Red Sox prospect Wilyer Abreu homers for first time since being acquired from Astros

Wilyer Abreu hit his first home run as a member of the Red Sox organization on Sunday afternoon. It came in the third inning of Double-A Portland’s 4-1 win over the Hartford Yard Goats at Hadlock Field.

Following Sunday’s 1-for-3 performance in which he also drew a walk, Abreu is now batting .205/.341/.288 with three doubles, the one homer, seven RBIs, 11 runs scored, two stolen bases, 16 walks, and 29 strikeouts in 23 games (91 plate appearances) with the Sea Dogs.

While those numbers do not stand out by any means, Abreu appears to be showing some signs of life at the plate lately. In his last five games, for the instance, the left-handed hitting outfielder has gone 4-for-15 (.267) with an on-base percentage of .400 and wRC+ of 136.

On the other side of the ball, Abreu made his fifth start in center field for Portland on Sunday. All together, the 6-foot, 217-pounder has logged 61 innings in center, 71 innings in left, and 56 innings in right since joining the Sea Dogs earlier this month.

The Red Sox acquired Abreu and fellow prospect Enmanuel Valdez from the Astros in exchange for catcher and free-agent-to-be Christian Vazquez on August 1. While Valdez was assigned to Triple-A Worcester out of the gate, Abreu has spent the entirety of his organizational tenure to this point in Portland.

Abreu, 23, originally signed with the Astros for $300,000 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 27. At the time of the trade, the Maracaibo native was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Houston’s farm system. He is now ranked by the publication as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Interestingly enough, Abreu was supposed to sign with the Red Sox as a 17-year-old in 2016. He had already established a relationship with assistant general manager Eddie Romero, but Boston was banned from signing international prospects during the 2016-17 period after breaking signing bonus rules the year before.

“I was supposed to sign here with the Red Sox in 2016,” said Abreu, who added that Romero was one of the first people to call him after the trade was made in a recent conversation with MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

“I love it,” Abreu said of joining the Red Sox organization. “It’s a new team. A lot of guys who have a good makeup. And I like this city (Portland) because of the weather. I love the weather.”

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Abreu is “an extremely patient hitter with a discerning eye at the plate, leading to high walk totals and some strikeouts due to passivity. Overall it’s high level swing decisions with above-average game power. He has enough bat-to-ball skills to avoid the three-true-outcome label, but his average will fluctuate due to his flyball heavy approach.

“Defensively he can handle centerfield and tests highly on the Astros internal athleticism measurements. He has an unusual build as he’s a bigger bodied player for centerfield, but he has the ability to hit and provide versatility in the outfield.”

Abreu, who does not turn 24 until next June, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter if the Red Sox do not add him to their 40-man roster by the November deadline. It remains to be seen if that will happen. In the meantime, a late-season promotion so that Abreu can join Valdez in Worcester certainly cannot be ruled out.

(Picture of Wilyer Abreu: Christopher Smith/MassLive)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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