A month’s worth of struggles in the Majors led C.J. Abrams back to Triple-A El Paso for a reset. He responded with a two-homer performance in what was the first Triple-A game of his career. Baseball’s No. 9 overall prospect provided an encore in his second game with the Chihuahuas and it appears the bounces are going his way, literally and figuratively.
Abrams homered for the third time in his first seven at-bats and added an RBI single and another base hit to lead El Paso to an 11-4 win over visiting Sacramento on Thursday night. The 21-year-old scored three times and is 5-for-10 with eight RBIs in his first two Triple-A games.
If there was any disappointment stemming from his Major League struggles, Abrams has either forgotten about it or decided to take it out on Minor League hurlers. After grounding into a double play in the first inning, the sixth overall pick in the 2019 Draft helped his club rally from an early 3-0 deficit with a go-ahead two-run blast in the third.
But even the best need some luck and Abrams got some. Despite sizzling 102.3 mph exit velocity, the high-arcing hit took a fortuitous bounce off the railing that rises above the outfield fence before landing on the berm beyond. His three home runs equal a personal best established in 2019 and are just two fewer than his total coming into the season.
Abrams tacked on an insurance run with an RBI single in the sixth and netted his third hit with another knock in the eighth. It was his first game with three or more safeties since a four-hit effort last June 18 with Double-A San Antonio.
While Abrams’ ceiling is undoubtedly high, the cancelation of the 2020 season and injuries have conspired to limit him to just 78 Minor League games since he debuted professionally three years ago. His season ended last June 30 when he fractured his left tibia and sprained his MCL in a collision on the basepaths.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder was hitting .296 with a .783 OPS, 16 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases in 42 games for the Missions at the time of his injury.
The Alpharetta, Ga., native earned his way onto the Opening Day roster after batting .324/.359/.514 in Cactus League competition. The loss of star shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr. to wrist surgery helped open the door further. A home run in his first plate appearance at Petco Park notwithstanding, it was a difficult 20-game stretch in the bigs for Abrams, who batted .182/.270/.273 with 14 strikeouts in 55 at-bats with San Diego.
San Francisco prospect David Villar followed up his multihomer effort on Wednesday with another long ball, his fourth in nine games this month and 11th overall.