Abrams earns 1st All-Star selection amid breakout campaign

July 7th, 2024

WASHINGTON – Shortstop has earned his first All-Star selection.

The 23-year-old was the Nationals’ only All-Star named to the National League squad for the 2024 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, to be played July 16 (8 p.m. ET on FOX) at Globe Life Field. Pitchers and position player reserves were announced on Sunday.

“It was exciting,” Abrams said. “I’m just grateful for everybody in this clubhouse, for my family, friends and the fans. I’m excited to go represent the Nationals in Arlington.”

Manager Dave Martinez held a meeting with the Nationals to announce the news. Abrams pumped his fists in excitement when his name was revealed.

“[He was] like a little kid,” Martinez said with a laugh. “He addressed the team, and it was very heartfelt. He thanked all of his teammates for allowing him to do the things that he can do. He said, ‘Without you guys, I can’t be me.’ So it was awesome.”

Being named to an All-Star team is a moment Abrams dreamed about growing up. The first person he called was his father.

“He was excited, probably more excited than me,” Abrams said. “We’re going to have fun.”

Abrams is slashing .282/.353/.506 with 21 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs, 29 walks, 56 runs, 46 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 82 games in his third full Major League season.

Entering Sunday, Abrams ranked fourth among all players with a 1.109 OPS since June 6. Only All-Star starters Aaron Judge of the Yankees (1.186), Shohei Ohtani of the Dodgers (1.173) and Yordan Alvarez of the Astros (1.157) posted a higher OPS in that span.

“He wants to help us win games, that’s the biggest thing,” said Martinez. “He wants to be one of the best, so he tries to be the best every day.”

Following Sunday’s 8-3 loss to the Cardinals, Abrams is third in the National League in triples, fifth in extra-base hits, fifth in slugging percentage, tied for seventh in OPS, eighth in doubles and ninth in runs scored.

Among qualified NL shortstops specifically, Abrams is first in slugging percentage, second in triples, second in OPS, second in RBIs and third in homers.

Abrams was named an All-Star one year to the day of being moved into the leadoff spot -- and has been thriving since then.

“His maturity and his growth has come a long way since this time last year,” Martinez said. “We’re very proud of what he’s done, really. He’s really just scratching the surface. I think there’s a lot more of CJ Abrams that’s going to come out, but he’s the guy that gets this team going.”

Abrams has improved season to season, but more notable is his growth in season. In 53 games played in March, April and May, Abrams drew 12 walks to 49 strikeouts. From June through Sunday, he has drastically boosted that ratio to 17 walks and 23 strikeouts in 29 games.

“It’s based on conversations every day with him about, know thyself -- know what balls you hit hard and know which balls you want to swing at, know your opposing pitcher and what he’s trying to do to you,” Martinez said.

Abrams was a 2019 first-round Draft pick by the Padres out of Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Roswell, Ga. He made his Major League debut on April 8, 2022, and he was traded to the Nationals four months later as part of the eight-player Juan Soto blockbuster.

Abrams became the Nationals starting shortstop, where he has dazzled with head-turning moments on defense. Still, he is the fourth-youngest player on the Nats, older than only Nasim Nuñez (23), No. 12 prospect DJ Herz (23) and No. 1 prospect James Wood (21).

“I always talk to him about, ‘You don’t realize how good you really are, but when you do these little things, you’re one of the best young players in the game right now,’” Martinez said.

Abrams is the first Nationals infielder named to the All-Star team since shortstop Trea Turner in 2021. The Nats have had one selection for the past three seasons (Josiah Gray, 2023; Soto, 2022). Should there be replacements among NL pitchers, right-handed starter Jake Irvin and right-handed closer Kyle Finnegan could be candidates for consideration.

“Keep going,” said Abrams. “It shows the work paid off, and I’m not going to stop trying to get wins with the team.”