Spring training is especially enjoyable for Padres fans. Seriously, it’s like a different up-and-coming stud steals the show every day.
First, it was Fernando Tatis Jr. doing his thing and blasting a grand slam. Then, Robert Hassell was barreling balls like he’s been in the Show for years. Not to be outdone, though, CJ Abrams was doing a little bit of everything in Cactus League action this week.
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Abrams, Baseball America‘s #11 prospect heading into 2021, won’t be the shortstop of the future in San Diego – not after Tatis Jr. inked a 14-year extension earlier this spring. But he has the potential of being a massive part of this next era in Padres baseball.
Now, is Abrams’ ceiling comparable to Tatis Jr.? It’s probably too soon to tell. The comparison between the two is more oranges to … mangoes than it is apples to oranges. As in, both have tremendous skillsets and abilities but seem to have differing strong suits.
Tatis Jr. does it all – but showcases a power at the dish we haven’t seen from Abrams. Rather, he’s a high-contact, high on-base presence with absolutely stunning speed.
OK, so stay with me here.
An All-Star-caliber CJ Abrams takes the Padres over the top
If Abrams becomes what it looks like he’ll become – a legitimate 40-stolen base threat with insane on-base abilities (.439 OBP two years ago between Rookie and A-Ball), then San Diego might be poised to not only dethrone the Dodgers here and there but become a powerhouse in the NL West.
Last summer, the former sixth-overall pick spent his ‘season’ at the team’s alternate site, working out with players vastly older and more experienced than himself. Did it phase him? Of course not. At big league camp this spring, it’s more of the same for a guy who seems comfortable no matter the circumstances or situation.
“He’s making a very good [impression],” Padres manager Jayce Tingler told MLB.com. “The things you want to see, he’s doing on the field. But the things that go unnoticed — he’s getting to the ballpark early, getting his early work in, everything that you need to do to play at the big league level.”
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And the best part of it all? Unlike too many MLB teams, we know that when Abrams is ready for the big leagues, he’s going to play. There’s not going to be any service time funny business. The Padres want most talented players on the 26-man roster – and Abrams might be there sooner rather than later.