McLain is still available enough to feature here given how well his transition to the majors has gone. This is a former first-round pick, remember, who was hitting .348 with 12 homers, 10 steals and a 1.184 OPS at Triple-A Louisville at the time of his call-up. He was hot right out of the gate for the Reds, but I harbored some doubts given how much he was striking out in his first week on the job. Well, the strikeouts have slowed, but the multi-hit games have only continued, giving him a .383 (23 for 60) batting average and 1.014 OPS over his last 13 games. Maybe the shallowest leagues have enough shortstops to go around already, which is why you've passed over McLain, but at this rate, he's looking good enough to use in a utility spot.
MIA Miami • #27 • Age: 25
The problem with Edward Cabrera is that you never know when he's going to walk one and when he's going to walk five, but the ones have been more common than the fives lately. In fact, he's issued no more than one walk in four of his past six starts, including Friday's 10-strikeout gem against the Athletics. Of course, his 4.35 ERA during that stretch isn't quite as good as you'd imagine, but it comes with a 1.16 WHIP and 11.6 K/9. He has a fastball that pushes triple digits and two offspeed offerings (changeup and curveball) with a near-40 percent whiff rate, so if Cabrera can find the strike zone, success is almost certain to follow. If he turns in an outing like Friday's next time out against the Royals, you may not get another shot at him.
PHI Philadelphia • #31 • Age: 35
Craig Kimbrel's season-long numbers support the idea of his continued decline and suggest he doesn't have long as the preferred saves source in the Phillies bullpen, even if he's notched each of their past five. But at the start of that stretch, he had an 8.25 ERA. Since settling in as the team's unofficial closer, he has a 1.80 ERA, 0.50 WHIP and 14.4 K/9 in 10 appearances. Kimbrel is far removed from his glory years as the best closer in Fantasy Baseball, but he never lost his ability to miss bats. And we saw him turn in a dominant performance as the Cubs closer as recently as 2021. Jose Alvarado was the Phillies' best reliever before succumbing to elbow inflammation in early May and may complicate things when he returns from the IL, but the way Kimbrel is going now, maybe not.
PHI Philadelphia • #22 • Age: 31
If what Michael Lorenzen has been doing lately is something he's capable of sustaining, we probably would have seen it before this year. Having said that, it's lasted long enough that you probably want to take a flier just in case. His latest outing Saturday saw him allow just one run on two hits in seven innings. It was the fifth start in six in which he allowed one earned run or fewer over six innings or more, giving him a 1.83 ERA during that stretch. He's still not missing bats at a useful rate or even limiting hard contact, but what he is doing is pounding the strike zone like never before, with 68.2 percent of his pitches going for strikes compared to 62.2 percent prior to 2023. It seems unavoidable he'll give up more hits moving forward, but he could possibly settle in as an efficient workhorse type.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #19 • Age: 25
Thanks to Justin Steele's forearm strain, Hayden Wesneski has a second chance to make good on the potential he showed in spring training. He's actually been trending in the right direction for a while now. Over his past seven appearances, six of them starts, he has a 3.65 ERA -- and that includes the seven-run disaster that got him sent back to the minors in mid-May, where he allowed just one earned run on two hits in nine innings. His one appearance since returning came in relief, but he lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit with two walks and four strikeouts. Success for Wesneski is hardly guaranteed, but at least in deeper leagues, he's earned a second look from you, just like from the Cubs.
COL Colorado • #61 • Age: 28
If you play in a league where saves are scarce and most anyone who sniffs them is scooped up right away (this is true for most Rotisserie leagues), then you're probably too late for Craig Kimbrel or Jason Adam and instead have to dig a little deeper. To that end, Justin Lawrence has been arguably the Rockies' best reliever this year while saves leader Pierce Johnson, who boasts a 6.85 ERA and 1.88 WHIP, has not. And guess who got his first two saves this weekend? That's right: Lawrence. He bailed out Daniel Bard, who was trying to preserve a four-run lead, for a one-out save Friday and then secured a four-out save (albeit somewhat shakily) Saturday. It's not clear if these oddball scenarios make Lawrence "the guy" yet, but it's looking increasingly inevitable that he will be.