Chicago Cubs: Checking in on the Cubs top five pitching prospects

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The Chicago Cubs selected Abbott with the 67th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. He is currently ranked as the Cubs ninth-best prospect.

The Chicago Cubs selected Cory Abbott in the second round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. Abbott played his collegiate career at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. There he threw the first perfect game in the school’s history, which caught the eyes of the Chicago Cubs who were desperate for pitching.

After being drafted, Abbott was assigned to the Class-A short-season Eugene. He would pitch just 14 innings there to the tune of a 3.86 ERA with 18 strikeouts. He quickly moved up the minor league system playing the 2018 season split between Myrtle Beach and South Bend. With High-A Myrle Beach, Abbott pitched 67.2 innings with 74 strikeouts and a 2.53 ERA. He pitched 47.1 innings with South Bend with 57 strikeouts and a 2.47 ERA.

Abbott started the 2019 season with Double-A Tennessee and has made two starts already. He’s pitched in 10.2 innings with 10 strikeouts and a 1.69 ERA. Reviewing his stats at every level, Abbott has averaged 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings (SO9). Just for reference, his average SO9 would be in line with guys like Nolan Ryan, Corey Kluber, and Randy Johnson.

The Cubs pitching prospect possesses a fastball, curveball, cutter, and changeup. Scouts have said that Abbott’s fastball ranges from 90-93 mph, but he relies on deception and hitting the corners of the strike zone (via

"After two pedestrian seasons at Loyola Marymount, Abbott changed the course of his career by altering the grip on his cut fastball while watching video of Noah Syndergaard. As a junior in 2017, he threw the first perfect game in Lions history, had a 43-inning streak without allowing an earned run and set school records for strikeout rate (11.9 per nine innings) and opponent average (.173). He has breezed through pro ball since the Cubs drafted him in the second round, leading the system with a 2.50 ERA in his first full season in 2018. Abbott relies heavily on his cut fastball, command and deception. His cutter sits in the upper 80s with sharp lateral break that keeps it off barrels. He works from 90-93 mph with a four-seam fastball that’s more effective than its velocity because he spots it on the edges of the strike zone."

Abbott is projected to reach the big leagues in 2020. He’ll likely remain with Tennessee for about the half the season. If all goes well, I could see him getting promoted to Triple-A Iowa.