Kevin Abel had to wait until the seventh round to hear his name called, but the Cincinnati Reds finally came calling Monday afternoon. The Reds picked up Abel with the 210th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, making him the first Beaver off the board this year.
Abel had a star making turn in the 2018 College World Series, when he pitched a complete game shutout to give the Beavers the Championship. Unfortunately, the wear put on him in Omaha seemed to add up, because after a brief bit of activity in 2019 he needed Tommy John Surgery. He finally returned to the mound in 2021 and put in a solid season, with a 3.62 ERA in his 16 starts.
Abel was expected to go a little higher then he ended up, with mlb.com rating him as the 166th best overall prospect. MLB teams may still be a little hesitant due to his injury history, but he’ll have a chance to work his way through the Cincinnati organization. The Reds haven’t targeted pitching heavily in this year’s draft, only picking up two pitchers in their previous eight picks.
Abel was the highest rated Beaver in this year’s draft class, but there are a few more Oregon State alums to watch for. Will Frisch and Jake Pfennigs are also projected to get picked up eventually, depleting the pitching unit further, There are plenty of other Beavers who are also eligible, and with a long draft ahead of us, expect the Beavers starting lineup to lose a couple names.