The Cincinnati Reds have improved their farm system by leaps and bounds over the past few seasons. The team saw the fruits of their labor with the impressive debuts of Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, and Vladimir Gutierrez in 2021.
Both Indian and Stephenson, mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic, skipped playing at Triple-A and made the jump to the big leagues. Jose Barrero, who debuted in 2020, returned to the minors in 2021 in order to get some more reps before earning a spot on the team near the end of last season.
The typical ascension for most minor leaguers is to spend time at Low-A before receiving a promotion to High-A. Once prospects have shown improvement, teams typically promote their young talent to Double-A before finally sending them to Triple-A to apply the finishing touches.
But on occasion, it becomes painfully obvious that certain players don't need as much time in the minor leagues as others. Former Reds pitcher Mike Leake, for example, was drafted in 2009 and made his MLB debut in 2010. Which young prospects should Cincinnati fast-track to the big leagues in 2022?
1. Andrew Abbott, Reds LHP prospect
I've spoken once before about the need to fast-track Andrew Abbott to the big leagues, and I stand by that. The 22-year-old was selected by the Reds in the second-round of last year's draft. Abbott was a dominant reliever for the Virginia Cavaliers, and though he was a starter in Charlottesville last season.
During his first three seasons for the 'Hoos, Abbott appeared in 57 games out of the bullpen and struck out 165 batters over 108.1 innings of work. Abbott went 9-6 last season for the Cavaliers and posted a 2.87 ERA.
Abbott threw 11 innings at Low-A Daytona last season and recorded a 15.55 K/9 and 38.8% strikeout-rate. Abbott's fastball/ curveball combination could work well out of the Reds bullpen in 2022, and Cincinnati could always look to develop him as a starter further down the line. The Chicago White Sox are taking that type of approach with former first-round pick Garrett Crochet.