In the upcoming weeks we here at Climbing Tal’s Hill will be featuring a series of player profiles. We will cover every member of the 40-man roster as well as key non-roster invitees. Players will be profiled alphabetically, meaning Fernando Abad is first on the list.
Fernando Abad finished strong in 2010 after making his big league debut on July 28. An outstanding winter league effort as a starter had the Astros considering Abad for a rotation spot in spring training. Abad didn’t win a spot in the rotation and entered the 2011 season as a key left-hander in the Astros bullpen. Unfortunately, Abad was unable to take advantage of his opportunity.
Abad had a season to forget in 2011. Pitching in important late-inning situations, Abad was unable to duplicate his previous success. Abad posted a 1.88 WHIP and a 7.32 ERA in 29 appearances covering 19 & 2/3 innings. Abad picked up the Astros first win of the season on April 7 in Cincinnati, but dropped his next four decisions to finish with a 1-4 record. Abad allowed a ridiculous number of homeruns and walks to right-handed hitters. (5 HR & 8 BB in 9.1 IP)
Abad was demoted to AAA Oklahoma City on May 16 after a loss against the Braves. He returned to Houston exactly a month later and showed some signs of improvement. That is, until July 2 when he allowed four runs in one inning of work against the Red Sox. Abad was then placed on the disabled list due to
his ineffectiveness a mysterious case of shoulder tendinitis. Astros fans rejoiced. Abad would finish out the season in AAA and was not called up in September.
Abad is currently pitching in the Dominican League and has a 1-1 record in four starts. His active status on the 40-man roster means the Astros have not yet given up on Abad, but his stock has certainly dropped. Abad’s inability to retire right-handed hitters would suggest he be viewed only as a lefty specialist. Sergio Escalona and Wesley Wright should both have a leg up on Abad going into spring training. I would be surprised to see Abad on the opening day roster in 2012.