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Five things to know about Cincinnati Reds rookie starting pitcher Andrew Abbott

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Andrew Abbott

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Andrew Abbott

As Cincinnati Reds rookie left-hander Andrew Abbott makes the 10th start (fourth against the Brewers) of his young Major League Baseball career on Tuesday night in Milwaukee, he’s coming off his longest outing yet.

Abbott allowed just one hit and two walks with six strikeouts over eight scoreless innings last Thursday afternoon, becoming the first Reds’ starter this season to last eight innings as he helped Cincinnati split its series with the San Francisco Giants.

The Reds’ Twitter account called it “eight innings of sheer dominance from Andrew Abbott.”

Abbott improved to 5-2 with a 2.10 ERA, with 57 strikeouts and 18 walks in 55 2/3 innings.

Here are five things to know about Abbott:

Luke Maile has caught all nine of Abbott’s big-league starts so far.

Maile had three hits in Abbott’s most recent win, including his fourth home run of the season.

“He just competed,” Maile told Bally Sports Ohio’s Jim Day after Thursday’s game. “I would say this probably was in the bottom half of his stuff in terms of all of his starts. He had to really fight through some stuff. But he made big pitches. And he’s just such a great competitor. And he keeps it in the zone enough. … He’s got a lot of composure. And I’ve said it before: He doesn’t feel like a rookie out there. He feels like he’s been doing this a long time.”

“It is impressive. It impresses all of us. It impresses a lot of people watching us on his team. But I don’t think he’s impressed with himself,” manager David Bell said of Abbott after the game. “I think ever since the first day he got here, he knew what he was capable of. He knew what he expected of himself. He respects the league. He respects the difficulty of what he has to do. But at the same time, he’s pitching with great confidence. He knows himself very well. Today it kind of just speaks to how important it is still to get ahead, control the count. Maybe not his best stuff. Maybe not his best fastball. But it was still playing up that he was using it at the right time.”

Abbott was the Reds’ second-round pick in 2021.

Abbott was selected 53rd overall two years ago.

Teammate Matt McLain was the Reds’ first of three first-round picks that year, and he became the first from the class to reach the big leagues. The two others, outfielder Jay Allen and catcher Mat Nelson, are playing for High-A Dayton. So is Chase Petty, selected by the Minnesota Twins nine picks after McLain and sent to the Reds in the Tyler Mahle trade.

Infielder Edwin Arroyo, also playing for the Dragons, was selected by the Seattle Mariners five picks before Abbott. Arroyo was acquired by Cincinnati in a trade for starting pitcher Luis Castillo at the 2022 deadline.

Abbott starred at Virginia, and had five UVA teammates selected after him in the 2021 draft.

Oakland A’s second baseman Zack Gelof, selected seven picks (60th overall) after Abbott in the 2021 second round, is the only other Cavalier from that draft to have made his big-league debut. Gelof entered Monday 9-for-33 (.273) with a homer and three RBIs in nine games.

Abbott racked up huge strikeout numbers at UVA. In 2018, he posted a 3.18 ERA in 24 appearances – mostly in relief – as a freshman, striking out 78 in 51 innings. In 2019, he struck out 59 in 44 innings. In 2020, he posted a 1.35 ERA with 28 Ks in 13 1/3 innings. His senior year of 2021, he became a starter, going 9-6 with a 2.87 ERA and 162 Ks in 106 2/3 innings.

The New York Yankees drafted Abbott in the 36th round out of high school, in 2017. Abbott was undrafted in 2020.

Abbott and Elly De La Cruz represented the Reds at the 2022 MLB Futures Game.

The Reds’ official Twitter account shared a Throwback Thursday photo earlier this month of Abbott and De La Cruz at the 2022 game, and Abbott retweeted it:

Abbott made his big-league debut on June 5. De La Cruz made his debut June 6.

Abbott relies on aggressiveness and location as opposed to an overpowering fastball.

“A lot of the game is going analytical – spin rates and axes,” Abbott said, per The Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith. “But I’ve always just been able to pitch. That’s just who I am. I don’t have stuff that will blow you away. But I throw it where I want it. I keep myself composed and go from there.”

In June, MLB Network analyst and former pitcher Al Leiter compared Abbott to National Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine at a similar age.

“I see a guy that’s 6 feet tall. Doesn’t throw 95 to 100 (mph),” Leiter said on MLB Network’s “MLB Central.” “Of course from the left side, you get a reprieve because you don’t have to throw as hard generally speaking. … Great kid, great family. … I hate to do comparisons this early. But when I see his disposition and size, I see a young Tom Glavine. Curveball better than Tommy’s. And Tommy’s change-up is better. And (Abbott’s) command’s not there yet. But he’s got a fastball that if you watch it, it’s firm. … The curveball spin rate is elite already. He throws an elevated high fastball with curveball down in the zone, occasional change-up to righties. … He was in Double-A for a short time. He struck out 20 percent of the batters he faced. He’s 54 innings in the minor-leagues, 90 strikeouts. … He knows who he is. Yeah, I get excited about a guy like this.”

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Five things to know about Cincinnati rookie pitcher Andrew Abbott