Fernando Tatis Jr. might be the man in San Diego, but C.J. Abrams reminded everyone Thursday night that he’s got the goods at shortstop too.
Known for his elite speed and strong hitting, baseball’s No. 6 overall prospect produced an eye-opening play on defense tailor-made for highlight reels and repeat viewings.
With Triple-A El Paso nursing a 1-0 lead over Salt Lake in the fourth inning, Angels farmhand Jose Rojas squibbed a ball off the plate that reached beyond the infield dirt in shallow left field.
Although it seemed destined to be a hit, Abrams ranged far to his right, and in one fluid motion, zipped a strike to first base while his momentum carried him further into left field.
The throw beat Rojas by a step and instantly catapulted Abrams into the pantheon of see-it-to-believe-it plays of the year during the Chihuahuas’ 4-3 win over the Bees.
Known more for his offensive prowess and elite speed, Abrams has improved his defense at short to the point at which he’s considered a difference-maker at the position. However, with the pending return of Tatis, who is firmly entrenched at that position in the Majors, Abrams’ quickest path to the Majors might be elsewhere.
The 21-year-old made his first career appearance in the outfield during his brief tenure with the Padres in April. Abrams started in center for El Paso on May 30 and fielded all four chances cleanly, including a leaping catch at the fence on the first ball hit his way.