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Can Cuban Jose Abreu help turn around the White Sox?

Can Cuban Jose Abreu help turn around the White Sox?

Posted by Liliana Castaño on April 03, 2014

When analyzing most players entering their first season in the major leagues, there’s usually a large base of minor league numbers and a ton of scouting and analysis to draw from. That’s not the case with Jose Abreu, the hard-hitting first baseman who defected from Cuba last August.

For the past few years, Abreu has been an accomplished slugger for Cienfuegos, which plays in the Cuban National Series. But projecting major league production based on numbers from this (or any) Cuban league can prove difficult. First, the Cuban season is short; Abreu played just 42 games in the 2012-2013 season and only 80 or so in previous seasons. Gauging the competition level, given the limited video and scouting, is even harder.

The White Sox, however, decided they were confident enough to give Abreu a six-year, $68 million deal — a record for Cuban defectors — to be their new starting first baseman. To be fair, there’s a lot to like.

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