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Jud Fabian could be forgiven if he has an eye on Omaha this week.
The outfielder came out of the University of Florida’s program last year, selected No. 67 overall by Baltimore in the 2022 draft. And the Gators have enjoyed a stellar season, reaching the College World Series with a roster that includes Deric Fabian, a sophomore infielder and Jud Fabian’s younger brother.
“It’s definitely on it for sure,” Fabian said last week. “My brother’s there right now and I called him [Wednesday] and he said it’s awesome. Definitely going to be trying to watch whenever I can, but business is business. This comes first.”
And business has been good of late for Fabian, who is expected to debut at Double-A Bowie this week. A year after playing 22 games between the Florida Complex League and Single-A affiliates Delmarva and Aberdeen, Fabian enjoyed a strong start to his first full season as a pro at Aberdeen.
Over 56 games, Fabian hit .281 with nine home runs, 43 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. At the close of play Sunday, he ranked fourth in the South Atlantic League in RBIs, ninth in steals and tied for ninth in homers, while his OPS of .822 ranked eighth.
Clearly, the promotion to Double-A (which was first reported by MASNSports.com) was well earned. But it also came after plenty of mental work on top of the physical demands of playing a full pro season.
The differences between the college game and the professional level are well documented, and Fabian had good reason to stick around Gainesville for his junior year even after being drafted by Boston with the No. 40 overall pick in 2021. The chance to play with his brother was a lifelong dream for both.
There would be an adjustment regardless of when he entered the professional ranks. In college, players are largely told what to do and when to do it. In the minor leagues, it’s on the player to come up with a daily schedule that works for them.
Finding that metronomic routine was one of Fabian’s biggest priorities coming into the season. Another was not chasing as many pitches outside the strike zone.
“I’ve finally refined my whole approach when I go up to the plate and sticking to it,” Fabian said. “If calls don’t go my way, a ball is called a strike or a strike is called a ball, kind of letting that go.”
It took some time to find a groove. Over the season’s first two weeks, Fabian hit .190 with a .262 slugging percentage and just one home run in 42 at-bats, not exactly the sort of power numbers anticipated from a player who drilled 24 homers in his final college season. But he stitched together three multi-hit outings in a four-game span before leveling off for a couple more weeks.
His next strong stretch lasted longer. Much longer. Fabian rattled off a 12-game hitting streak in May. Multi-hit games followed on May 30th and June 3rd. Then came a stellar week at home against Asheville, Houston’s Single-A affiliate, to make a promotion even more likely.
Fabian hit .579 (11-for-19) with three homers and 11 RBIs over a six-game span, earning South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors. Included was a 4-for-5 outing in the penultimate game of the six-game series that included a home run and five runs driven in.
“It took me a little bit to get that approach with my mindset,” Fabian said. “The power slowly started coming.”
It turned out June was a perfect time for his family. Florida overcame a second-day loss during the regional weekend, swept two games from South Carolina in the superregionals and beat Virginia and Oral Roberts in its first two games in Omaha.
Fabian’s arguably thrived even more, hitting .333 and slugging .625 since the start of the month. The routine is there, as is the steady, everyday approach required to succeed at the sport’s highest level.
“I’m just working on being consistent,” Fabian said. “It’s a long season, and you can’t let one bad day define you.”
There haven’t been many of them lately for the Bowie-bound Fabian.
Note: Besides Fabian’s promotion, the Orioles are moving pitchers Keegan Gillies, Alex Pham and Jean Pinto from Aberdeen to Bowie. Pitchers Justin Armbruester and Wandisson Charles, and infielder César Prieto are moving from Bowie to Norfolk. Pitcher Juan Nunez is moving from Delmarva to Aberdeen. News of the promotions was reported by MASNSports.com and confirmed by an industry source.
RAVENS LINKS FROM BALTIMORESPORTS.COM