After signing for $40,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, Abreu spent four years in Rookie ball trying to find the strike zone. While that's still an issue, his electric stuff allowed him to rise from Class A Advanced to Houston last season. He pitched in the American League Championship Series, giving up a homer to Gio Urshela in his lone appearance before Chris Devenski replaced him on the World Series roster.
Abreu relies heavily on his plus-plus curveball, an absolute hammer with exceptional power, high spin rates and tremendous depth. He also flashes a wipeout slider with similar mid-80s velocity, albeit with less consistency, and sets up both of his breaking balls with a four-seam fastball that ranges from 92-97 mph with riding action. He'll try to throw a changeup when he starts but hasn't had much success with it.
Though the Astros still entertain the idea of continuing to develop Abreu as a starter, he's ready to help now as a reliever and may be destined for the bullpen regardless. He still struggles to command his fastball and his curveball breaks so much that it can be difficult to land in the strike zone. If he can do a better job of locating his pitches, he'll profile as a closer.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 65 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Abreu signed for $40,000 out of the Dominican Republic as part of the Astros' 2013 international class, then spent four years in Rookie ball trying to locate the strike zone. He finally broke out in 2018, when his stuff and control took significant steps forward. He posted a 1.49 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings, claiming a spot on the 40-man roster despite having barely any full-season experience.
Abreu possesses the best curveball in the system, an absolute hammer with high spin rates and quality depth that club officials compare to that of Lance McCullers Jr. Abreu can also flash a wipeout slider at times, though with less consistency, and sets up both breaking balls with a four-seam fastball that ranges from 92-96 mph with running life. He blew away right-handers in 2018, striking out 52 percent while holding them to a .380 OPS.
His ability to refine his nascent changeup will play a large part in determining whether Abreu's long-term role is as a starter or a reliever. To stay in the rotation, he'll also have to continue to improve his control and command. While he'll need a few years to reach his ceiling as a frontline starter, his curveball could help him bolster Houston's bullpen sooner if needed.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
Overlooked in the Astros' 2013-14 international signing class, Abreu turned pro for $40,000 out of the Dominican Republic and spent the first four years of his career struggling to throw strikes in Rookie ball. He opened a lot of eyes in 2018, when he logged a 1.49 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings. Though he barely has pitched at the full-season level, Houston protected him on its 40-man roster in November rather than risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft.
Abreu still battles consistency but can be unhittable when he's on. He works up in the strike zone with a four-seam fastball that operates at 92-94 mph and reaches 96 with running action. Some club officials believe he has the best curveball in the system, a high-spin breaker with good depth that can be an absolute hammer, and he also can flash a well above-average slider at times.
Abreu still is figuring out the nuances of pitching. His changeup is in the rudimentary stages, and while his control has improved, it still needs more work and his command requires even more refinement. He has the ceiling of a starter who could fit in the front half of a rotation but is still a long ways from reaching it.