Written by Mark Nikolov Photo by unknown
Albert Abreu is a high velocity pitcher in the Yankees farm system. Some people in the media have labeled him as “the centerpiece” of the recent trade involving Brian McCann. This was the trade that sent Abreu and Jorge Guzman to New York from the Houston Astros this past November. Mostly known for his power fastball, Albert is an interesting prospect because he has a full arsenal of pitches. Aside from his fastball, Abreu has a strong curveball, a slider and a changeup. His current nickname is “Bebo”, an affectionate name that his mother gave him at birth and has stuck to this day. Perhaps “The Centerpiece” will catch on as another nickname once he cracks the MLB roster.
In an article written by Jason Burke in March of 2016, Albert was heralded as an MiLB breakout candidate “with a fastball that averages between 93-96 miles per hour, but can touch 99.” Recently, Albert told me that he wasn’t satisfied with his performance when he first started with Quad Cities this past year. A look back at his stats showed a very high strikeout rate but also a high ERA. Halfway through the season he stepped up his work ethic and made adjustments. As a result, he allowed only 6 earned runs in his last 10 outings while still producing a high K rate. His improvements landed him a spot playing for Lancaster in the hard hitting California League. In his first appearance he threw 3 Ks in 3 IP allowing only one walk, 1 hit and 0 ER for the W.
Albert will be in Major League camp this spring and should start next season with the Tampa Yankees. When I asked him if he had any New Year’s resolutions he told me that his goal for this year is the same as his goal from last year and the year before that. He wants to play in the Major League. I think all of his aspirations will eventually come to fruition. However, at least one more season in the MiLB should do him a lot of good. Currently Albert is 21 years old and he has a lot of baseball left in his future. I’m guessing the Yankees will exercise caution bringing him up. This should work out well for him and for his future team.
Similar to the other prospects that I’ve interviewed thus far, Abreu seems to have strong family ties. He spoke to me of his mother, Cristellia, as someone who has been very supportive in his baseball career. Albert also relies heavily on his faith for guidance. He’s a devout Catholic and he attends church services regularly. Outside of baseball, Albert spends a lot of time hunting birds (something we later had a laugh about). The closest I’ve ever come to bird hunting was in this video game on Nintendo: www.youtube.com
When I asked Albert what his feelings were when he found out he’d been dealt to the Yankees, I wasn’t surprised by his response. He told me that he was “a little bit frustrated.” I can imagine it would be difficult to change teams even at the Minor League level. You have to get used to new teammates, new coaches, a new location, etc. I think that initially he was caught by surprise, but now he’s fine and he’s very content with his new organization. One has to believe the Yankees are happy with Albert as well. They gave up Brian McCann and a big chunk of cash to get him and Jorge Guzman. They call Gary Sanchez the “Sanchize” in New York, but Albert Abreu will always be remembered as the “Centerpiece.”
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*Jason Burke’s article can be found at www.scout.com