What to expect from Jose Abreu in 2014

With the official signing of Cuban émigré, Jose Abreu, I thought I would update our Chicago White Sox Top 10 list.  For the updated list, click here.  The write-up is below.

Jose Abreu is no stranger to scouts and major league executives as he played extensively on the Cuban National teams including batting .360 with three home runs in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.  His carrying tool is plus-plus raw power that allowed him to put up significant power numbers including 33 home runs in the 2010-2011 season.  In fact, his performance in that year were truly worthy of a video game where he had a .453/.597/.986 slash line with 33 home runs and 93 RBIs in a paltry 66 games.   It was those types of performances that caused Yasiel Puig to pronounce that Jose Abreu was the “Cuban Miguel Cabrera”.

Before we anoint Abreu: Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, and Miguel Cabrera wrapped up into a single player, there are three things that need to be considered:

  1. The Cuban National Leagues are far from the Major Leagues.  Pitchers don’t throw hard and in fact, the league is full of “junk-ballers”.
  2. Abreu is listed at 6-foot-2 and 258 pounds and looks every bit of that.   Let’s face it, he’s big and slow with an unathletic body.  Baseball has not always been kind to players of this profile.
  3. Most of his power is generated through raw power and not bat speed.  There is significant concern about his ability to turn on premium velocity, particularly premium inside velocity.

Abreu will be the starting first basemen for the Chicago White Sox and has a chance to hit 20 plus home runs in his Major League debut.  However, I would be concerned about his batting average as the reports I have on him indicate that he’ll have trouble with premium velocity and will be more of a “mistake hitter”.  While everyone wants the next great Cuban émigré on their team, Abreu is not Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig.

Fantasy Impact: Jose Abreu is draftable in most fantasy leagues in 2014.  However, I doubt he’ll be on any of my teams.  The price will be too steep as I’ll put his stat line at a .230 batting average with 20 home runs with downward pressure on the batting average but with some upside on the home runs.

5 comments on “What to expect from Jose Abreu in 2014

  1. “Most of his power is generated through raw power and not bat speed. There is significant concern about his ability to turn on premium velocity, particularly premium inside velocity.”

    As someone who had to take a year of physics in college, I am perplexed by this comment.

    • Not sure what to say…the more velo an object is traveling, the quicker you have to swing the bat to hit the ball. If you have great bat speed, you can wait on pitches longer which allows you to better identify the pitch. The slower the bat speed, the more you have to start earlier, i.e. cheat of the pitch to catch up to it. The inside velocity, particulary inside and high increases to the hitter by something that is known as effective velocity. I’ll let you read up on it if you choose as there has been a great deal of study on the subject. I spent a long afternoon looking at images and watching video and I’m pretty convinced that the concept is in fact true. If you talk to a ball player, most won’t understand what happens but all will tell you the harder you through, the quicker your bat needs to be and high and inside is the toughest ball to catch up to.

      • I think I see what you’re saying, reaction time with the bat, not the physical speed of the bat at impact. Or maybe better stated, the reaction time with initiating and guiding the swing. I was caught on the E = 1/2 mass * velocity^2, with E being what was meant with “power.”

        Abreu is proving to be a pretty good player so far though.

      • LOL…got it.

  2. I assume that you don’t agree with Jim Bowden’s projected 70 grade hit tool for Abreu? Is he more of a 50 grade hitter?


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