Sunday, July 20, 2014

Is Jose Abreu the Next Babe Ruth?

The White Sox completely overhauled their team during the last offseason and got rid of a bunch of dead weight while bringing a lot of new talent. The club has done a full about-face now and could even win their division before it's over. Center stage of all this is Cuban defector Jose Abreu.

Abreu is a rookie, but he's no kid at 27. He spent several years playing in the Cuban Serie Nacional league where he regularly hit near .400 and was known for his ability to hit home runs and get RBIs. He hit .453/.597/.986 with 79 runs, 93 RBI and 33 home runs in only 66 games in 2010-2011.

Abreu currently has 29 home runs and is on a pace to surpass both Babe Ruth and Roger Maris' single season records, and he may even do it in less at-bats than either of them. And in his rookie season no less. Ruth had 25 dingers going into July 1927. He had 30 by July 12th. However, the Yankees opening day wasn't until April 12th back then. Had they started April 1st the way we do now, Ruth would have had between 27 or 28 by July 1st. Abreu had 26 homers on July 1st. The White Sox played 10 more games in April than the 27 Yankees did, but Abreu spent 15 days on the DL at the end of May, and the Sox played a game on every one of those days, so by July 1st Abreu played in 5 games less than Ruth did and only had one less home run. Abreu is not only on the same pace as Ruth in 1927—he's ahead of him! Of course Ruth had one hell of a September back in '27, but Abreu has shown over his years in Cuba that he's just as capable. And did I mention that he's also great in the field?

To surpass Ruth and Maris' single season home run records as a rookie seems unimaginable, but I have a feeling this will just be a drop in the bucket compared to what Jose Abreu will do before his career is through. He's quick, strong, smart, friendly, and downright likeable. His teammates call him "Yogi" because of his imposing stature and amiable demeanor. Jose Abreu is the new face of baseball.