People hate the known – they love the unknown. Think of it this way. Your television works just fine, right? But it's six years old and you feel that the new fangled TV's that are out there now are better in terms of color, movement resolution, energy conversation and they are much thinner and lighter if you want to hang it on the wall. This is a scenario we've all contemplated, right? Do you go with the new version that is “better” or just stick with your current setup which works totally fine? Let's take that line of thought to the world of baseball. Do you want Kendrys Morales, Nick Swisher or Ryan Howard on your squad, guys that are all somewhat boring but stable and well known, or do you have you sights set on Jose Abreu, the new guy on the block (Abreu signed a 6-year, $68 million deal with the White Sox)? Before I answer which way I'm leaning, though if you read the intro closely you likely already know, let's take a look at what Jose Abreu actually brings to the field.
THOUGHTS ON ABREU FROM SOURCES
Here is part of what Baseball Prospectus had to say about Abreu in their 2014 Guide. “... some believe his video game statistics where produced by feasting on bottom tiers of Cuban pitching and mask a swing that cam be tamed by well paced fastballs on the inner half.”
Here is part of what Baseball HQ had to say about Abreu in the Minor League Baseball Analyst. “... exceptional raw power to all fields... Has shown moderate bat speed... There are concerns about his bat speed and ability to handle quality fastballs, especially on the inside half.”
At Fangraphs, Dan Farnsworth broke down Abreu's swing (there are a plenty of shots of his swing there for you to see as well). Dan seems more more enamored with Abreu than the first two sources I noted (the other two sources have more “street cred” but I thought it would be instructive to give folks a look a Abreu since most haven't ever seen him even take a swing).
Here are some interesting tidbits from an ESPN article (interestingly, I've been comparing Abreu to Morales in terms of what I would be expecting for his output in 2014, and the ESPN article directly compares the two players).
"He has monstrous power," said a scout.
Multiple scouts used the term "slider-speed bat" in reference to Abreu.
"If you throw him 90-92 [mph] inside, he gets beat a lot," said a scout for a National League club. “His swing is thick and sort of stiff. His front arm gets kind of rigid, and it's more a strength swing than a real quick bat. But he's a smart hitter...”
"Pedro Alvarez-type power with more hit-ability and the same body type, too," said another scout.
"He's a little bit of a dead-body guy," said a scout. Abreu is 27 years old and he is about 6'2” and weighs around 255 lbs. That's not exactly a body type that you really want to see on a baseball field. Reports do suggest that he's working on his fitness level diligently.
Finally, our very own Jeff Mans said, off the cuff when I asked him if people in Chicago were pumped about Abreu. "They love Paul Konerko and hate Fidel Castro.” That Jeff is such a character (for his actual thoughts on Abreu you can click on the link to Jeff's article on on the big fella).