One of the storylines of the offseason is our attempt to piece together Jose Abreu. He signed a $68 million contract out of Cuba, he can't talk about some of his past for personal (legal) reasons, and he's generally reticent by nature, so the details have been slow to come in. Past, present, future -- we'll take anything.
This week, we're starting to learn about what he might be able to show us in 2014. Dan Szymborski's ZiPS projections for the White Sox are supposed to drop any moment now, and Abreu is one of the bright spots.
Don't tell the people asleep, but Abreu's at 273/364/494, OPS+ 129, 2.3 WAR, 26 HR. HR heavy profile good fit for the Cell.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 14, 2014
One of the only bright spots.
List of ZiPS White Sox Batters over 2 WAR: Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez. End of list.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 14, 2014
The one bright spot?
List of White Sox hitters projected within 30 points of OPS+ of Jose Abreu: End of list.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 14, 2014
Glass half full, if Abreu were able to post that kind of line in his rookie season even with all of the adjustments he has in front of him, that would be a major victory in this whole transition process.
Todd Steverson is on the case.
He's down in Arizona with Abreu, Adam Eaton, Matt Davidson, and a whole flock of young hitters as he hosts a getting-to-know-you minicamp.
Here's some video from CSN Chicago -- no, not THAT video (NSFW) -- on what's going at Camelback Ranch.
Specifically, Dan Hayes relays Steverson's reaction to his first in-person look at Abreu.
"That’s a strong man right here," hitting coach Todd Steverson said of Abreu. "That’s a big man. He has a nice smooth, compact approach. He didn’t try to do too much with the ball and the ball was flying off his bat. I think he has a nice bright future coming up with him."
Abreu has been working out in Miami since landing stateside, but he's going to move his program over to Glendale earlier than most. Pitchers and catchers don't report until Feb. 15, but Abreu's going to beat them there by a dozen days. It might take him that long to get used to batting gloves.
Besides Abreu, Davidson and Eaton, Josh Phegley, Marcus Semien, Courtney Hawkins, Jared Mitchell, Trayce Thompson and Keenyn Walker attended the Steverson minicamp.