Scouting Padres Prospect #53: Paul Abraham

Scouting Padres Prospect #53: Paul Abraham

Independent League imports have provided a boon to the San Diego Padres' system. Craig Breslow was just one example and Paul Abraham made his case as another to look out for.

After being drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2001, he ended up in Independent ball – a stretch that ran for just seven games. The Padres signed him in June of 2004 and assigned him to Fort Wayne.

He went on to post a 2.79 ERA in 37 appearances and was tabbed for Lake Elsinore to begin 2005.

They say the California League is a hitter's paradise – but Abraham didn't buy into the hype. He began the year without allowing an earned run over his first 20 appearances.

"The (best) pitcher, truthfully while I was there, was between two guys, Lights out Leo Rosales and Paul Abraham," pitcher Sean Thompson said. "Granted, Abe only gave up like one run while he was there or something like that. You know what I can;t even choose I'm just going to call my pick, Leo Abraham and Paul Rosales. They both dominated and I felt 100-percent ‘it's over' when they come in."

Over a 35 game stretch prior to his ascent to Mobile, Abraham limited the opposition to a .200 average against and allowed five hits in 41 at bats with runners in scoring position.

Moved up to Double-A, Abraham saw his first sign of trouble. In his second outing, he gave up five runs, matching the entire earned run output from his California League stint. He would then go on to post a 3.13 ERA in his next 28 outings to bring his ERA down to a respectable 3.98 for the year.

He again bore down with runners in scoring position, giving up nine hits in 44 at bats, a .205 average, for the Double-A squad. The difference was his ghastly .405 average against with the bases empty.

"It is a damage control thing," Abraham said of pitching with runners on base. "If there is one out – one ground ball is all I need. I am a ground ball pitcher so that is my job to come in and get that one ground ball and let my defense do the job."

The right-hander throws two different fastballs, a four-seamer that tails into left-handers, a two-seam fastball, a slider and a sinker. He is also among the many pitchers working on a changeup.

He will sometimes rely on the slider/sinker combination too much and won't throw his two fastballs, trying to get too cute.

Abraham also believes in studying hitters' tendencies. The more prep work he can put in before facing a particular player, the better served he will be. It would explain his rough outing just two games into his Mobile career.

An Independent League addition, Abraham is squarely in the spotlight as a pitching prospect that could help the Big League club. It would not surprise to see him in the majors in the not so distant future. He simply must keep doing the things that got him this far.

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