Cory Abbott is a 25-year-old pitcher from San Diego, California, who is currently the 14th-ranked prospect in the Chicago Cubs’ system.
A former student at Loyola Marymount, Abbott threw the first perfect game in school history after he taught himself how to throw a variation of a slider by watching videos on YouTube. His career at the university was incredibly successful; he set program records for strikeout rate (11.9 per nine innings) and batting average allowed (.173) and managed to throw 43 consecutive innings with an earned run in 2017. He was selected in the second round as a result of his efforts and has been with the Cubs ever since.
Abbott has dominated Minor League Baseball since entering the scene, leading Chicago’s farmhands in ERA in his first two seasons and topping Double-A baseball with 166 strikeouts in his third year. He has had a tough time in 2021, dealing a 6.75 ERA in Triple-A and 6.35 ERA in five games in the MLB for a combined record of 1-4, though the potential is there.
The former Lion marked his MLB debut with two innings of action, and zero earned runs out of the bullpen, though the Cubs fell 4-3 to the San Francisco Giants. His most recent appearance was against the Philadelphia Phillies, during which he was knocked around to the tune of four earned runs in three innings; he was recalled to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs the next day, where he is currently stationed.
The Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016 but are a far cry from where they were just recently, currently sitting at 42-46 and in third place in the National League Central Division, and are likely to be sellers at the deadline rather than buyers as they were once thought to be. Although Abbott’s rookie season has not gone exactly to plan, he is expected to feature more frequently as Chicago clears house heading into the trade deadline and isolates its young core to help them develop heading into next season.
Abbott’s best pitches are breaking balls, whether that be a slower curveball, cutter, or slider that he throws in the low 80s; his fastball typically hits in the low 90s and has a top speed around 95 mph, and his changeup is average.
Part of the reason that the Cubs’ prospect throws so many strikeouts is that he does not shy away from power hitters and is willing to face them straight up— this has caused him to give up an increasing amount of home runs as he has progressed up the ladder and faced more talented batters, and he is very much a boom-or-bust mold of a player.
Chicago’s pitching staff has performed decently this season, claiming the 14th-best ERA and 12th-best batting average allowed, though they have allowed the sixth-most home runs in all of baseball; ironically, this seems to line up perfectly with Abbott’s career trend.
Looking at the team as a whole, they need a star player that can come in and command the mound; their best pitcher thus far has been Kyle Hendricks, whose 3.77 ERA is decent but not enough to carry a team throughout the campaign. If Abbott can develop into the player that his potential suggests he can be, then the Cubs could be heading down a path closer to their 2016 one.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.