The Jose Abreu hype is growing. From Jorge L. Ortiz’s article in USA Today:
Cuban baseball expert and author Peter Bjarkman calls Abreu the island’s best pure hitter in the last decade after fellow WBC star Frederich Cepeda.
“Abreu is a better hitter than either Puig or Cespedes, and he should be the best (biggest impact) Cuban player to come to the majors during the three decades of the defectors era,” Bjarkman said.
Spring training is just getting started, but it’s good when national publications are saying good things about a guy like this. It’s a better indication than hype from the beat writers. Much like last season1 the ceiling for this team is pretty high, but the floor is very low too.
The division will be much tougher as Kansas City gets better and if Cleveland can play well again. Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in the AL at this point, but there are a lot of guys without proven track records behind him. The offense struggled to produce last season, and continue to wait for leaps from guys like Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo. Meanwhile Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko keep getting older. The rest of the lineup is mostly a bunch of unproven guys like Abreu, Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and maybe Matt Davidson.
Because Abreu has been heralded for hitting bad pitching so well, and spring training in Arizona tends to favor hitters, spring training will be deceiving no matter how well he hits.
- I’ll probably do a more complete preview in March [↩]