2019 MLB Draft Profile: CJ Abrams

(Steven Silva)


You can say that CJ Abrams was destined for great success on the baseball diamond at a young age.

Hailing from Alpharetta, Georgia the prep shortstop has been on the national showcase circuit and played for Team USA U18 team this past summer hitting .297/.395/.324 in nine games. A verbal commitment to Alabama, Abrams has been a plus 1.000 OPS hitter for four years at Blessed Trinity High School. In 2019, Abrams slashed .420/.465/.694 with a 7.6 BB% and a 4.1 K% with a significant increase in power numbers. Abrams hit 17 doubles (more than the combined totals from Freshman to Junior seasons), five triples, and three home runs with 27 RBI. In his high school career, Abrams was 99-for-103 in stolen bases.


MLBPipeline – Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 75 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 |

Fangraphs (current/future) – Hit: 25/55 | Power: 20/50 | Run: 70 |
Arm: 55/60 | Field: 45/50


I first saw Abrams at the Under Armour showcase at Wrigley Field this past July, and he quickly made an excellent first impression. Facing RHP Brennan Malone, a projected first-round pick, Abrams drove a fastball into the right-center field gap for a leadoff double. For the game, Abrams went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a steal.

When everything is going right, Abrams has a smooth left-handed swing that’s balanced and carries surprising pop. When he has a bad day, there is too much weight moving forward, and he appears to reach for pitches low and away. Sometimes it works as an infield hit because of his incredible speed down the first base line, but he’ll need to work on being more patient at the plate.

Velocity doesn’t appear to be a problem so Abrams should be good against the fastball. Abrams does wrap the bat a bit behind his head so if velocity does become an issue he can make an adjustment with his hands. Like most teenage prospects, I do worry how he’ll initially handle low breaking pitches and changeups.

If Abrams can make the necessary adjustments, I think he’s the type of hitter who can consistently hit 30+ doubles, 5+ triples, and 10+ home runs a season. I’m not sure how his OBP will look in the distant future as I don’t think he’ll walk a lot.


Abrams plus-plus athleticism gives him vast range from the shortstop position. Quickly covering ground balls with his backhand towards third base, and quick steps moving to his left to cover grounders hit towards second base. He does a good job tracking shallow fly balls hit into the outfield, which is why some believe that Abrams future is in center field.

Throwing accuracy is what Abrams needs to work on early in his professional career. Throwing slot is sidearm, if not lower, and Abrams can get in a bad habit of happy feet. At times doesn’t appear to be in full control of his body after fielding a grounder and then gets into trouble as he tries to make a throw on the run. Abrams just needs more consistency on these plays, and more repetition is required.


The Chicago White Sox appear to be set at shortstop with Tim Anderson at least until 2022. There are two club options for 2023 and 2024 that can be picked up covering Anderson’s age 30 and 31 seasons. However, in the case of injury or poor play, the White Sox next in line behind Anderson is . . . Laz Rivera? This farm system is still weak at the shortstop position.

Drafting Abrams third overall will test the White Sox new player development efforts. Possessing tremendous athleticism, Abrams will need refinement and the new coaches Chris Gretz has brought into the fold, like Matt Lisle, can help. With already having a long-term solution in the majors at shortstop means there is no need to rush Abrams as he can play full seasons at each level to sharpen skills. Another benefit is that if Luis Robert can’t stay healthy and if Nick Madrigal can’t develop enough power to merit starting every day, the White Sox would have another option at these critical positions.

However, Abrams ETA is realistically 2023, and if the team believes they are close, making the transition from rebuilder to contender drafting a high school shortstop will not help their short-term goals. Instead, Abrams would help the White Sox continue to stock prospects for the future beyond ETA 2022 adding him along with Bryce Bush. Looking at how Kannapolis and Winston-Salem are faring in 2019, this is a need for the White Sox.

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Great write up!

I like CJ Abrams. Like many, I worry about Whitesox development. Of course, the last toolsy raw Shortstop we drafted in the first round has worked out pretty well for us (Anderson).

With an up the middle talent like Abrams, what we project for our contending roster is irrelevant. If he ends up succeeding like you would hope and there is no space for him you can just trade him to fill a major league hole on a playoff team.

I think Vaughn is the only player in the draft you have to seriously consider your projected MLB Roster for, with him being much closer to the bigs and a 1B restricted player.


We had a really good development win in Omar Narvaez (pulling a decent catcher from nowhere is always good) and then we traded him for a closer on a 75 win team.


Awesome write-up. Just taking a look at swing videos, I really don’t like what I see from this guy. WAY too much head movement (watch the video of his swing from 4/6 on this story…watch how much his head dips on stride). He’s going to have all kinds of trouble with pitch recognition when he faces professional pitching if he isn’t quieter with his load in this respect.

I understand the need to build the depth necessary in what Abrams’ window would be, but I think he’s too big a risk to take at #3 for where the Sox are at. And as you said, it’s a big test for player development for the Sox, which the jury is still out on whether or not this new Getz-led regime can do that job. Sox fans are always going to say they’d butcher a guy with this athletic ability based off reputation (although Tim Anderson seems to be doing OK haha), but the Sox have earned most of that stigma. Anyhow, to me it’s Vaughn if he’s there, no questions asked, and we move along with our days.


I agree. Vaughn feels like a need for this rebuild, Abrams feels like a prospect for the next rebuild.


Speaking of player development, here’s a story on Marcus Semien becoming good by…studiyng film, which he didn’t do when he was with the White Sox. Because #YOLO.


As Cirensica

Great piece. Thanks


Some great Vaughn/Abrams stuff- https://blogs.fangraphs.com/category/ump-the-untitled-mcdongenhagen-project/
Vaughn stuff starts at 13:10.
Abrams essentially at 16:13.


A Paul Konerko comp on Vaughn was called “light”
The future values scouts who llike him are giving Abrams are insane- 60 Hit/60 Power/ 80 Speed.


Those Abrams numbers are Barry Larkinesque.


my first thought was its like 2007 jimmy rollins with those numbers …


Yeah – that’s probably better


300 ave, 30 homers 40 steals, elite defense rollins was a freaking monster that year


A LHH Larkin with more speed or Kenny Lofton with 20+ HR power?


I liked the Kenny lofton comp when either kiley or Eric used it in a chat last week.


Apropo of nothing: WTF Orioles

We don’t have words to describe this highlight.

Just take a look. pic.twitter.com/3SvLuU9fPz

— Cut4 (@Cut4) May 17, 2019

Lurker Laura

I saw that, too. WTF, indeed. Can’t believe any team loses any game to them right now.


Cal Ripken Sr. is turning over in his grave. Mark Belanger’s ghost just took up smoking again.

lil jimmy

They were that bad against us. One dumb play after another.

lil jimmy

Love this kid. He says,”Quick to it, long through it” is his approach. Younger than Timmy was when drafted, but more experienced. fills the greatest need in the system.
As we saw last night, speed kills.


The video of his swing next to Benintendi looks better then the videos I’ve seen before.

Because short to it and long through it doesnt really generate the kind of power you want unless you have some strong shoulders/wrists and keep your weight back. Seems like he has trouble without shift the weight toward the pitcher and cutting himself off a bit.

lil jimmy

From “Talking Chop” today
“..and I believe he’s in the mix for a pick that high after standing next to Chicago White Sox scouts also taping some of his at-bats. “


Would be shocked if we didn’t take Vaughn. All we care about is the bat.


2013: Toolsy SS developed in 3 years but needed 2+ in majors to look like a good player.

2014: rushed Rodon to majors. Series of injuries follow since he never developed proper training schedule.

2015: rushed Fulmer to majors. He’s been awful.

2016: took 3+ years to develop Collins, a “polished college bat.”

2017: burger will be lucky if he’s close to ML ready by 2021.

2018: Madrigal looking like he needs 2 more years of development at this rate.

The idea that taking the “polished college bat” hasn’t worked about and using the draft to get immediate pitching help also hasn’t worked. Might as well try giving another toolsy guy a shot i guess? Either way, the idea that they are going to get immediate help from this pick is like counting on scratch offs to pay your rent due tomorrow.