The recent influx of Cuban prospects making the jump over to Major League Baseball has resulted in something of a mixed bag for some teams (See the Chicago Cubs and Jorge Soler), but some have not only risen to the expectations set forth when the signed eight figure deals with big league clubs, they’ve surpassed them. Jose Abreu is living proof of that through the first month of his Major League career.
The Chicago White Sox went into last winter with one of the game’s worst farm systems and little hope for the future out of Chris Sale. They went all out in trying to ink Cuban slugger Jose Abreu and it has paid major dividends for them early on, as the South Siders boast one of the league’s top offensive attacks. Abreu has been right in the middle of all of that, flashing major power and getting off to one of the greatest starts by a rookie in big league history.
To a certain degree, the White Sox knew what they were getting when they signed Abreu to a $68 million deal this past offseason. They knew they were getting a guy with huge power, and he has quickly taken to that role in the middle of the Chicago lineup. Through 26 games this season, Abreu already has 10 home runs and 31 RBIs, the latter figure being higher than his number of hits so far this season.
The power numbers thus far go along with a .262 average and an on-base percentage that currently sits at .330, in addition to OPSing .962. Those numbers seem pedestrian, but keeping in mind the fact that his BABIP through April 28th is just .246, those numbers are actually quite impressive.
Abreu’s ISO, which measures a hitter’s ability to hit for extra bases, to date is an absolutely absurd .369, while his wRC+, measuring runs created, is up at 152, which is another absolutely fantastic figure. His power is elite, there isn’t any sort of question about it.
Whether or not Jose Abreu can keep this type of pace up as the season wears on remains to be seen. We’ve seen players with hot starts, especially from a power standpoint, fizzle out as the season progresses. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that Abreu is also not a typical rookie. He’s 27. He’s a seasoned vet, even if this is his first year in Major League Baseball.
Regardless, Jose Abreu has brought some positive attention to a White Sox team that needed it after an abysmal 2014 campaign. He’s off to a terrific start and has clearly established himself as one of the very best power bats in the big leagues, barely even four weeks into his Major League career.
Let’s hope his next trick includes the home run derby later on this summer.