The New York Yankees acquired right-handed pitching prospect Albert Abreu this off-season as part of the trade package that included Jorge Guzman from the Houston Astros in exchange for veteran backstop Brian McCann. Before the trade, the 21-year old right-hander was ranked the seventh-best prospect in the Astros minor league system.
After signing with Houston out of the Dominican Republic on August 5th, 2013, Abreu made his pro debut the following summer and pitched to a 3-2 record with a 2.78 ERA in 68.0 innings pitched in the Dominican Summer League.
The next season, Abreu came over to the United States and was assigned to the Greenville Astros where he would make his rookie-ball debut. Abreu posted a 2-3 record with a 2.51 ERA in 46.2 Appalachian State League innings pitched. The young right-hander managed to hold opposing hitters to a .206 average while recording 51 strikeouts, a pretty impressive stat line for a kid pitching stateside for the first time in his career.
Last season Abreu posted a 3-8 record with a 3.72 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 101.2 innings pitched between Class A Quad Cities and Class A Advanced Lancaster. While he forfeited a total of 42 earned runs combined, the 6’2″ right-hander impressively recorded 115 strikeouts while holding opposing hitters to a.202 batting average.
Alber Abreu is getting stronger and stronger as he continues to grow into his frame. His fastball jumped from the 87-91 mph-range to the 93-97 mph-range when he turned pro, and he’s even capable of dialing it up to 99 mph at times. He compliments his fastball with a pair of hard breaking balls and a deceiving changeup. The scary thing about Abreu’s arsenal is that his changeup and slider are so nasty that some scouts argue over which one is his best secondary pitch.
Though Abreu has the potential to become a frontline starter, he’s still a long ways away from getting there. Abreu needs to improve on two things in 2017; first, he needs to learn how to repeat his delivery so that it compliments his quick arm. Second, the young-right hander needs to improve his command. He walked 5.1 batter per nine innings in 2016 and has a career 4.5 walk rate to date. He’ll likely start the season with the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees and can potentially reach Trenton by the end of 2017.