Jose Abreu: Potential Offseason Target?

Koji Watanabe



I'm fairly new to this site and I've absolutely loved it, we have a great community and its something we should all be proud of. Let me know if anything I say doesn'tmake sense because this is my first ever fanpost or article I've ever written.

Jose Abreu is a 1B/DH who recently defected from Cuba and apparently right now is in Haiti. He is a little on the older side for a "prospect" at 26 years old but he would most likely be comparable to a college player in terms of experience. (Cuban baseball league is supposed to be roughly equal to high A minor league baseball) He's 6"3 and 250 pounds so he's quite a big guy and would absolutely fall in line with Buck and Tabby's "Big and Strong. Baseball America rated him the 4th best prospect in the WBC not currently signed by a major league team.

Let's talk about his tools a little bit. The first one that stands out is power, from everything I've read on various websites, he is said to have tremendous power to all parts of the field. The power tool is quite raw but one would expect 30+ HR potential in that bat. Both his hit tool and power tool have a 70 grade according to Jim Bowden while his glove and arm are at 50 and lastly his speed tool is at 40. Make no mistake, he is not as athletic as a Puig or Cepedes and won't likely be great defensively but that isn't why teams are interested in him.

Let's look at his numbers over the past 4 years in Cuba:

Season Games HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
Jose Abreu 2012-13 42* 13 37 21 .382 .535 .735
Jose Abreu 2011-12 71 35 75 40 .394 .542 .837
Jose Abreu 2010-11 66 33 58 32 .453 .597 .986
Jose Abreu 2009-10 82 30 74 49 .399 .555 .822

The numbers look quite impressive at a quick glance and everything that is bolded is where he led the league in that particular category. (Check out Pinstripe Bible for this chart and a good article) These numbers are consistently better than what Soler, Cepedes or Puig put up in Cuba. What stands out to me is the consistent ability to get on base as well as the ability to take walks.

Of course there are some risks when talking about handing a player dozens of millions of dollars without knowing for sure that he can hit major league pitching. Some scouts are not sold on whether his bat speed is sufficient to catch up to major league pitching and he is said to have some trouble with the slider. (Like Puig and Cepedes) He's likely to get a contract around 50-65 million, most likely setting the record for the largest contract for a cuban player.

Obviously the question becomes should the blue jays pursue a first baseman when they already have EE and Adam Lind at DH with $110 million committed to I believe 13 players next year? Adam Lind seems like he simply had a hot 2 months and now has fallen back to earth. There are no potential prospects in the blue jays system that currently project as middle of the lineup batters. I think that rolling the dice on Abreu might be an interesting risk but then again he could show up to New Hampshire next year and become Leslie Anderson for all our luck.

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