Gators’ LHP Philip Abner was selected in the sixth round with the 175th overall pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2023 MLB Draft.
After a disastrous freshman campaign, Abner found major success in the Cape Cod Summer League, posting a 1.93 ERA across eight appearances, four starts, and 28 innings, earning himself a 2022 Cape Cod League All-Star selection.
The draft eligible sophomore carried this momentum into the 2023 spring season, working to a 3-0 record out of the bullpen while holding a 3.16 ERA and a .220 batting average against.
Abner’s strikeout numbers are staggering to say the least. The Charlotte, North Carolina native struck out 51 batters across 31.1 innings in 2023, an average of 14.8 strikeouts per nine. Those figures alone are enough to put you on many big-league teams’ draft boards.
Abner emerged as one of the top four relievers for Kevin O’Sullivan’s squad in 2023, helping lead the Gators to a CWS Finals run.
WHAT THE DIAMONDBACKS ARE GETTING IN ABNER
The D-Backs are getting a left hander with a fastball that appears much faster than the 93 MPH tag would indicate. Opposing hitters were constantly late on his fastball, which was Abner’s primary out pitch in 2023.
Abner’s command is a real concern moving forward. The lefty walked 21 batters in 22.1 innings as a freshman before walking 19 batters in 31.1 innings in 2023. If Abner can continue to improve his command while keeping his swing and miss stuff, the 6-1 lefty could cruise through the minor league system. It’s possible that Abner projects as a situational lefty in the big leagues.
2022 Cape Cod League All-Star
2022 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll