Abel racks up K's at Double-A vs. potent Mets lineup

September 14th, 2023

In what could be his final start of the 2023 season, Phillies No. 2 prospect Mick Abel dazzled, delivering one of the most impressive outings of his second full pro campaign.

The hard-throwing right-hander silenced the Rumble Ponies' offense Wednesday, whiffing eight batters while yielding just one run on three hits through five innings of a 3-1 win at Mirabito Stadium, earning his fifth victory of the season.

“I thought that went pretty well,” Abel said. “I think I had a good plan coming in and executed it.”

Over the last month, Abel’s execution has been near flawless, as MLB Pipeline’s No. 45 overall prospect has tossed five-plus innings while allowing one or fewer runs in each of his previous four starts.

During that four-game span (which dates back to Aug. 23), Abel is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 23 innings. The 22-year-old hurler surrendered just eight hits over that stretch, highlighting his ability to keep opposing batters off balance.

Abel noted that a change in his mentality helped fuel a turnaround on the mound.

“I’ve really been focusing on having a 'next-pitch' mentality,” said Abel. “I’ve really been taking that to heart and it’s helped me a lot. Just understanding that the next pitch is the most important and not thinking too far ahead in the future and not dwelling on past or mistake pitches. Now I just know that the next pitch I throw is gonna be my best one and I’m going to throw it with everything I’ve got.”

Something else that has powered Abel’s dominant stretch is the development of his curveball, which has helped improve the right-hander’s sequencing.

“I think the curveball has been my biggest weapon recently and, really, the entire season,” Abel said. “That’s something that I worked on a lot last year, and I didn’t really understand the potential of it until I started throwing it more this season. I thought it was a big pitch for me tonight.”

Making the performance doubly enticing was that Abel worked against a Mets affiliate that boasted three Top 100 overall prospects in the heart of their order. Abel's matchups vs. Luisangel Acuña (MLB No. 38), Jett Williams (No. 78) and Kevin Parada (No. 89) could continue for years to come as the highly touted talents make their way through their respective farm systems; on Wednesday, Abel held the trio to a 2-for-9 showing with three strikeouts.

Following his eight-strikeout performance, Abel now has a team-high 126 strikeouts this season. Reading's year will conclude Sunday, so unless the right-hander is promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley or tabbed to participate in the Arizona Fall League -- both of which remain possibilities -- he will finish the year with 108 2/3 innings under his belt, besting his 2022 mark by one out.