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Q&A with Padres prospect CJ Abrams

@JonathanMayo
March 19, 2020

PEORIA, Ariz. -- CJ Abrams was the Padres’ first round pick in the 2019 Draft, taken No. 6 overall out of the Georgia high school ranks. He hit .401/.442/.662 with 14 steals over 32 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League, earning a late bump up to Class A Fort Wayne

PEORIA, Ariz. -- CJ Abrams was the Padres’ first round pick in the 2019 Draft, taken No. 6 overall out of the Georgia high school ranks. He hit .401/.442/.662 with 14 steals over 32 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League, earning a late bump up to Class A Fort Wayne at the end of his pro debut. He’s currently the organization’s No. 2 prospect and No. 25 on the Top 100. We spoke to Abrams shortly before Spring Training was suspended.

MLB.com: You’ve spent a lot of time in this complex, obviously, but this is a new experience for you, your first Spring Training. How excited were you to get here and get to work?

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CJ Abrams: It’s always exciting to come play baseball. It’s an opportunity to get better, focus on the now and everything else will take care of itself.

MLB.com: How much time did you spend at home before coming back out here?

Abrams: Probably four months, pretty much the whole offseason I was home. Spent time with my family, friends. I had a good time.

MLB.com: What was it like being at home and just focusing on working out and getting yourself ready?

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Abrams: It’s a lot more relaxed, not having to worry about school, getting things done by the next day. It was a lot of working out and pretty much a lot of baseball as well.

MLB.com: Your pro debut went about as well as anyone could hope for. Were you even surprised how well it went?

Abrams: First game, I was excited, I had a little butterflies. But I got up to the plate, did what I do. And had fun.

MLB.com: You got that late bump up to the Midwest League. What were your takeaways in seeing the differences between that and the Arizona League?

Abrams: Probably the biggest thing was the crowd. Playing in the AZL, you don’t have many people watching, but going up there, there were a lot of people. Other than that, it was pretty much the same to me. It was more electric there for sure.

MLB.com: Georgia has become a real hotbed for baseball. How much pride do you take in being part of the next wave of talent from Georgia?

Abrams: There’s a lot of good talent there, a lot of good competition. It’s just fun to play against people who are good.

MLB.com: You take a lot of pride in your ability to play shortstop. You look at the big leagues, you see Fernando Tatis Jr. there. Do you worry about that at all now, or do you put it out of your mind for now?

Abrams: I’m not really thinking about that. I’m just focusing on me, getting better, focusing on the now, the present. I’ll turn my back on that and get as good as I can at the game.

MLB.com: What are the things you took from your pro debut that you feel you need to do to get better? What do you need to do to be ready for your first long, full pro season?

Abrams: Probably the eating part. Eat more. Eat a lot more and get bigger and stronger. Losing weight is probably one of my biggest things. It’s easy for me to lose weight, rather than gain it. Gaining is pretty tough. Eating a lot is pretty big for me.

MLB.com: You’ve played center field before, like with Team USA, in deference to now Royals prospect Bobby Witt Jr. If the Padres told you tomorrow they wanted you to go play center field, would that bother you?

Abrams: I haven’t really thought about it, but I don’t think it would bother me. But infield is where I’m at.

MLB.com: Obviously, one of your biggest tools is your speed. How much fun is it for you on the basepaths, getting into pitchers’ heads and things like that?

Abrams: It’s always fun getting on the basepaths, running, always trying to score runs. Being on the basepaths and being fast is always fun.

MLB.com: I don’t want to put you on the spot, but what’s your goal in terms of how many bases you can steal in your first full season?

Abrams: As many as I can.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.