3. Andrew Abbott
Other than maybe Elly De La Cruz, there's not another player on the Cincinnati Reds roster with more pressure heading into the 2024 season than Andrew Abbott. The left-hander asserted himself almost immediately once he onto a big league mound, and the fanbase saw, what they believe to be, an ace in the making.
There's no denying that Abbott's potential is through the roof. While his stuff alone might not be the best among the group of Reds starting pitchers, Abbott possesses a set of traits that can't be taught. The southpaw has a stoic approach on the mound, effectively mixes his pitches, and understands that the art of pitching is about more than just lighting up the radar gun.
But is the Reds fanbase expecting Abbott to be an ace during just his second major league season? If so, they've already forgotten what happened just last year. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft were all thought to be the strength of Cincinnati's club heading into 2023, but instead, the group struggled to find much traction.
Greene battled injuries throughout the season and struggled to find that third offering consistently, Lodolo spent almost the entire season on the IL after serving up batting practice to the opposition during his final few starts in 2023, and Ashcraft's roller coaster ride of a sophomore campaign saw the highs and the lows before coming to a halt following a season-ending injury.
So before the Cincinnati faithful annoint Andrew Abbott as the team's new ace, perhaps it's best to approach the 2024 season with some realistic goals for the left-hander. The Reds brought in Frankie Montas and Nick Martinez for a reason. While it's likely that Abbott is on the Opening Day roster, a small possibility exists that he could begin the upcoming season in the minors.
Abbott was gassed during the final month of his rookie season, and it showed in his performance. However, no one is going to fault him for giving it his all as Cincinnati made a play for a spot in the postseason. But Reds Country may need to be patient with Abbott, and the rest of Cincinnati's young core, as the team enters what many hope is a return to the playoffs.