Minnesota Twins Sign Fernando Abad


The Minnesota Twins have signed Fernando Abad to a minor league deal.

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The Minnesota Twins have signed left handed reliever Fernando Abad to a minor league deal. He’s also received an invite to spring training. The 30 year old Abad has played in 6 MLB seasons. Lefty relievers have been a focus of the Twins’ offseason and Abad is the first MLB ready addition in that area (Buddy Boshers, acquired earlier this week, being more of a sleeper). It’s a little surprising, in the current inflated reliever market, that Abad wasn’t able to snag a major league deal (there may be a reason why that is, as we’ll discuss below). Kudos to the Twins for being able to acquire him so cheaply.

Abad was signed as an amateur free agent in 2002 by the Astros. At 20 years old, he made his professional debut in 2006. He progressed through the ranks before getting a call up to the bigs in 2010. Although the underlying stats were suspect, the results were good in 19 innings with a 2.84 ERA. The peripherals caught up to him over the next two seasons with ERAs of 7.32 and 5.09 over 65.2 innings. A brief foray back into starting did him no favors.

Now with the Nationals and back as a full time reliever in 2013, Abad experienced a turn around. With a healthy 3.26 FIP, he posted a 3.35 ERA. Abad was then traded to the A’s. Though his FIP stayed basically the same in 2014, the results were all-star worthy with a 1.57 ERA. In 2015, Abad’s rollercoaster career took another down turn. Puzzlingly, his FIP shot up to 5.50. His ERA was a respectable 4.15 but he just couldn’t be relied upon in the same way as the previous year. The A’s DFA’d him earlier this offseason and he became a free agent.

Abad has an 3.42 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and a 2.77 K/BB in his career as a reliever. He has not been used as a LOOGY (100.1 IP vs L, 127 IP vs R career). However, perhaps he should be sheltered from righties more as his K/BB is much worse against them (4.61 K/BB vs L, 1.61 vs R) and his HR/9 suffers as well (1.17 HR/9 vs L, 1.35 HR/9 vs R). Abad throws a four-seamer, a sinker, a curve and a change up. He started to toy with a cutter and a slider in 2015.

What can we expect from Abad in 2016? Abad’s ugly 2.08 HR/9 in 2015 is cause for concern. It was driven by a wildly out of wack 17.2 HR/FB which nearly triple what it had been in 2014. Nothing else has really changed for Abad. His K/BB and WHIP in 2015 were on par with his career averages. The HR/FB spike may have been a matter of luck or it may have been due to pitch type. His average fastball velocity went down by a half mile from his career average. Abad should also eliminate the cutter and slider. The cutter caused him to throw his better pitches less.

Abad is a flawed pitcher, but on a minor league deal, he is a great value. He was projected to earn 1.5 million in arbitration before he was DFA’d. The Twins should consider sheltering him from righties more and Abad should cut out his cutter. Abad should enjoy some positive regression next year regardless but with those changes, the regression should be more pronounced.

Next: Brandon Kintzler Profile

We said this morning that Brandon Kintzler was the most likely of the recent minor league signings to break camp with the Twins this spring but now we’ll alter that to Abad. This signing comes on Abad’s 30th birthday.