Jose Abreu, going deep (USAT Images)
At the one-month mark of Jose Abreu's major league career, his $68 million contract is looking like a filthy steal for the White Sox. Whatever you paid for his services at your fantasy draft, that was a bargain, too.
Abreu, as of this writing, is on pace to hit 62 homers and drive in 193 runs. While no reasonable person thinks he's actually going to approach those numbers, it's also not reasonable to suggest he won't exceed every preseason forecast, no matter how bullish. We're only 26 games into Chicago's season, and the man has already delivered 10 bombs and 31 RBIs. He's homered against pitchers of the highest quality, including David Price and Justin Verlander. And we still have five (warmer) months of baseball ahead of us, with Abreu hitting in a power-friendly home park.
Remember, this is a player who once hit 33 homers in a 66-game season in Serie Nacional, and who routinely raked in high-level international competitions. The pre-MLB track record was plenty impressive.
What I'm saying is this: Abreu is basically a Cuban Death Star, a destroyer of worlds.
Given his opening month, a 30-100 season will be awfully tough to avoid. It's not crazy to think he can go 40-110, maintaining an average in the .265-.275 range. Again, you're going to profit on your Abreu investment, whether you're Rick Hahn or some dude in a 10-team mixer.
If we were to re-draft a 2014 league today, right now, my overall top-five would look like this...
1. Mike Trout
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Paul Goldschmidt
4. Andrew McCutchen
5. Albert Pujols
...and then the next four might be Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista, Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Upton, in some order. And then I'm taking a long look at Abreu, along with Darvish, Stanton, Hanley and ... well, not many others.
Jose is healthy at the moment (unlike Braun, Harper, Davis and Kershaw), plus he's been murdering baseballs (unlike Fielder, Edwin and Jones). Essentially, I'd slot Abreu roughly where we all ranked Chris Davis a month ago. This early-season binge doesn't feel like a fluke. No, Abreu's HR/FB rate isn't going to hold steady at 33.3 percent, but I don't think it's about to fall off a cliff, either. Elite power was always part of the scouting report.
In backstage conversations, Dalton Del Don and Scott Pianowski signed off on a top-25 rest-of-season rank for Abreu, while Funston gave me this: "I probably wouldn't go top-two rounds, but third round for sure." Which means Brandon would never land him.
Let's hear from a few Abreu owners in comments regarding your current level of enthusiasm. Anyone view Abreu as a must-sell? And if you've cashed-out already, what was the return? If I offered you Votto or Freeman or Edwin straight-up, would we have a deal? How 'bout Gonzo?
I'd like to firm up the Abreu price today, if at all possible, because I've got trading to do. Let's work toward consensus, people.
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