CJ Abrams: Franchise Shortstop

The Washington Nationals have found their franchise shortstop, CJ Abrams.

A combination of speed, flashy glove abilities and bat to ball skills makes Abrams into the dynamic player Nationals fans are getting to know him as. A hot September has allowed Nationals fans to have a glimpse into the future at the shortstop position. And it’s not just his bat, either. Since Abrams made his debut in Washington, the defense for the last place team has improved drastically.

An Alpharetta, Georgia native, Abrams was born on October 3rd, 2000. A four year high school starter at Blessed Trinity High School, CJ amassed 193 hits over his impressive career along with 100 runs batted in, according to maxpreps.com.

CJ Abrams was drafted out of high school with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. Following his draft selection, Abrams chose to sign with the Padres and forego his commitment to the University of Alabama.

SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 8: San Diego Padres C.J. Abrams throws out the first pitch before a baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals at Petco Park June 8, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

According to perfectgame.com, Abrams as a high school hitter was described as, “A Left handed hitter, efficient load and trigger with a smooth and fluid swing, very good barrel control with loose hands, line drive contact middle of the field to pull side, gap power, going to lead some leagues in triples. Smooth footwork in the middle infield, very quick transfers, lots of athleticism, throws from a lower arm slot, has the tools for shortstop but actions might fit very well at second base.”

Abrams quickly translated those skills to the minor leagues. In a short 114 game career in the minors, hitting for a .331 average with 12 home runs and 75 runs batted in. Although his 2020 minor league season was taken away due to Coronavirus, Abrams continued to build on his pre-pandemic success. CJ hit .296 in the 2021 minor league season.

Following a pre-season wrist injury to Fernando Tatís Jr, a 21 year old Abrams was asked to take over the starting shortstop position in 2022. In his first stint with the Padres, Abrams struggled and was sent to the minors to work on his game. Following a month stint at AAA, CJ returned and raised his batting average to .232 with San Diego.

At the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline, CJ Abrams was sent to the Washington Nationals in a historic trade of generational talent, Juan Soto. Once again, Abrams was asked to be the franchise shortstop on a Nationals team that is lacking a spark both defensively and at the plate. Abrams has made a number of exciting plays on defense including this strong double play in Philadelphia.

In his first month as starting shortstop for the Nationals, Abrams flashed lots of potential making highlight plays defensively. The rookie continued to struggle at the plate, amassing only 8 hits in 50 at-bats, including just one extra base hit.

A switch has flipped for the young stud in September. Over the course of the month he hit .304, with 5 doubles and 2 triples. He has also made a number of highlight reel plays defensively. In his last 7 games of the month, he totaled 12 hits, including a dramatic game winning hit over the Atlanta Braves.

Abrams’ play has given Nationals fans a great idea of what to expect from him in the future. A combination of speed, contact and defensive ability makes CJ Abrams into the fantastic young player he was advertised to be. Washington fans can look forward to the tandem of CJ Abrams and Luis García up the middle for many years to come.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – SEPTEMBER 19: CJ Abrams #5 of the Washington Nationals catches a pop out by Michael Harris II #23 of the Atlanta Braves in the second inning at Truist Park on September 19, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)