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For C.J. Abrams and the San Diego Padres, the future is now

Vincent Frank

Star San Diego Padres prospect C.J. Abrams couldn’t have imagined that his young professional career would lead him to this point.

Less than three years after being the No. 6 overall pick of the Padres, the Georgia native is set to make his MLB debut when the Padres open up their season against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

It was noted earlier in the day that Adams had officially made San Diego’s opening day roster. It’s a shocking culmination to his hopes of playing on the game’s grandest of stages.

Related: C.J. Abrams and MLB’s top prospects

C.J. Abrams fast-tracked to the majors

san diego padres prospect c.j. abrams
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

According to MLB.com, Abrams headed into the spring as the ninth-best prospect in all of baseball. He’s the San Diego Padres’ top prospect in a farm system that’s still loaded with talent.

Still only 21 years old, Abrams ascension to the majors come after he appeared in just 44 minor league games above rookie ball. The shortstop was hurt by the 2020 MILB season being canceled due to COVID-19. He also missed the final three months of last season due to a fractured left tibia and MCL sprain he suffered in a collision while playing for the Double-A San Antonio Missions.

“Sitting out during the season was probably the hardest part. I want to play — bad. But you can’t. That was the hardest part. But it was all good, a good recovery.”

C.J. Abrams on injury, via MLB.com

It’s rare for a prospect to make it to the majors without playing Triple-A ball. It’s even more rare given what Abrams himself has had to deal with since the Padres selected him out of Blessed Trinity High School in Roswell, Georgia, back in 2019.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated MLB Playoff and World Series predictions

Fernando Tatis injury opened up a spot for C.J. Abrams

Fernando Tatis Jr
Oct 3, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (23) walks back to the dugout after striking out against San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

One of the true young superstars in the game, Tatis Jr. is expected to miss roughly the first two months of the regular season due to a fractured wrist he suffered during the offseason.

Blocking Abrams’ path to the majors due to the fact that they are both natural shorstops, said injury opened the door for the youngster this spring. Abrams more than took advantage of it.

There’s still some concerns over strikeouts and making contact. In Abrams’ 37 Spring Training at-bats, he struck out 11 times. That must change if he wants to be a top of the order bat. For now, Abrams will start his MLB career on the bench.

C.J. Abrams as a potential San Diego Padres trade chip

This would be hard to ignore. As noted above, Tatis Jr. was blocking Abrams’ path to the majors. Sure the youngster could play second base, but the presence of Jake Cronenworth complicats this further.

Firmly looking to contend under new manager Bob Melvin following a down 2021 season, San Diego has made some win-now moves. It added slugger Luke Voit and pitcher Sean Manaea in trades over the past several weeks.

There’s also a major need in the outfield for the Padres. Could they potentially use C.J. Abrams as a trade chip early in the season or leading up to the August MLB trade deadline? It’s a real possibility. Giving him an opportunity to play now could increase the youngster’s trade value.