There’s no minor league baseball games being played on Monday this year, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no minor league baseball news on Monday. Andrew Abbott is being promoted to Triple-A Louisville. The lefty was the one to break the news, posting about it on his instagram stories this morning. He’s not the only pitcher getting a promotion, either. Lyon Richardson is moving up to join the Double-A rotation according to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.

There are dominant starts to the season and then there’s about a 10-mile gap to what Andrew Abbott did to start his year. If you look at his stat line a lot jumps out to you. His ERA is 1.15 through three starts, but the two earned runs he “allowed” are only because we don’t give official scorers enough leeway. With two outs, Abbott induced a shallow fly ball to center that should have ended the inning. But it didn’t because the center fielder lost the ball in the lights and it landed 5 feet behind him, allowing two runs to score.

Outside of that play, Andrew Abbott has allowed no runs, five hits, walked three batters, and he’s struck out 36 of the 56 hitters he’s faced this year in 15.2 innings pitched for the Chattanooga Lookouts. While his start in 2023 has been hilariously good, Abbott dominated to end the year with Chattanooga last season, too. He had been inconsistent throughout the summer, but his final three starts last season saw him throw 16.0 shutout innings, allow just seven hits, walk three batters, and strike out 21. So over his last six starts at the Double-A level he threw 31.2 innings and allowed 13 hits, walked six batters, and struck out 57 batters while posting a 0.57 ERA that should have been a 0.00 ERA.

Now the lefty is heading up to Triple-A to see what he can do there. And as a selfish point, we get to see all of his stuff via Hawkeye to get just a little bit better of an idea of how it looks compared to some big league pitchers with hard data.

Lyon Richardson is moving up

In November the Cincinnati Reds added Lyon Richardson to the 40-man roster. Richardson hadn’t pitched in a game since August of 2021 because he underwent Tommy John surgery following the season. He had pitched a limited number of innings in instructional league and he looked good enough that Cincinnati felt another team may select him in the Rule 5 draft if he was left off of the roster.

With potential cold weather in the Midwest or Southern Leagues in April, the organization sent Richardson to Single-A Daytona and the Florida State League where it was far more likely to be warm in all of his starts and give him a little bit of unofficial rehab in the process before sending him to a higher level. That day has come and Richardson is being promoted to Double-A Chattanooga where he will presumably replace Abbott in the rotation now that he’s on his way up.

Lyon Richardson was dominant in his three starts for Daytona. He was limited in how much he was allowed to pitch, so he threw just 9.0 innings in his three games, but he allowed one run on five hits and a walk. He struck out 18 of the 33 batters he faced while taking the mound for the Tortugas.

In his limited time with Daytona he averaged 97.6 MPH with his fastball and topped out just over 99 MPH. Richardson also showed a change up, slider, and a curveball.

33 Responses

  1. MBS

    That’s awesome! I can’t wait to see how Abbott does on the AAA level. Last year he dominated A+ batters, got promoted, then took the rest of the season to make an adjustment to his new level. It’d be awesome if that adjustment translates to AAA hitters as well. If so we may have a legit pitcher to add to the Big 3 soon.

    • EyeballsInNooga

      Abbott was quite good when he first came to AA; he had an ERA of 3 in his first 4 starts. He had a rough couple of months in the middle of the season and then put it back together.

      I’m rooting for him. He’s a nice guy (he was the dude to sprint from the dugout through the stands to RF porch to get the ball back last season for Hurtubise’s first home run at any level) and I talked to his family at a game and they’re nice folks too.

      Good pitcher, too. Hope y’all in Louisville enjoy. I certainly have.

      • MBS

        I was just trying to stay concise. He had 1 good start when he came up to AA last year 5.2IP 0ER 12K’s. Then 4IP 3ER 1K in the next outing, and that pretty much kept up until the final 3 starts of the year. This year he definitely looked to be in the wrong league, those starts were not fair.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    Some good news. You’d have to think that with another handful of solid outings he could make the big club by mid-June or sooner. I wonder if Williamson’s poor outing convinced the front office he’s not the next man up.

    • Doug Gray

      If the Reds had been thinking that Williamson was the next man up after his season last year….. well, I’ve got some questions.

      • Redsvol

        No doubt. I’m not even sure he deserves to be AAA. He’s not fooling anyone in AAA. or he needs to try bullpen but he walks too many.

        Well deserved promotion of Abbott. AAA hitters are harder to fool. Will be a big test for him.

      • Stock

        Interesting comment. I agree with you 100% but makes me wonder why you placed Williamson at #11 (vs. #14 for Abbott) after Williamson’s dreadful performance last year.

      • Doug Gray

        One bad year is a concern. Continuing it is a trend. He fell a lot from where he was entering the year (2022). In the past he had better stuff and he didn’t have control issues. I’m willing to give some wiggle room in situations like that for a period of time. But he’s looked worse this spring than he did last year.

      • tseramid

        It’s more than fair to have questions. They seemed to go into the year with 2 of: Weaver, Overton and Dunn in the rotation. Not exactly a track record of long term success at SP there.

  3. Optimist

    This is getting very close to “aggressively promoting” within MiLB levels. Certainly the timing is good, but makes sense when adding in the close of last season. Let’s see what they do with others – looking at Wong/Legumina/Dunn – also still watching Hunter and see if Holt can correct his course.

    It will be very interesting if Richardson can have a good stretch in Chattanooga.

    • MBS

      Richardson has certainly looked good. I will be interested to see how he does in AA, and with pitching more than 3 innings per start. It’s going to take a while to get his innings up to MLB levels.

    • DaveCT

      Richardson’s fastball has been very impressive, as has his confidence in it. Legumina’s may be a touch more electric but Richardson’s is right there with it. Looking forward to being able to see Richardson on both home and away games. Phillips, Boyle and Richardson, with Benschoter and Roa at 4/5 is still a formidable rotation

  4. John

    When is Ryan Nutof getting moved to the 40 man? He’s been nothing but consistent at every level.

    • Doug Gray

      Either when they decide to call him up, or potentially in November if they want to keep him around and think someone may select him in the Rule 5 draft.

  5. RedBB

    Very early but Abbott and Lyon are looking like our 4th and 5th starters for 2024, 2025 and have jumped Williamson and Stoudt for those spots IMO. Connor Phillips and Joe Boyle would be in that convo as well.

    • Doug Gray

      I’d say you are really jumping the gun on Richardson at this point.

      His ERA in 2018 was 2.37 runs higher than the league average.
      His ERA in 2019 was 0.40 runs higher than the league average.
      His ERA in 2021 was 0.62 runs higher than the league average.

      There’s stuff to point and and like, no doubt. And I think he’s also a different pitcher from a stuff standpoint than he was at any of those stops. But his track record is a guy who while young wasn’t exactly dominating anywhere, and he’s now a 23-year-old who made A-ball hitters look silly over a span of 9 innings.

      Let’s see what he does with Chattanooga for a month or two before we get ahead of ourselves.

      • Zach

        Exactly this Doug. Richardson is a long way from contributing at the MLB level. Has some great stuff from what I’ve read.

        After Abbott, I have Phillips and Boyle next in line for promotions, but I don’t think that happens until after the All Star break.

        Williamson and Stoudt may be better off as bullpen depth. They could be long relievers and make spot starts as needed until they can prove worthiness as a 5th man in a rotation.

        Reds will draft a SP with their highest pick this year. I’d be very surprised if they didn’t.

      • DaveCT

        While Richardson’s record to date has had problems in it, including some serious questioning about his overall ability, there are some pretty strong signs of a shift. The reviews from instructional league last year, being added to the 40-man, spring training reports and, not the least, the eye test from his 3 Lo-A starts are impressive. These remind me of the big jump forward Hunter Greene made last year and, more pointedly, of the reports about that development two spring trainings back. At that time, word was slipping out that Greene might be ready and make the ML team. I scoffed a bit, until I saw him that spring. After that, I was convinced. While, yes, Richardson has to go out and do it at AA and likely some AAA next year, there looks like there is now a lot more in the tank.

      • Doug Gray

        Even if we include his instructs time against guys who are basically the same guys he faced in Daytona, we’re talking about how the reports were with him over like 18 innings. Given where the stuff is right now he’d be a Top 25 guy if I did new rankings, but I just can’t start talking about how he’s going to be in the Reds rotation anytime soon until he gets out non-teenagers for more than 9 innings. Would love to see him put it all together and just run through the Southern League like he’s Tony Cingrani.

      • DaveCT

        That is to say, you’d like to see him Cingrani his way through AA. Same

        As you know, Doug, someone like me who can get excited about Eduardo Salazar and, now, Carson Speirs throwing in the AA bullpen is gonna drool over Lyon Richardson.

      • Doc

        Jumping the Gun would make a fitting subtitle for RLN.

      • Chris Rhaye

        In fairness, he pitched all of 2021 with a torn UCL before they caught it at the end of the year and had him get TJ + surgery to remove bone spurs. His stuff wasn’t anywhere what it is today for most of his minor league career.

        Had this version of Richardson been pitching for the last few years, he’d likely have been in the majors by now.

      • Doug Gray

        I have to ask how we know he pitched all of 2021 with a torn UCL….. because I can’t imagine a scenario where they knew in February of 2021 that he had a torn UCL then let him go out there and pitch a full season with it, then decided after the year to have him get surgery.

    • Stock

      I personally don’t think Williamson or Stoudt were ever in the conversation as a SP in Cincinnati. Abbott has to be the favorite for the #4 spot at this point.

      Phillips and Boyle are close. It comes down to control for both of them. Boyle has better stuff in my opinion but more control problems. Based upon this year alone I put Boyle ahead of Phillips. But so few innings that I still consider Phillips ahead of Boyle at this point.

      Richardson is still 4th on this list for me (5th if you include Petty). Richardson is a different pitcher now than he was in prior years so I ignore his previous time in the system. But the problem I have is when he starts throwing 90+ pitches will his FB dip below 95 again? If he is throwing less than 95 when throwing 90+ pitches he may be best fit for a Tejay Antone like role in the bullpen. If he can continue to throw 97 through the 7th inning he may very well surge by Boyle and Phillips.

      Right now I have them ranked as follows:

      1. Greene
      2. Ashcraft
      3. Abbott
      4. Lodolo
      5. Phillips/Boyle

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    I would have given three more starts to Abbott at AA , there’s no hurry really. IMO Connor Phillips and Abbott are the treasure of Reds pitching prospects right now. Boyle if he make it consistency about control could be completing another starting pitching prospects trio but in the minors for the time being.

    • Zach

      I think Chase Petty is right up there with Phillips and Abbott (about 2-3 years younger and one level behind). Looking at his promotion last year to A+, he performed pretty well down the last stretch for a 19 year old. Petty will most likely end up in AA ball to end this season (unless this injury requires TJ surgery).

      Boyle is very inconsistent which will eat him alive at the MLB level. I’m rooting out of my shoes for the dude though and am wishing him success. If he can find control- the sky is the limit for him. But this is anything but certain.

  7. Optimist

    Some interesting takes on Richardson and Boyle – I guess a Q is whether Richardson is truly akin to Boyle – in that he has very good “stuff” and very inconsistent performance or command. If either finds a tweak or habit that corrects the faults I suppose they’d move up very quickly.

    Meanwhile – looks like Abbott, Phillips and Petty are on the more traditional level-by-level path. Williamson looks to be falling into the Boyle/Richardson category, but with the “tall-left hander” qualification. Stoudt looks like a AAAA spot-guy.

    Altogether, though, at least an array of choices and possibilities.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think that’s the kind of comparison. Richardson in his current form is just simply an unknown. Maybe he’s Tejay Antone – a guy who went from mediocre fastball with flashes of quality secondary stuff to a guy throwing in the upper 90’s with an absolute banger secondary offering seemingly overnight. Maybe he’s just a guy who throws a lot harder than he used to and dominated a bunch of teenagers. We just don’t really know at this point.

      Boyle – we know that his stuff plays and plays well. With him it’s always been about can he throw enough strikes.

      • Optimist

        Thanks Doug – been watching Boyle for a while, and have to refocus on Richardson since it seems he’s putting the injury well behind him.

    • DaveCT

      Regarding Levi Stoudt, I keep returning to the most recent BA scouting report on him from this past winter. It states he’s going to require 1-2 years, at least, just to prove he isn’t a starter as opposed to a power reliever. So he’s a ways away. It was almost a disservice to raise expectations with his spot start recently.

      Williamson is in a different place, sort of. He looked to be on a fast tract while with Seattle. And now he looks like he’s got a few larger hurdles to get over. But both are looking like they need time, first, to keep starting.

    • RedBB

      I love Boyle but he shows no sign of being able to control his walks. That’s just not going to work in the MLB no matter how good your stuff is. Compare it to Lyon who has 18 strikeouts and 1 walk this year in 9 innings! Yes small sample size but its a very telling stat IMO.

      But yes I am definitely jumping the gun on Lyon but I will be very excited to see how he does in AA. If it’s anywhere close to what we’ve seen so far this year then I think that will be further proof he has made the jump ala Antone a few years ago.