Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Over/under: Jose Abreu's home runs
By David Schoenfield
It's Jose Abreu day here at ESPN.com. Jerry Crasnick has a piece on the new White Sox first baseman, and Jared Cross, who helped create the Steamer projection system, predicts Abreu is going to be a star.
Indeed, ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez, who managed against Abreu in winter ball, compared the 27-year-old Cuban to Albert Pujols.
What do we know about Abreu, who signed a six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox? He's big, strong and is apparently the opposite in personality from Yasiel Puig. But is he going to be a big run producer? When Abreu signed in October, Keith Law wrote:
He's got a quiet approach at the plate, like Puig's, but he doesn't explode to the ball in the same way as Puig or current Cubs prospect Jorge Soler do, and Abreu's pitch recognition and plate discipline are largely unknown, putting a wide variance on his potential production in the majors. The fact that the swing is good is a strong positive, but he's coming to face the best pitching in the world and it would be disingenuous to forecast a big batting average based on all of these other question marks.
At the same time, Buster Olney wrote:
Some scouts wonder whether Abreu has the bat speed necessary to be an impact player in the big leagues, or even an average player. The Houston Astros were aggressive in trying to sign Abreu, and they fell far short, bidding $55 million; the Red Sox were outbid by a whopping $28 million, having offered about $40 million.
But the Steamer projection system? It loves Abreu, predicting a line of .276/.362/.546 with 31 home runs. ZiPS has Abreu hitting .273/.364/.494 with 26 home runs. Certainly, playing in a homer-friendly park like the Cell will help his power output.
What do you think? Let's set the over/under at 29.5 home runs.