The Yankees' best pitching prospects have come in waves of three. Remember the trio of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy? What about the "Killer B's," Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos and Andrew Brackman?
Most Yankees fans know the team's most talked about prospects right now -- Jonathan Loaisiga has MLB experience. Deivi Garcia is one of the most highly-touted pitchers in all of the minor leagues. With the Yankees' recent history of cranking out three pitching prospects at a time, fans want to know -- who's the third member of the big three?
Meet Albert Abreu.
The Yankees' No. 3 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, Abreu was acquired in 2016 in a trade for Brian McCann. After battling injuries and inconsistency in 2018, Abreu has gotten back on track at Double-A Trenton this year, pitching to a solid 3.72 ERA (though his 1.58 WHIP is quite high), and ranking 18th in the Eastern League with 77 strikeouts.
According to his manager, Abreu's mindset is the key to his improvement.
"That's been the biggest thing for him - 'I'm going to attack,'" Trenton manager Pat Osborn said. "'I'm going to come out in the first inning like it's going to be my last. I'm going to go as far as I can get.' And that's what he's been doing.
"It's a mindset. It's not anything physical with him. Just being confident, and attack."
Having no physical issues is a pleasant change for Abreu. He has spent time on the injured list in each of the last two seasons, and only threw 126 innings over that span. Now fully healthy, he has had time to develop a new pitch that has helped him with the attack mentality.
"I think it's the slider," Abreu said, through translator Raul Dominguez. "That's a new pitch I've started using now, and sometimes hitters don't know that I have a slider now because I feel like my slider is similar to my fastball -- I throw the slider really hard."
No one has ever questioned Abreu's stuff -- his fastball can reach 97 mph, and his curveball and changeup are graded above-average by MLB Pipeline. Adding in a hard, late-breaking slider can only help Abreu climb even higher atop the Eastern League strikeout charts.
No matter what pitch Abreu is throwing, though, consistent command is the only thing that can hold him back.
"His stuff is too good," Osborn said. "The velocity, there's too much horsepower. The changeup, the breaking ball, they're all plus, above-average Major League pitches if you grade them. But, he has to be in the strike zone."
Abreu thinks his fastball is the linchpin for all of the pieces to come together.
"When I command my fastball, now I can command my breaking ball, but the first thing is commanding my fastball."
To an outsider, there's a lot of pressure on Abreu this year. He's the No. 3 ranked prospect in the Yankees organization. He's the presumptive ace for a team headed to the playoffs. He'll be 24 years old in September, which is often a make-or-break year for a prospect. With the Yankees looking to add immediate big league starting pitching help, there's even a chance that Abreu could be on the trade block.
None of it rattles him, though.
"Not at all," Abreu said. "I don't feel the pressure, I'm just trying to do the best that I can on the field, and whatever the organization decides to do, that will be fine for me."
Abreu is on the Yankees' 40-man roster, and with the team needing as much pitching help as possible, he could be an option for the bullpen or as a spot starter in 2020.
Yankees fans have seen Loaisiga. Their eyes are glued to Garcia. But what about the third member of the big three?
His name is Albert Abreu, and he's got some of the best stuff in the Yankees' system.