April was quite a month for the White Sox' Jose Abreu. My twitter feed has become an almost constant stream about how great it has been. Oh, here's another.
Jose Abreu now has 71 total bases for the season. Highest ever for a rookie in months of March/April.— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) May 1, 2014
While his offense has been everything that many of us imagined, there's been a pleasant surprise to go along with it. His defense has been good.
Currently, he's got a slightly positive UZR at 0.1. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but, in 2013, Paul Konerko's was -4.1 while Adam Dunn's was -8.0. He's showing significantly better range with a Revised Zone Rating of .800 and picking up three out of zone plays while Dunn and Konerko put up RZRs of .674 and .760 last season. Also, he seems to have a decent arm for a first baseman, having thrown out two runners on relay plays so far. He did mess up a rundown play early in the season by interfering, but, after last season, a lot of minor sins can be forgiven.
While Abreu probably won't win any gold gloves, he can make the routine play. The idea that he would just switch to DH after this season is starting to seem unlikely now. If the Sox are looking to be a serious contender next season, Abreu might give them some additional flexibility when they look for a DH next offseason.