Cory Abbott, RHP, Loyola-Marymount
Sticking to the script, the Cubs picked another college arm with their lone second-round pick on Monday. Unlike the Cubs’ first two selections, Abbott does not blow people away with his fastball. To make up for his fastball reaching only 92 or 93 MPH, Abbott features a variety of above average breaking balls. This variety includes a slider, curveball, and change-up. According to some, Abbott’s slider is his best breaking pitch, followed by his curveball, and change-up.
With at least three pitches already, Abbott looks to remain a starter in the Cubs’ system. Abbott had plenty of chances to start in college as he made 12 starts in 2016 and 15 more in 2017. Last season was not kind to Abbott as he recorded a 4.24 ERA with 34 strikeouts, and 22 walks in 70 innings pitched. Despite opponents hitting .317 off him in 2016, Abbott bounced back this season. In 15 starts, Abbott went 11-2 with a 1.74 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings pitched.
Despite striking out almost one hundred more batters in 2017 than the previous year, Abbott only walked six more batters. This, no doubt, signifies a development in command that will prove invaluable at the professional level.
Abbott has the skill set to be a solid four or five starter at the big league level. Even though Abbott lacks an electric fastball like the Cubs’ previous picks, he can still run it up good enough to keep hitters honest.
If starting does not pan out, Abbott features good enough breaking pitches to make him a solid reliever. Of course, the Cubs hope Abbott will stick as a big league starter, but only time will tell.