In case you haven’t noticed the Padres top pick in 2019 was on a tear in his professional debut. That culminated in CJ Abrams being named an All-Star and awarded the AZL MVP award.
Take this moment to think about what you were doing at 18 years old. Personally, I was trying to hang on to a pitching career with a 70 MPH fastball. Needless to say, Abrams is doing much better.
Nostalgia aside, Abrams is everything we could have hoped he could be. He went on the IL after eight at bats with Fort Wayne. But he got 132 at bats in the AZL League and absolutely crushed it, slashing .401/.442/.662. Most impressive to me was his approach, with a 14/10 K/BB ratio. Oh, and he stole 14 bases.
Abrams will not be alone at the AZL All-Star game. He will be joined by OF Junior Perez, LHP Gabriel Morales, and LHP Jose Garcia.
I am not one to scout a stat line, but if I was Perez would be up near the top of the list for me. He will be a player to watch as he moves up in the farm system. He just turned 18 in early July, and still has room to fill out standing 6’1” and 165 pounds.
Perez only spent half the year in the AZL League, but he showed some promise, slugging 11 homers in 51 games. He also stole 11 bases. His Achilles Heel is strikeouts, but once again he is young so there is no need to read much into it. Especially because he walks at a 12.3 percent clip. Perez is one guy I am excited to get eyes on over the next few years.
Morales is in his third professional year, and he really put things together well in the AZL. He held opponents to a sub-.200 batting average, while striking out 58 batters and carrying a 1.66 ERA in 48.2 innings. On top of that he flashed great command, issuing only 14 walks. His FIP sat at 3.01.
Without seeing him I am not going to make and snap judgments on the future for Morales. He appeared in 11 games and started 6 of them. Standing 6’3”, he has the build to profile as a starter during his development.
The final All-Star for the Padres is Garcia. He, too, is in his third year of the professional ranks. But this was his first time playing stateside. Garcia only spent part of the season in the AZL, making 13 relief appearances. He went 5-2 with a 3.40 ERA, 43 strikeouts, and 11 walks in 45 innings.