According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, Cuban defector Jose Dariel Abreu will host a showcase for scouts later this month in the Dominican Republic. Abreu, 26, will be eligible to sign with any major league team this offseason.
There’s been tons of buzz surrounding the power hitting first baseman, who put up cartoon like numbers while playing in Cuba. Those numbers, while impressive, are not likely to translate to the majors. So, what can be expected of Abreu once he lands with a major league team? Writes Crasnick:
One talent evaluator said Abreu could step into a big league lineup tomorrow and hit .260 with 25 home runs. That’s not far from what Cespedes is doing in Oakland this season. Another expressed concern that Abreu looks ‘confused’ against breaking balls and thought he could benefit from a little seasoning in the upper minors. Once Abreu gets the hang of major league pitching, the consensus is that he has the strength to hit 30 homers by accident.
While most evaluators believe Abreu will hit for power in the majors, Crasnick quotes one scout who worries that Abreu is one dimensional. Here’s what that scout said to Crasnick:
I like him fine, but I wouldn’t sell the ranch to get him. The problem is, [Yoenis] Cespedes and [Yasiel ] Puig can go 0-for-4 and they can still win you a game because they can run and throw. Abreu isn’t that guy. He’s more an Edgar Martinez-type. He has to hit or you’ve got nothing. He’s all bat.
Here’s what Baseball America recently had to say about Abreu:
Abreu is an intelligent hitter without a lot of effort in in his swing and the power to hit 30-plus homers in a season. He has an unorthodox setup with a double toe tap in his stride, and some scouts consider his bat speed only fair, which they believe makes it hard for him to catch up to good velocity on the inner third of the plate. At the WBC, Abreu showed he could handle curveballs in the strike zone but he was prone to chasing sliders off the plate, although that was a question mark on both Cespedes and Yasiel Puig when they arrived from Cuba as well. He’s limited athletically, but any team that signs Abreu will be banking on his bat and tremendous power profiling in the middle of the lineup.
The consensus seems to be that Abreu will hit for power in the majors – even after taking into account whatever deficiencies he apparently has at the plate. As is noted above, scouts warn that his lack of speed and defensive prowess makes him one dimensional. Unlike Cespedes and Puig, though, Abreu is a first baseman- meaning his lack of speed will only negatively manifest itself on the bases.
Crasnick lists the Mets among the teams who are rumored to be interested in Abreu, and a scout Crasnick spoke to felt that Abreu could command a four year deal worth between $32 million and $40 million.
Abreu will be 27 years old before next season begins, the same age as Ike Davis and one year younger than Lucas Duda. It’s always fun to picture a “what if” guy signing with the Mets and blowing the doors off, but I wonder if the Mets value Abreu highly enough (and think he’ll be that much of an improvement over Duda or Davis) to guarantee the kind of money It’ll take to land him.