C.J. Abrams

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Paul Christopher Abrams

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shortstop C.J. Abrams was the 6th overall pick of the 2019 amateur draft, by the San Diego Padres, out of a high school in Georgia. His selection was not a surprise as he was considered to be a likely top ten selection before the draft. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Georgia as a senior and while he had committed to attend the University of Alabama, he was signed quickly by the Padres, agreeing to a signing bonus of $5.2 million on June 8th, less then a week after having been drafted.

His father Chris, whose own dreams of playing professional baseball were dashed because he focused on basketball in college, is the one who taught him to hit, using sometimes unconventional methods, such as having him swing at tennis balls with a contraption akin to nunchucks. In addition to his hitting, he was considered one of the fastest players in his age group, with his speed being given a grade of 75 by scouts (with 80 the maximum). He stole 33 bases in his final year of high school ball, in addition to batting .431 with a slugging percentage of .723. In four years of high school, he struck out just 12 times. He did play some basketball until his junior year of high school, but gave it up when it became apparent that his senior year could result in his being a top draft pick. There was also some consideration of moving him to second base or centerfield down the line, given his body type and the presence of a great young shortstop with the Padres in Fernando Tatis Jr.

He began his professional carrer in 2019 with the AZL Padres 1 before playing a couple of games with the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Altogether, he hit a scorching .393/.436/.637, confirming that he had some serious hitting skills. However, he had to sit out the 2020 season as the minor leagues were shut down by the Coronavirus pandemic, although he did get to work out at the Padres' alternate training site. In 2021, he jumped all the way to AA with the San Antonio Missions of Double-A Central and had another very good year, with a batting line of .296/.363/.420, albeit in limited playing time as he took part in only 42 games. In addition to his hitting, he was successful on 13 of 15 stolen bases attempts. He played mainly shortstop, while also seeing time at second base and DH. He started the 2022 season in San Diego, with Tatis recovering from a broken wrist, and hit .232 in 46 games, with 2 homers and 11 RBIs. He was clearly not quite ready for the Show and also spent time in AAA with San Antonio, hitting .314 in 30 games. On August 2nd, he was one of six players sent to the Washington Nationals by the Padres in order to acquire OF Juan Soto and 1B Josh Bell, the others being P MacKenzie Gore, OF Robert Hassell, P Jarlin Susana, OF James Wood and 1B Luke Voit. Voit was the only established major leaguer in the group and was there to replace Bell in Washington's line-up. In Abrams case, he was kept in AAA in the immediate, moving to the Rochester Red Wings of the International League. he hit .290 in 8 games for Rochester then was called up to D.C. where he batted .358 in 44 games, with no homers, 17 runs and 10 RBIs. His OPS+ in 90 major league games was 92.

On April 27, 2023, he became the youngest player in franchise history to hit a grand slam in the 8th inning of a 9-8 loss to the New York Mets. At 22 years and 206 games, he was exactly the same age as Ryan Zimmerman when he had hit his first slam, and no player in Nationals or Montreal Expos history had ever hit one at a younger age.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (2024)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jessica Camerato: "Abrams' hard work rewarded with clutch grand slam", mlb.com, April 28, 2023. [1]
  • AJ Cassavell: "CJ Abrams showing why he's a top prospect", mlb.com, March 4, 2021. [2]
  • AJ Cassavell: "‘I want to play -- bad’: Padres’ top prospect impressing after injury struggles in '21: Abrams healthy, showing what he can do in Minor League spring camp", mlb.com, March 10, 2022. [3]
  • Logan Newman: "Star shortstop CJ Abrams selected No. 6 by San Diego Padres", USA Today High School Sports, June 3, 2019. [4]
  • Jeff Sanders: "Padres sign first-rounder CJ Abrams; he learned to hit in unique ways", San Diego Union-Tribune, June 8, 2019. [5]

Related Sites[edit]