CJ Abrams has been on the radar of college baseball programs and major league teams since his freshman year at Blessed Trinity Catholic High in Georgia.
A Pittsburgh Pirate scout gave Abrams’ father his information and remained in contact with him during Abrams’ freshman year, Abrams said. It was the start of a hectic four-year career but helped the prep shortstop understand the attention he’d eventually receive as a prospect for this year’s MLB draft.
Abrams, an Alabama commit, is the second-best prep player and likely will be a top-five pick in June’s draft.
“I just go out there and have fun,” Abrams said. “It will all take care of itself, and at the end of the day, I just try to play hard every day.”
Abrams is in the midst of a noteworthy senior season. He is hitting .429 with 14 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 27 RBIs in 105 at-bats. He’s drawn 10 walks while striking out six times. He also has stolen 26 bases.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound left-handed hitter has a quick and compact swing. He consistently barrels up pitches and drives the ball to all fields. He possesses below-average power but figures to be a top-of-the-order hitter due to his elite speed and ability to get on base.
He’s one of the fastest prospects in this year’s draft. He uses it to beat out infield or bunt base hits and has the potential to be a dynamic base stealer. His speed also assists him defensively.
“I use it to my advantage on the field anytime I go out there,” he said.
He currently plays shortstop for his high school team. He has smooth footwork and quick transfers. He also has a strong arm and throws from a lower arm slot.
He’s committed 10 errors for a .907 fielding percentage this season. Professional scouts believe Abrams might be a better fit at second base or center field.
He played center field for Team USA at the 18-and-under Pan American Championships in the fall in Panama with Bobby Witt Jr. – another elite prep prospect – handling the shortstop duties. Abrams was open to playing center field to be on the team, he said.
Abrams enjoyed roaming the outfield but views himself as a shortstop long term. He worked on the defensive portion of his game in the offseason and continues to devote extra time to fielding ground balls in hopes of refining his skills at shortstop, he said.
“I feel like I am a shortstop,” Abrams said. “I’ve played shortstop my entire life and put a lot of time and effort into it. I feel like I have good hands and good feet. I just feel I am built for shortstop.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for four years. He’s interviewed 133 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.