Those Cincinnati Reds fans who tuned in to the Dayton Dragons series finale against the the West Michigan Whitecaps most likely did so to watch Luis Castillo's first rehab outing of the 2022 season.
Castillo has been on the Injured List since the beginning of the season after arriving late to spring training. The right-hander hadn't had enough time to get stretched out and will likely make another rehab appearance or two before returning to the big leagues.
But lost in all the hullabaloo of Castillo's return to the diamond was the performance of one of the Cincinnati Reds top pitching prospects. Andrew Abbott, who was drafted last summer, put on a clinic at Day Air Ballpark on Sunday afternoon.
Reds prospect Andrew Abbott struck out 11 batters.
Andrew Abbott looked like the major leaguers making a rehab start on Sunday. The left-hander struck out 11 batters over six innings and allowed just one run on three hits. This was Abbott's first relief appearance of the season after starting two games thus far in 2022.
While Abbott is viewed by some scouts as a reliever, the only reason the southpaw came out of the bullpen on Sunday was due to Luis Castillo's rehab start. Abbott has started twice this season and has looked good doing it.
The Reds took Abbott in the second-round of last year's draft and the former University of Virginia hurler wasted little time showing why Cincinnati took him so early. Abbott struck out 19 batters over 11 innings at Low-A Daytona in 2021.
That 38.8% strikeout-rate helped elevate Abbott in the eyes of the Reds scouts and the 22-year-old was bumped up to High-A to begin this season. Abbott has picked up right where he left off with a stellar 41.0% strikeout-rate.
Andrew Abbott comes in at No. 13 among all Cincinnati prospects according to MLB Pipeline and is ranked 21st in the Reds farm system per FanGraphs. Abbott's lack of starts (20) in college have many asking whether or not he'll be a starter in the big leagues.
He's certainly answered the bell so far in his professional career with a resounding yes and has redefined his repertoire by adding a changeup in addition to his fastball/ curveball combination.
No matter where these outlets want to rank the left-hander right now, just know that he'll be rocketing up through the minor leagues if he keeps dominating the opposition the way he has during the early going of the 2022 season.